It’s no secret that alcohol is taxing on your liver. But being a teetotaler or only drinking in moderation doesn’t give you a pass on worrying about your liver health. A typical Western diet that’s high in fat and sugar and low in nutrition can also cause damage, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This disease can be just as damaging as alcoholic liver disease. That’s because it involves stiffness and scarring that prevent the liver from functioning properly. Fortunately, there’s a way to keep this disease from affecting this vital organ.
Of course, eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet is the best place to start. But according to a study published in the Journal of Hepatology, what you drink can have a significant impact as well. And I’m not just talking about swapping a cocktail for some seltzer. For this study, which involved nearly 2,500 people living in the same area, the researchers evaluated the health of the participants’ livers in conjunction with their food and beverage consumption.
A few key correlations jumped out: the tea and coffee drinkers seemed to fare the best. After they evaluated the data further, the researchers found that the people who drank more than three cups of coffee a day or any amount of herbal tea had the least chance of experiencing liver stiffness associated with NAFLD. Interestingly, this connection existed independently of other factors, including dietary choices and metabolic health.
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The researchers believe this connection may exist because the antioxidants and polyphenols in coffee and tea help reduce the inflammation that can damage the liver. I agree. I’ve talked about the benefits of coffee and tea for years. I think you can freely drink several cups of coffee a day as long as you aren’t loading them up with sugar. That’s the opposite of what you want for liver protection. And while this study found that all tea drinkers benefitted from their habit, I think green tea in particular has a lot going for it. If you don’t like coffee, you can drink green tea in the morning to get a bit of caffeine and then switch to herbal tea in the afternoon to keep the benefits going without the buzz.
If you’d like to protect your liver but aren’t interested in drinking coffee or tea, you can still get many of these same benefits by taking Green Tea Extract. It contains green tea leaves in supplement form to allow people who don’t enjoy the taste of this beverage to still experience its many health-boosting properties.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD