Coffee is not just a wake-up call in the morning, now it has been found to cut the risk of liver cancer by half.
A study reveals that coffee drinkers are 50 percent less likely to develop hepatocellular carcinoma (the most common type of liver cancer) than those who don’t drink coffee.
One important factor is that coffee shows antioxidant activity, preventing cancer cells from dividing and reproducing themselves.
Coffee is rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols, chlorogenic acid, diterpenes like cafestol, kahweol and tocopherols.
Phenolic acids and caffeine have been shown to have anti-cancer properties, helping to decreasing the size and number of tumours.
Coffee is one the most popular beverages in the world: half of American adults drink coffee every day.
Drinking coffee has been associated with several health benefits, such as lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes.
This study focused on the effect of different types of coffee on liver cancer in 471,779 middle-aged UK participants.
In the UK over the past decade, liver cancer rates have increased by 60 percent.
Dr Úna McMenamin, study co-author, said:
“This is one of the first studies to investigate the risk of digestive cancers according to different types of coffee and we found that the risk of HCC was just as low in people who drank mostly instant coffee, the type most commonly drank in the UK.
We need much more research to determine the possible biological reasons behind this association.”
Ms Kim Tu Tran, the study’s first author, said:
“People with a coffee-drinking habit could find keeping that habit going is good for their health.
That is because coffee contains antioxidants and caffeine, which may protect against cancer.
However, drinking coffee is not as protective against liver cancer as stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol or losing weight.”
About the author
Mina Dean is a Nutritionist and Food Scientist. She holds a BSc in Human Nutrition and an MSc in Food Science.
The study was published in British Journal of Cancer (Tran et al., 2019).