Coffee Drinking Is Good for the Liver

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland found that coffee drinking protected the liver. They examined data from more than 27,000 people who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. People who drank the most coffee (more than four cups per day) had lower levels of liver enzymes such as ALT, AST and GGT. Coffee contains antioxidants such as glutathione that protect liver cells. Liver disease, such as cirrhosis, is a serious public health issue. Cirrhosis of the liver is a disease where scar tissue replaces healthy liver cells, which impairs liver blood flow and metabolism. Nearly 26,000 people each year die from the disease, which makes it the 12th leading cause of death in America. It usually stems from alcoholism and hepatitis C. Other risk factors include cigarette smoking, diets high in saturated fats, environmental poisons, genetic predisposition and long-term use of some oral anabolic steroids. (Hepatology, published online October 30, 2014)

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