Drinking coffee cuts chances of developing cirrhosis of the liver
Drinking two cups of coffee a day could reduce your chances of developing liver cirrhosis by as much as 44pc, say researchers at Southampton University
The research team studied data from nine earlier studies involving 430,000 participants, 1,990 of who had cirrhosis.
In eight of the studies, increasing coffee consumption by two cups a day was associated with a significantly reduced risk of cirrhosis. Moreover, the risk continued to decline as more coffee was consumed.
One cup a day could lower the risk of cirrhosis by 22pc, researchers found, while two cups reduced the risk by 43pc, three cups by 57pc, and four cups by 65pc.
More than a million people die from cirrhosis each year. It can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption, immune disorders, hepatitis and fatty liver disease.
"Cirrhosis is potentially fatal and there is no cure as such," said lead study author Dr Oliver Kennedy.
"Therefore, it is significant that the risk of developing cirrhosis may be reduced by consumption of coffee, a cheap, ubiquitous and well-tolerated beverage."
However, he cautioned that it is not currently clear exactly how coffee benefits liver health: "Coffee is a complex mixture containing hundreds of chemical compounds, and it is unknown which of these is responsible for protecting the liver," he said.
It's also probably a bad idea to start drinking large amounts of coffee for the benefit of your health.
According to a 2013 study, drinking five or more cups a day increases the amount of fat stored in the abdomen. Even a "moderate intake" could also lead to problems such as increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.