liver disease risk, and we may not have taken these into account.”
But the study does add to evidence that coffee is protective, despite the different chemical composition of various types, he adds.
How coffee protects the liver
What’s not known is which ingredients in coffee may protect the liver, according to Roderick.
“Coffee is a complex substance, and we don’t want to over-speculate on the different mechanisms,” Roderick says.
He says it’s not clear if coffee may prevent liver damage in the first place or instead its progression to more severe forms.
“Given the global scale of liver disease, this is an important area for research,” Roderick adds.
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Which coffee is best for your liver?
The biggest benefit was seen among devotees of ground coffee, which has high levels of kahweol and cafestol, natural chemical compounds from coffee beans. Both have been shown to protect against chronic liver disease in animals. However, instant coffee, which has low levels of kahweol and cafestol, also reduced the risk of chronic liver disease, according to researchers, implying that there may be a complex relationship between various ingredients in coffee.
Dr. David Bernstein, director of the Sandra Atlas Bass Center for Liver Diseases at Northwell Health in Manhasset, N.Y., says several studies have found coffee is good for the liver.
“But this is the first study to show that the effect was seen in both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee drinkers and that ground coffee provided a greater benefit than instant coffee,” he says.
While both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee may provide benefits for your liver, liver specialist Jamile Wakim-Fleming, MD says much of coffee’s beneficial effects on the liver come from caffeine.
“You have to consume regular coffee — not decaf — daily to get the