Coffee is Now Linked to Reduced Risk of Many Ailments, Including Liver Disease, Parkinson’s, Melanoma, Even Suicide
What beats a cup of joe in the morning? Nothing after you realize the myriad beneficial health outcomes that are now associated with drinking coffee.
For example, a new study from the Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh, published today in BMC Public Health, found that drinking any type of coffee led to a reduced risk of developing and dying from chronic liver disease, with the benefit peaking at three to four cups per day.
Nearly half a million individuals with known coffee consumption levels were examined through data from the UK Biobank. Of all participants included in the study, 78% (384,818) consumed ground or instant caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee, while 22% (109,767) did not drink any type of coffee. During the study period, there were 3,600 cases of chronic liver disease, including 301 deaths.
Compared to non-coffee drinkers, coffee drinkers had a 21% reduced risk of chronic liver disease, a 20% reduced risk of chronic or fatty liver disease, and a 49% reduced risk of death from chronic liver disease. The maximum benefit was seen in the group who drank ground coffee, which contains high levels of the ingredients kahweol and cafestol, which have been shown to be beneficial against chronic liver disease in animals.
Coffee wasn’t always seen as beneficial to humans, and by 1991, coffee, like red meat, had made it on the World Health Organization’s list of possible carcinogens.
It wasn’t until 2016 that WHO finally removed it from the list, while two years later California passed a law requiring coffee producers to place cancer warning labels on their products, absurdly because scientists and producers alike couldn’t disprove a negative.
Yet coffee has been found to actually aid in preventing certain cancers like melanoma and prostate cancer.
In a radio history program from the BBC, historians detail that the first recorded use and consumption of coffee beans came from a part of the world most people don’t associate with the plant—Yemen. According to the historians, a Muslim cleric became suspicious of the beans when he observed his goats eating them and displaying hyperactivity.
The cleric, upon consuming them himself, wrote that they allowed him to stay up all night praying—a finding that many college students might be able to empathize with.
The beans themselves are a mixture of over 1,000 different chemicals, and scientists often struggle to find out which compounds are responsible for the many observed benefits.
Harvard details in its report on coffee that “there is consistent evidence from epidemiologic studies that higher consumption of caffeine is associated with lower risk (24% per 300mgs of caffeine) of developing Parkinson’s Disease.
24% was also the average found in a meta-analysis containing more than 330,000 participants of the reduction in risk of developing depression; once again the higher the number of cups consumed the lower the risk, which was the same pattern when another analysis of cohort studies looked at suicide risk—53% for those who drank 4 or more cups, 45% for those who drank 2-3 cups.
Harvard also reported evidence that coffee can help prevent type-2 diabetes, some cancers, Alzheimer’s, and even gallstones.
Jitteriness and abnormal heart rate is sometimes cited as a reason to avoid drinking too much coffee, but despite one chemical raising LDL cholesterol particle count, a variety of meta-analyses consisting of hundreds of thousands of people repeatedly demonstrated lower risks for various heart diseases and events like stroke, generally with a low-end of 11% found with decaffeinated coffee, and 25% for caffeinated.
GNN reported in 2019 that coffee stimulates a type of fat production that counteracts the kind leading to obesity. In vitro cells were found to have immediate stimulation in their production of brown fat, a kind of fat cell used to generate body heat in contrast to white fat, which is for storing calories as energy.
The results, that coffee stimulates brown fat production, was replicated in humans, leading the researchers at the University of Nottingham to conclude coffee had a role in combating the obesity epidemic.
With all these beneficial outcomes, growing in significance with the number of cups consumed, it’s astonishing to think that our culture accidentally and indelibly added one of what appears to be the healthiest beverages on the planet into our society.