Finally, some respite for caffeine lovers! Your daily cup of coffee may not be as bad as you have been told. A new study, published in the journal BMJ Open, suggests that a your daily dose of coffee can help prevent the risk of liver cancer by nearly 50 per cent. For the longest time, coffee has been regarded as a villain primarily because of its high caffeine content. Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is responsible for perking you up and giving you an instant boost of energy on drinking coffee. It is also present in other beverages like energy drinks.
A lot of previous studies have indicated that too much consumption of caffeine may cause an upset stomach, indigestion, high blood pressure, increased heart rate and anxiety. However, this new study suggests that one cup of coffee daily may actually be good for you.
For the study, researchers from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh universities examined data from 26 previous studies that involved more than 2.25 million participants. The results showed that people who drank one cup of coffee daily had a 20 per cent lower risk of developing the most common type of liver cancer known as hepatocellular carcinoma. Further, they found that those who drank two cups of coffee daily had a 35 per cent reduced risk of suffering the disease while drinking five cups cut their risk by half. Decaffeinated coffee may also be able to lend similar benefits but its effect was very small in comparison to regular coffee.
The researchers are not suggesting that everyone should start consuming lots of coffee every day but they found a link and more study is required to strengthen the evidence that shows positive effects of moderate consumption of coffee. When consumed in moderation, coffee may act as a ‘wonderful natural medicines’, they say. They are still working on trying to find why coffee has a liver cancer-protective effect. Drinking coffee has also been linked to better heart health and increased mental alertness.
We know that moderation is the key but how much is too much? According to the US FDA, 400 to 500 milligrams of coffee consumption per day is considered to be ‘safe’ (that’s almost 4 cups). However, the effects may vary from person to person. Excess coffee consumption can have side effects like stomach pain, diarrhea, acid reflux, insomnia and restlessness. If you’ve been experiencing any of these frequently for a long time, it’s time to cap your coffee intake. Bangalore-based Nutritionist, Dr. Anju Sood does caution us and suggests,”Drinking one or two cups of coffee may be fine but if you exceed that it may cause dehydration in your body. In that case,
the essential water soluble minerals and vitamins are also flushed out of the body. Therefore, you must stick to your daily dose and combine it with other fluids like warm herbal teas, fresh juices or buttermilk to keep yourself hydrated all day,”