Recently, a report from the World Cancer Research Fund International warned that drinking three or more alcoholic drinks every day could significantly increase the chance that an individual develops liver cancer; however, drinking coffee might upset that calculus.
In order to arrive at their conclusion, the researchers analyzed global studies about the causes and preventions of liver cancer, which altogether included 8.2 million adults and 24,500 causes of liver cancer. According to HealthDay reporter Robert Preidt, the authors had hoped to better understand how diet, weight and physical activity together affect the risk of developing liver cancer. When the necessary studies were compiled, a group of researchers at the Imperial College London in England reviewed the results after which the data was accessed by a panel of independent, international experts.
As Dr. Anne McTiernan, a co-author of the report and an epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle said in a statement, “The finding provides the clearest indication to date of how many drinks actually cause liver cancer,” though the findings also demonstrate that drinking at least one cup of coffee for every three drinks can decrease that risk.
Beyond the discovery of the “tipping point” at which drinking can no longer be considered innocent, the authors made a series of other discoveries, some of which support already established knowledge. For example, it has been known that an individual’s weight can increase the likelihood of developing hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer that often appears in patients with chronic viral hepatitis and/or cirrhosis, a disease in which scar tissue replaces normal liver tissue.
As well, the authors discovered that foods with alflatoxins, a type of poison produced by fungi, can also increase the likelihood of developing cancer. Alflatoxins are usually produced when foods are improperly stored are usually found on foods in developing, warm regions.
Returning to the scientists’ finding about coffee, beyond decreasing the risk of developing liver cancer, coffee consumption can have other beneficial health effects such as protection against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and liver cirrhosis. As well, studies have shown that those who regularly drink coffee have a “somewhat lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease than those who rarely [drink] coffee.”
In the production of coffee, there are hundreds of chemical reactions that occur transforming a green coffee bean into the dark roast coffee you might consume every morning. These reactions produce many new molecules, which may somehow interact toward improving your health though the exact chemicals that do so are still unknown.
(Photo courtesy of trophygeek)
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