Protect Your Liver From Alcohol Damage: Drink More Coffee!
Lots of people drink coffee every day, just like I do, to help get going in the morning or prevent that mid-day slump. Good news: your cup of joe may do more than wake you up.
Researchers have discovered many health benefits of drinking coffee. More and more studies are documenting these benefits, from boosting mental cognition to lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes to living longer.
In this post, we will discuss the various ways coffee can help protect your liver against damage, specifically from too much alcohol use. You can also check out our article on other benefits to drinking coffee in Secret Benefits of The Coffee Buzz.
Alcohol and Liver Disease
Although small amounts of alcohol may be fine from time to time, too much alcohol is not good for the liver or the body. There is a firm link between liver disease and overconsumption of alcohol.
One of the major concerns about liver disease is that cirrhosis can be a silent killer until it has progressed to a serious disease state. Many patients with liver disease are not at all aware that they have a problem. Although liver disease is linked to various factors including obesity, infections, and diabetes, according to the NIH, excessive alcohol use is a main culprit. Liver cirrhosis can develop in women who habitually drink in excess of two alcoholic drinks per day. For men, consuming more than three drinks a day for years leaves them at risk for this disease.
The liver is a vital organ that performs hundreds of essential functions for the body, but in Western medicine, it is often given a lower priority than other organs such as the heart, brain or lungs. Cirrhosis is a disease characterized by scarring of the liver that, in extreme cases, can lead to liver failure. Between 1980 and 2010, the number of worldwide deaths caused by the condition rose from around 675,000 to over a million, with excessive alcohol consumption being a major cause.
New meta-analyses of recent studies have found that drinking your daily java may help protect your liver from alcohol-related cirrhosis. Other studies have found just two extra cups per day yielded a 25–70 percent reduction in liver cirrhosis risk. These studies point to huge benefits in combating another potentially life-threatening disease via a beverage many people already enjoy daily!
Coffee's Superstar Compounds
Although more research is needed to determine all the ways coffee can help protect the liver from alcohol damage, various superstars are credited with this benefit. Compounds in coffee, such as caffeine (and its metabolite paraxanthine) , anti-oxidants, diterpenes and chlorogenic acid all aid in this protection. Coffee compounds assist in decreasing oxidative stress and inflammation, lowering risk of cancer and decreasing connective tissue growth, which may slow down liver cirrhosis.
Words of Caution:
- Lifestyle Matters - Although the main cause of liver cirrhosis is currently long-term overuse of alcohol, researchers believe that type 2 diabetes and corresponding diabetes may overtake alcohol as the primary risk factor in developing this disease. This reminds us of the importance of caring for our bodies and eating and drinking in a way that promotes true wellness. We recommend the Paleo diet of our ancestors for best health.
- Coffee Additives Matter - Patients also shouldn't interpret this research to suggest that loading up on sugary coffee shop lattes topped with sprinkles and shelf stable creamers are a method to prevent liver disease. (See 5 things NEVER to add to your coffee.) I recommend that my clients drink their coffee black like I do. If you must add something to your coffee, please check out our list of 7 healthful coffee additions here.
- Quality Matters - As the main filter of toxins in our bodies, the liver is highly affected by the presence of pesticides, mold, and heavy metals. It is crucial to drink a lab-tested coffee like Cardiology Coffee that is organic, mold-free and toxin free for best liver and overall health. Your liver and your body will be glad you chose wisely. Use the best water possible. We love Pristine Hydro and use this system at home.
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