UNITED KINGDOM — If you think that the health benefits from drinking coffee only come from the caffeinated kind, new research brings good news for those who prefer decaf. British scientists say that drinking any kind of coffee, even decaffeinated, may reduce the risk of liver disease.
Whether it be instant or ground, drinking three to four cups a day could massively reduce developing or dying from any liver conditions.
The study by researchers at the Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh shows that coffee drinkers have a 21 percent reduced risk of chronic liver disease. Moreover, they also enjoy half the risk of death from a liver issue.
The maximum benefit were those who drank ground coffee, which is less processed than instant coffee. It also has high levels of the ingredients Kahweol and cafestol. Instant coffee contains lower levels of the two ingredients, but still offers liver protection nonetheless. The finding may suggest that other ingredients, or potentially a combination of ingredients, may be beneficial.
For the study, researchers examined data from nearly half a million people from the UK Biobank with known coffee consumption.
“Coffee is widely accessible and the benefits we see from our study may mean it could offer a potential preventative treatment for chronic liver disease,” says lead author Dr. Oliver Kennedy, in a statement. “This would be especially valuable in countries with lower income and worse access to healthcare and where the burden of chronic liver disease is highest.”
Researchers note that changes in coffee consumption over the study period were not accounted for as participants only indicated how much they drank at the beginning of the study. They also say most participants were white and from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. Future research should include more diverse populations and track participants’ consumption levels.
The study is published in the journal BMC Public Health.
SWNS writer Joe Morgan contributed to this report.