If you’re a regular coffee drinker, you may be doing something to protect your liver, suggests a new study published in Hepatology.
Researchers spent 11 years (1999 to 2010) studying the coffee habits of 27,793 subjects, age 20 or older, and tracked blood levels of four enzymes that indicate liver function.
The findings suggest that coffee drinkers who consumed three cups a day had lower levels of abnormal liver enzymes — about 25 percent lower — than subjects that did not regularly drink coffee.
However, researchers don’t yet know which of the thousands of compounds that exist in coffee are responsible for the enzyme level maintenance. Qian Xiao, the paper’s lead researcher and a fellow at the National Cancer Institute, also cautions not to take the results of the purely observational study as an instructional guide.
“Based on this study, I wouldn’t make any recommendations, he told The New York Times. “But it is reassurance that coffee and decaf are not harmful to liver function.”
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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.