With the many studies conducted on the possible health benefits and risks from consuming coffee, it’s easy to understand why people can get a little confused about what to think. That being said, a new study has uncovered evidence which could add another plus in your book if you are a regular coffee drinker.
This latest study shows that drinking at least one cup of coffee a day can help reduce your risk of developing liver cancer compared to people who are less regular coffee drinkers. The research team presented their findings at the annual American Association of Cancer Researchers conference in San Diego.
Their data was collected over the better part of the last two decades with the team actively monitoring the coffee and other lifestyle habits of 180,000 participants from varied ethnic and racial backgrounds. The team of researchers kept track of who developed the most common form of liver cancer— hepatocellular carcinoma.
(At this point, only 498 of the study volunteers have been diagnosed with the disease.)
The results suggest that people who drank regularly (measured at one to three cups per day) exhibited a 29 percent reduction in liver cancer risk compared to those who drank less frequently (six cups or less each week). Apparently, the more you drink the better: Participants who drank at least four cups a day exhibited a 42 percent reduction in risk.
The Risk for Liver Cancer
The American Cancer Society has shared that one in every 81 men and one in every 196 women will develop some form of liver cancer during their lifetimes. Accounting for the regular consumption of coffee, this could be adjusted to one in every 104 men and one in every 253 women.
Even more intriguing was that this coffee benefit remained the same even after accounting for other known liver cancer risk factors, including:
- Alcohol consumption
(Quick Fact: This cancer clinical study was designed to identify an association, not an actual cause-effect relationship. These preliminary results do not mean that there is another factor which could explain this reduction in cancer risk.)
Not the First Cancer Study to Identify this Link
Last year, the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology published a review of 16 different studies covering more than 3,200 participants. The results suggested that the average person could reduce their risk of liver cancer by half if they drank three or more coffees a day.
The VP of epidemiology for the American Cancer Society, Susan Gapstur, was pleased with the results, “It adds to the growing body of evidence that coffee might be associated with a lower risk for a number of cancers.”
Coffee has been a popular topic of discussion in many medical circles. Researchers have linked to ancient beverage to reduced risk for numerous other cancers, including:
- Colorectal cancers
- Neck cancers
- Bladder cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
In spite of this, experts remain in the dark as to how coffee is able to fight off cancer (it’s ineffable kind of like this man.)
What’s Next for Coffee…Java?
Wendy Setiawan, the author of the study, and her research team are not sure what aspect of coffee seems to reinforce the liver, but they are already planning what steps should be taken next to dig a little deeper. The team is going to investigate the possible link between chronic liver diseases and java.
(Fast Fact: Did you know that coffee contains nearly 100 active compounds in it? These include caffeine, antioxidants and polyphenols.)
To be clear, its gonna be a few years till what get any more definite answers to the questions. At the very least, you shouldn’t feel that guilty about getting that extra cup of coffee in the morning (or mid-afternoon). Just be sure to watch out for how much sugar you’re adding to it.
One Final Disclaimer: This cancer clinical study was not funded by Starbucks or any other big coffee company. The National Cancer Institute sponsored this research.