ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Drinking coffee and tea may jumpstart your day with a jolt of energy, but drinking either will also help you avoid serious liver complications later in life, a new study finds.
Researchers at Erasmus University in the Netherlands analyzed data on 2,424 participants who were enrolled in the Rotterdam study, a local longitudinal study that examined individuals 45 years of age or older.
Included within the study were various health biomarkers from participants, including data on one’s blood, height, weight, and level of liver stiffness.
In addition, researchers were privy to the coffee and tea consumption habits of participants, including frequency and quantity.
The study found that coffee and herbal tea consumption was linked to lower odds of one developing scarring of the liver, which is often a precursor of cirrhosis, or liver failure.
These findings held consistent regardless of other variables, such as one’s lifestyle, metabolism, or environment.
Liver damage has become much more prevalent in recent years, in large part due to “a sedentary lifestyle, decreased physical activity, and consumption of a ‘Happy Diet’,” notes lead researcher Dr. Louise J. M. Alferink, of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Erasmus MC University Medical Centre, in a press release.
Alferink explains that the “happy diet” is one that “is typically rich in unhealthy foods including processed foods lacking nutrients and artificial sugars.”
This might run counter to common wisdom that would seem to suggest that alcohol alone is the main culprit for liver problems.
The researchers do warn, however, that the study only included Caucasian participants, and had a limited subset of participants in the control group who drank neither coffee nor tea, “limiting a straightforward conclusion.”
Therefore, they call for additional “prospective studies to identify the optimum amounts and the type(s) of coffee and tea leading to more favorable liver outcomes.”
The study’s findings were published in the Journal of Hepatology.