Drinking 2 Cups of This Daily Slashes Your Liver Cancer Risk, Study Shows
Prevention is extra important for liver cancer due to its low survival rate.
Every year, around 24,500 men and 10,000 women get liver cancer in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These numbers have been rising for several decades, and the overall survival rate for this type of cancer is low. The CDC reports that out of those yearly disease estimates, around 18,600 men and 9,000 women end of dying from the cancer. There is only a 20 percent five-year relative survival rate for liver cancer in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). With that in mind, prevention is extremely important. As it turns out, simply adding a certain drink into your daily diet could be a good step in reducing your risk of liver cancer. Read on to find out what you should be drinking daily.
Drinking coffee every day may significantly reduce your risk of liver cancer.
If you're a fan of drinking coffee on a daily basis, you might be in luck. A 2007 meta-analysis published in the Gastroenterology journal found that mounting evidence indicates that enlarging your coffee consumption could protect your liver. The researchers for the meta-analysis reviewed nine different studies that were published between 2002 and 2007, involving more than 241,000 individuals. According to the combined research, the 2007 study found that overall, increasing your consumption of coffee to two cups each day was associated with a 43 percent reduced risk of liver cancer.
Researchers say that coffee could have a protective effect on the liver.
The researchers said the lower risk of liver cancer in relation to coffee might be a result of broad liver protection. According to the study, coffee contains large amounts of antioxidants, such as chlorogenic acids, and caffeine, which could protect the liver from harm. The researchers also noted that a U.S. population-based study found that a higher intake of coffee was associated with a lower prevalence of abnormal alanine aminotransferase activity, which is a marker of liver injury.
"Therefore, the observed association of coffee consumption with liver cancer could potentially represent an association with liver disease," the researchers said. "Nevertheless, in a stratified analysis by history of liver disease, coffee consumption was inversely associated with risk of liver cancer both among those with and without a history of liver disease. This finding suggests that coffee drinking may lower the risk of liver cancer even after the acquisition of liver disease."
Higher coffee consumption might be even more effective for your liver.
Early research suggests that two cups of coffee a day is enough to significantly reduce your liver cancer risk, but some researchers say you may actually want to drink a little more for the best effects. A 2021 study published in the BMC Public Health journal analyzed the coffee habits of more than 494,000 people in a U.K. biomedical database, monitoring their liver health for 11 years. According to the study, coffee drinkers were 21 percent less likely to develop chronic liver disease, 20 percent less likely to develop chronic or fatty liver disease, and 49 percent less likely to die of chronic liver disease than non-coffee drinkers. And the researchers said the maximum benefit was found in people who drank three to four cups a day. While drinking less than this had lower effectiveness, drinking more than four cups was not associated with additional benefits.
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But drinking coffee is not the only way to improve your liver health.
According to the CDC, nearly 4.5 million adults have been diagnosed with some type of liver disease in the U.S. Liver disease can be inherited, but liver problems can also be caused by various factors that damage the liver, the experts at the Mayo Clinic explain. This includes infections, chronic alcohol abuse, fat accumulation in the liver, certain medication use, and having other underlying conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
The Mayo Clinic says that to prevent liver disease, you should "drink alcohol in moderation, avoid certain risky behavior, get vaccinated, use medications wisely, avoid contact with other people's blood and body fluids, keep your food safe, take care with aerosol sprays, protect your skin, and maintain a healthy weight." And while research shows that increasing coffee consumption might help as well, some experts warn that you shouldn't expect to have better liver health just because you're adding in more cups of coffee to your diet—especially if you're maintaining other negative habits.
"It's important that people improve their liver health not just by drinking coffee," Vanessa Hebditch, director of policy for the British Liver Trust, told The Guardian, "but by also cutting down on alcohol and keeping to a healthy weight by exercising and eating well."