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Coffee is not as bad as we are lead to believe – it may actually help preventing cancer

People love coffee. It helps us waking up and becomes a treat after a long working day. However, many believe that coffee is really bad for our health. But is it? A new research from the Universities of Edinburgh and Southampton has shown that drinking coffee may help to protect people from the most common form of primary liver cancer.

Coffee, if used in moderation, can bring a number of health benefits. Image credit: cyclonebill via Wikimedia(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Coffee is often criticized for being unhealthy. Its caffeine content is said to damage heart and even bring premature death in some cases. But what if you drink coffee responsibly? Now scientists say that it may actually be good for you as it may help preventing hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of primary liver cancer.

A big team of researchers examined data from 26 studies involving more than two million participants. They found that usually hepatocellular carcinoma affected around 50 people in every 1000, but in people who regularly drink coffee this number is only 33 people in every 1000 – a 40 % improvement. Furthermore, scientists found that the more coffee you drink, the better it is in terms of hepatocellular carcinoma prevention, although there really is not enough data about people who consume five cups a day or more.

Drinking as much as only one caffeinated cup of coffee is already very beneficial, as it lowers the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma by 20 %. However, the effect was found to be cumulative. Drinking two cups a day lowers the risk by 35 %, and drinking close to five cups of coffee per day will lower the risk by around 50 %. Scientists say that even drinking decaffeinated coffee is beneficial in this regard, just not by as much – it helps reducing the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma by around 14 %. All ways of preventing this disease are good, because it is a big problem in the world.

Hepatocellular carcinoma is the second leading cause of cancer death globally. It is exceptionally common in China and Southeast Asia and usually develops in people who are already suffering from chronic liver disease. Prognosis is very poor and, therefore, diagnosis, as frequent as it is, delivers quite a shock. Preventing this disease is a priority, but drinking an excessive amount of coffee is not a good option anyway, as it may bring some other bad effects to one’s health as well.

How scientists will know the exact amount of coffee one can drink without causing too much trouble. Dr Oliver Kennedy from the University of Southampton said: “The next step now is for researchers to investigate the effectiveness, through randomised trials, of increased coffee consumption for those at risk of liver cancer”. Many people count on the success of this study.

 

Source: University of Edinburgh

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