Coffee is one of the most commonly consumed beverages worldwide.
Previous research has shown there are many health benefits of drinking coffee, which may be due to its high levels of antioxidants.
In a recent study from Queen’s University, researchers found that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of the most common type of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
The study is published in the British Journal of Cancer. One author is Dr. Úna McMenamin, a researcher from the Centre for Public Health.
The UK study looked at the coffee-drinking habits of 471,779 participants in the UK Biobank, one of the largest studies of middle-aged individuals in the world.
Over three-quarters of participants reported drinking coffee and compared to those who did not drink coffee.
Coffee drinkers were more likely to be older, male, from less deprived areas and have higher education levels.
They were also more likely to be previous or current smokers, consume higher levels of alcohol, have high cholesterol and were less likely to have chronic conditions such as diabetes, cirrhosis, gallstones, and peptic ulcers compared with non-coffee drinkers.
The researchers found that coffee drinkers were 50% less likely to develop HCC compared to those who did not drink coffee.
The findings suggest a reduced risk of HCC, the most common form of liver cancer, in coffee drinkers compared to those who did not drink coffee.
This is one of the first studies to examine the risk of digestive cancers according to different types of coffee.
It showed that the risk of HCC was just as low in people who drank mostly instant coffee, the type most commonly drank in the UK.
More research is needed to determine the possible biological reasons behind this association.
The team says people with a coffee-drinking habit could find keeping that habit going is good for their health.
That is because coffee contains antioxidants and caffeine, which may protect against cancer.
But they also warn that drinking coffee is not as protective against liver cancer as stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol or losing weight.
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