It’s a disheartening fact: A drink a day certainly does not keep the doctor away. But a new report from the World Cancer Research Fund in London suggests that adding a cup of joe to that equation could help alleviate the risk of liver cancer caused by regular alcohol consumption (i.e. three plus drinks a day) by 14 percent.
“Both coffee and coffee extracts have also been shown to reduce the expression of genes involved in inflammation, and the effects appear to be most pronounced in the liver,” the report says. “Mechanisms that support a protective effect of coffee on liver cancer relate largely to studies in animals, although some human studies contribute to the evidence.”
The researchers discovered the connection between liver cancer and coffee after dissecting 34 scientific studies of health data from more than 8 million men and women and 24,600 cases of liver cancer. They also found that having three or more drinks a day significantly heightens the risk of liver cancer—the second deadliest type of cancer in the world.
While the news is thrilling for frequent imbibers of the hard stuff, more research is needed before you can justify throwing caution to the wind and going on an all-out liquor and coffee binge. The researchers emphasize that they don’t even know what it is about coffee that seems to have this effect.
For now, rest assured knowing that your morning brew has many other worthwhile health benefits too.