I'll admit it: I'm one of those moms who drinks nonfat lattes all day until it's time to switch to wine. So the news that the consumption ofcoffee may actually lower the risk of cirrhosis, a liver condition that can arise from drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and which kills more than one million people every year, pretty much equaled a win-win for me.
Researchers from Southampton University in the U.K. analyzed data from nine studies and found that drinking two cups of java per day reduced the risk of developing cirrhosis by 44 percent, with that number rising to 57 percent for three cups and 65 percent with four.
Bring on the Starbucks!
Even when compared with zero coffee consumption, researchers estimated that just one cup of joe a day represented a 22 percent less chance of developing cirrhosis. "Cirrhosis is potentially fatal and there is no cure as such," said lead author Dr. Oliver Kennedy. "Therefore, it is significant that the risk of developing cirrhosis may be reduced by consumption of coffee, a cheap, ubiquitous, and well-tolerated beverage."
Of course, not everything is cut and dry. And while the studies accounted for level of alcohol consumption, the authors caution that not all of them took other cirrhosis risk factors like obesity and diabetes into consideration. It's also not exactly clear whether or not the type of coffee beans used or brewing method matters.
"Coffee is a complex mixture containing hundreds of chemical compounds," Dr. Kennedy said. "And it is unknown which of these is responsible for protecting the liver."
Still. If there's even a small possibility that drinking a few cups of java can cancel out the effects of the booze I'm downing at night, I'm all in.
Now what can we do to counteract our hangovers?