Fatty liver disease: The hot drink which may prevent ‘serious liver damage’

NHS Choices: Liver Disease

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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) doesn’t necessarily lead to any harm, according to the NHS. But if it gets worse, it can cause scarring of the liver known as cirrhosis. According to research, there’s one drink that is beneficial for your liver and even may prevent NAFLD as well as serious scarring.

About one in three people in the UK is affected by the early stages of NAFLD, the NHS states.

These stages are characterised by having a small amount of fat in the liver. A liver of a healthy person should have no fat at all or only a little.

The hot drink good for your liver, guarding against serious liver damage, is coffee.

There are various studies proving the benefits of drinking coffee for your liver, with recent research published in the journal Nutrients.

This study has found coffee to have a “protective role” on liver cirrhosis for people who suffer from fatty liver disease.

Patients with NAFLD are more likely to develop scarring after years of liver inflammation.

This inflammation causes the liver to shrink, get scarred and lumpy, which could lead to complete liver failure or cancer, the NHS warns.

However, this new study as well as others say that coffee consumption could help fight this.

The one thing that this new study didn’t specify was the amount of coffee needed to achieve liver-protecting benefits.

Another study published in the BMC Public Health also found the protective link between coffee and chronic liver disease. 

This study looked at 500,000 men and women between the ages of 40 to 69.

Out of these participants, there were 384,818 coffee drinkers, who on average enjoyed about two cups of the hot drink each day.

And those who had coffee on daily basis had a lower risk of chronic liver disease, compared to non-coffee drinkers.

These benefits are not only included in the caffeinated version of the popular drink but also in decaf, as reported by the study.

If you’re not sure what version of the drink to opt for, experts generally recommend black coffee with no sugar, Cleveland Clinic states.

The British Liver Trust also shares that the warming drink can lower your risk of both cirrhosis and fibrosis, which describes scar tissue around the liver caused by inflammation.

Unlike in the case of cirrhosis, the liver can still function normally with fibrosis, according to the NHS.

The last health source to support drinking coffee for a healthier liver is the World Health Organisation, as they state that “moderate” amounts of coffee might be able to prevent liver cancer.

The other good news is that if you are in the early stages of fatty liver disease, it’s possible to prevent it from getting worse, the NHS explains.

The options for treating NAFLD include lifestyle choices, medicine or a liver transplant.

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