Posts Tagged ‘coffee is good for you’

coffee (1)

In another confirmation of what we have always fervently believed, you can chalk up another benefit to downing your favourite morning brew: drinking coffee may protect your liver, research from the our old alma mater the University of Southampton in the U.K. has found.

After analyzing data on 432,000 people from 5 separate studies, the researchers concluded that people who drank one cup of coffee a day were 22 percent less likely to develop cirrhosis—scarring of the liver that eventually causes it to fail—than those who didn’t drink any.

But it gets better. The more coffee they consumed, the better their livers fared: People who drank two cups a day were 43 percent less likely to get the disease, while those who drank four cups a day had a 65 percent lower risk of it.

The study didn’t separate between decaf and regular coffee. But it’s likely that the caffeine does play a protective role, says study author Oliver Kennedy, M.D.

Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors in your body, which are responsible for activating certain liver cells that lay down scar tissue. If this process is hindered, scar tissue—and eventually cirrhosis—may be less likely to occur, he says.

Still, it’s possible that there’s something in coffee itself that may be responsible for the beneficial effects, too.

For instance, one component called diterpenes — found in both regular and decaf coffee — may tamp down inflammation in the liver, reducing the risk of cirrhosis, Dr. Kennedy says.

So if you want to keep your liver safe, consider adding a cup or two of coffee to your day, as well as maintaining a healthy weight and limiting alcohol consumption, says Dr. Kennedy. And stick to no more than two alcoholic drinks a day.

We’re not sure about that last one, frankly, and we’d love to stay and talk, but right now we’re off to make another coffee.

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A new book by health journalist Robert J. Davis, PhD aims to diss some common diet myths once and for all.

‘Coffee Is Good for You’, published Jan 2014, disputes many commonly held beliefs about healthy diets. According to Davis’s book (and many recent comments in the media by other experts) you actually don’t need eight glasses of water a day and carbs aren’t to blame for your weight gain, while gourmets might be disappointed to note that hugely expensive sea salt offers no health benefits distinct from other everyday salt.

The book’s title was inspired by the mass of misinformation that is often disseminated about coffee. According to Davis, coffee drinkers are not at a higher risk of cancer than people who don’t drink the brew, nor does coffee greatly increase the risk of heart attack and strokes despite claims otherwise. The most significant problem with coffee, says Davis, is the dairy and sugar people add to it.

One of the canards that has always annoyed me is people nodding sagely and telling me coffee makes the kidneys work too hard. Really? I mean, as I have said to people for donkey’s years – what do you make coffee with, people? WATER! The amount of water you drink in a cup of coffee must vastly outweigh any diuretic effect from the caffeine. Dur!

At the same time Davis gives other claims his seal of approval. Oatmeal does reduce cholesterol, he says, and it’s true that trans fats are harmful. Some theories about diet are inconclusive, like whether tomato helps prevent prostate cancer.

Oh, and ‘trans fats’? Guys, canola oil turns to trans fats INSIDE your body at body temperature. And trans fats kill you, no question. So frankly, the best thing we could do for Western health would be to persuade MacDonald’s to go back to cooking burgers in coconut oil. In my steadfast opinion, if you do some “alternative” reading, you will never touch vegetable oil again, let alone cook with it, except for good old olive oil.

Davis wanted to give people unbiased and fact-checked information about diet and health, particularly when so much advice available contains conflicting theories. One recommendation he makes is to avoid fads and advertisements making health claims for their products. Davis is also the author of ‘The Healthy Skeptic: Cutting through the Hype about Your Health’ and editor of, and his work has featured on CNN, PBS, and WebMD, and in ‘The Wall Street Journal’.

More power to his elbow. As I have said for a generation, it is a matter of time before someone works out that cholesterol is good for us, and what’s really been killing us is worry. And probably plastics. We note that butter is enjoying a “actually it’s good for you” resurgence as we write. Anyway, I need another cup of fair trade Timorese coffee. With low fat milk, and no sugar. Yum.

The advice offered in this article should not be taken as authoritative. Or, indeed, necessarily true in any way. Apart from the bits lifted from the internet, it is the product of a grumpy old fat bastard with no medical knowledge whatsoever and lots of bias.