The health benefits associated with drinking coffee are plenty: The brew is packed with antioxidants and downing a cup can help wake up the brain and make a person feel more alert and focused. A new report published by the World Cancer Research Fund found that the apparently magical liquid can also decrease a person's risk for liver cancer.
The liver is an incredibly important organ that has hundreds of different functions in the body. It is very sensitive to modern insults like excess alcohol and fructose intake. The end stage of liver damage is called Cirrhosis, and involves most of the liver being replaced with scar tissue. Coffee drinkers have up to an 84% lower risk of developing cirrhosis, with the strongest effect for those who drink 4 or more cups per day. Liver cancer is also common… it is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Coffee drinkers have up to a lower risk of liver cancer.
The numbers are pretty significant: Researchers found that a consistent love for coffee could lower liver cancer risk by 14 percent. As part of ongoing research for theContinuous Update Project, a research team at Imperial College London analyzed 34 existing global studies about how diet, nutrition, physical activity and weigh relate to cancer risk and survival. Collectively, the studies covered approximately 8.2 million adults and 24,500 cases of liver cancer. Researchers are not sure why coffee might protect against the disease, but they hypothesized that certain compounds in the beverage could help to fight toxins. "Both coffee and coffee extracts have also been shown to reduce the expression of genes involved in inflammation, and the effects appear to be most pronounced in the liver," the report reads.
Coffee has other natural benefits. Caffeine is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. Soft drinks, tea and chocolate all contain caffeine, but coffee is the biggest source. The caffeine content of a single cup can range from 30-300 mg, but the average cup is somewhere around 90-100 mg. Caffeine is a known stimulant. In the brain, it blocks the function of an inhibitory neurotransmitter (brain hormone) called Adenosine. By blocking adenosine, caffeine actually increases activity in the brain and the release of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine. This reduces tiredness and makes us feel more alert. There are numerous studies showing that caffeine can lead to a short-term boost in brain function… including improved mood, reaction time, vigilance and general cognitive function.
Caffeine can also boost metabolism (calories burned) by 3-11% and even increase exercise performance by 11-12%, on average.