If you thought that drinking a steaming cup of Joe when you’re hungover was a bit like applying peroxide to an open wound, then rejoice ye coffee drinkers, as it could be helping you in more ways than one.
Because, as any java lover has long suspected, coffee is always the answer – even when the question is how do I undo liver damage from excessive booze consumption?
Yes, addicted ones. Researchers have analysed data from nine previously published studies and found that drinking two additional cups of coffee a day was linked to a 44 per cent lower risk of developing liver cirrhosis. The liver damage associated with overindulging in food and alcohol kills more than one million people a year worldwide and currently has no cure.
The research combined more than 430,000 participants and pooled analysis of average coffee consumption from the previous studies to see what difference adding two cups of the black stuff would do to the liver disease.
Drinking one cup a day was tied to a 22 per cent lower risk of cirrhosis, while going up to four cups a day saw the risk decline by 65 per cent.
But if you need a shot of caramel in your coffee to get that dose of caffeine, you’re out of luck. Sugar packed speciality coffees are not going to prevent liver disease warned lead study author Dr. Oliver Kennedy of Southampton University in the U.K.
Although it’s not clear how much brewing methods or bean types matter to a healthier liver, one of the studies found that the link between reducing the liver disease was stronger when the coffee was filtered than when it was boiled. And don’t use your possession of a coffee grinder to justify that last round of flaming Sambuca’s at the bar – it’s not powerful enough to counteract our lifestyle choices that do the damage to our livers.
Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York who was not involved in the study, said “Unfortunately, although coffee contains compounds that have antioxidant effects and anti-inflammatory properties, drinking a few cups of coffee a day cannot undo the systematic damage that is the result of being overweight or obese, sedentary, excessive alcohol consumption or drastically mitigate an unhealthy diet”.
To be on the safe side, we’re just going to keep drinking coffee until further notice. Because, science.