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The World Resources Institute estimates that the average American drinks more than 400 cups of coffee a year (2009). Some people take coffee or tea once a day, usually at breakfast, but many people enjoy taking it up to three or more times a day, too.
More evidence is mounting about the benefits of drinking coffee and/or tea on liver health, as recent studies suggest that these beverages have protective effects against various liver conditions such fatty liver disease, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Health Benefits of Coffee and Tea
Next to water, coffee and tea are the most popular beverages taken by people around the world. They are known for their appealing taste and aroma and their ability to perk you up in the morning, or at any time of the day. These beverages can be taken while socializing, relaxing or even while working. They are easy to prepare and will fit any household budget.
The health benefits of coffee and tea are usually associated with the antioxidants they contain. Antioxidants are chemical substances that help eliminate free radicals from the body. These free radicals are by-products of normal metabolic processes in the body that can lead to premature aging as well as chronic disease. Aside from antioxidants, coffee and tea also contain caffeine, a stimulant that can boost mental and physical function.
Similar observations have been made about regular tea drinkers. Although the studies do not show a direct cause-and-effect link between drinking coffee or tea and prevention of these chronic diseases, the possible association of protection from disease with people's coffee drinking habits has been consistently observed from numerous studies.
A recent review of 18 studies, for example, found that among around 500,000 individuals involved in the studies, the risk for developing diabetes dropped by 7% for every cup of coffee taken daily. Another review of 9 studies involving around 200,000 people showed that those who drank more than four cups of coffee daily had a 30% lower chance of developing the disease.
Aside from diabetes, scientists have found that regular coffee drinkers are also at lower risk for suffering from heart disease, stroke, cancer, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.
On the other hand, drinking tea has also been associated with similar protective effects. Aside from being a relaxing drink, tea can also protect brain health, improve blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as help reduce weight.
The role of coffee and tea in protecting liver health has also been studied more recently.