Chronic liver diseases rank as the 12th cause of death worldwide and many of these disorders are associated with unhealthy lifestyles. Conversely, a healthier lifestyle can help prevent or reverse liver disease.
Liver-related mortality is closely related to the development of cirrhosis, the final consequence of progressive fibrosis, i.e. scarring of the liver resulting from chronic inflammation.
In a recent study from Erasmus MC University Medical Centre, researchers found that drinking coffee and herbal tea may protect against liver fibrosis, estimated as the degree of liver stiffness, which is high in extensive scarring of the liver.
Because these beverages are popular, widely available, and inexpensive, they could have the potential to become important in the prevention of advanced liver disease.
The Western diet is typically rich in unhealthy foods including processed foods lacking nutrients and artificial sugars.
This has led not only to an obesity epidemic but also to a rapid increase in the prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is due to extensive accumulation of fat in the liver and resembles alcoholic liver disease in people who do not exceed two drinks a day of alcohol.
In the study, the team examined 2,424 participants of the Rotterdam study, a large population-based cohort study including participants 45 years or older living in a suburb of Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
The team found that frequent coffee consumption (more than 3 cups per day) was strongly linked to lower odds of high liver stiffness, i.e. less scarring of the liver.
Further analysis showed both frequent coffee and any herbal tea consumption, even in small amounts, were strongly linked to lower liver stiffness.
Finally, while no direct association was found between either coffee or tea and the presence of fat accumulation in the liver (NAFLD) per se, the effect of coffee on lowering the liver stiffness was significant in both the group with and without liver fat.
The authors therefore concluded that frequent coffee and herbal tea seem to have beneficial effects on preventing liver scarring even before the overt liver disease has developed.
The team says more prospective studies are needed to identify the optimum amounts and the type(s) of coffee and tea leading to more favorable liver health.
If you care about liver health, please read studies about this diet may reduce non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by 50% and findings of this diet can make normal liver tissue behave like tumor.
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The study is published in the Journal of Hepatology. One author of the study is Louise J. M. Alferink, MD.
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