Few people can envision life without coffee, but is it one of the things that you have to give up after being diagnosed with a fatty liver? We’re going to talk about it in today’s article and answer the question: is coffee good for fatty liver or not?
Coffee is actually considered beneficial to the liver. So, generally, if you suffer from a fatty liver, you can still drink coffee. There are a few things that you should consider when preparing it in order to make sure that it remains a safe, healthy beverage and won’t be turned into something bad for your liver.
This means that you have to prepare it the right way and have it the right way – and we’re going to learn what this means today.
But first things first!
Why is coffee good for a fatty liver?
We’ll start with the good news: coffee is good for a liver, no matter if it is healthy or already affected by NAFLD.
There are countless studies that we’ll check out below, but all of them reached the same conclusion: coffee is not doing any harm to your liver, on the contrary!
For starters, a relatively recent study published in 2016 in Barcelona, Spain showed that coffee could actually help reverse fatty liver, according to Science Daily.
However, this study was conducted on mice and used the equivalent of six shots of espresso for testing… which is a bit much if it’s a daily dose (as opposed to a one time dose).
So while the study itself is not very clear on methodology and it was only made on mice, it’s still a good start… But there is more!
Medical News Today also reports that during an event held at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, a board of experts discussed various studies reporting that coffee helps the liver.
From fatty liver to reducing the risks of cirrhosis and even cancer, coffee consumption does seem to help, according to all the studies presented.
It does seem that the more coffee you have, the better are its effects on your body.
But according to WebMD, even moderate amounts will slow down Fibrosis, Cirrhosis and Fatty Liver. In other words, drinking a lot of coffee is good for the liver.
BUT there are some other important things to consider here: caffeine can increase blood pressure levels, so if you are suffering from high blood pressure, you shouldn’t drink a lot of coffee (or any – discuss this with your doctor!).
Coffee will also prevent you from sleeping, so make sure it won’t interfere with your sleeping schedule, which is also extremely important when fighting a fatty liver.
In other words, you shouldn’t start drinking coffee only because of its benefits. It alone is not enough to help you reverse fatty liver (in my opinion), but every little bit helps.
And for most of us, knowing that we can still drink coffee even after being diagnosed with NAFLD should be considered a big win already.
It is not extremely clear at the moment what exactly makes coffee so beneficial for the liver, but it appears that not only caffeine itself helps (by creating a chemical in our body that slows the growth of the scar tissue involved in fibrosis), but also other base components of coffee, kahweol and cafestol which also help the liver.
With over 1,000 substances found in our regular coffee beans, doctors still don’t know which of them are responsible for the benefits, nor exactly how do they help the liver, but at least the conclusion is obvious.
Coffee is not only safe for your liver, but actually recommended as it helps improve the condition.
Coffee with fatty liver: how to have it?
Unfortunately, your favorite Starbucks latte, or your homemade coffee with your favorite coffee creamer might turn from helpful into harmful!
Unsweetened coffee itself is good for the liver… but if you add sugars, fats and other chemicals to bring in the flavors you crave, it becomes an unhealthy beverage that does more harm than good.
This means that it is very important HOW you prepare your coffee when it comes to a fatty liver.
Ideally, you should have your coffee black (without any added sweeteners). However, most of us won’t be able to have it that way. You can add a bit of milk or milk alternative, as well as a bit of honey or stevia.
What about decaf?
For those who can’t have regular coffee because of other health problems, decaffeinated coffee becomes the only option.
But the problem here is that you also need to be extremely careful about the brand and type of decaf coffee you’re having because the decaffeinating process itself often involves washing the coffee beans with all sorts of unhealthy chemicals (read about different ways of making decaf coffee here)
However, there are some more expensive ways to remove the caffeine from the beans, and one of them is by rinsing them with water.
In other words, if you want decaf coffee and you want to keep it as safe as possible, only go for the healthiest options out there. Or you can check out an article about the best decaf coffee you can buy online.
While there aren’t as many studies on decaf coffee and its benefits for the liver, there are some that claim that at least some of them remain even after the decaffeination process.
The antioxidants and most of the other components remain even after the caffeine is removed, so most likely it is just as helpful. Or, at the very worst, it will just do you no harm as long as you’re getting the one that is made without chemicals.
My personal opinion: how I drank coffee
When I was diagnosed with a fatty liver, I was overweight, extremely stressed, had very poor eating habits and a lot was going on in my life.
As a result, I also had high blood pressure at the time and the doctors had put me on beta-blockers to keep my blood pressure under control (and I was only 30, if you can imagine!)
So for almost the entire time that I needed to reverse my fatty liver (1.5 years for those who didn’t read my other articles), I drank almost exclusively decaffeinated coffee.
I personally drank a water-processed Lavazza brand – but because that was the only water-decaf I could find back then. I am sure that any other type of decaf would be just fine, as long as it is made using healthy methods.
However, after about 1 year of dieting – maybe a bit more – my blood pressure went down and normalized, so I was taken off the meds. Slowly after, I switched to drinking regular coffee again because it tastes better in my opinion.
I usually have just one large cup of homemade coffee, in the morning. I add like 1/4 of a teaspoon of honey to sweeten it as I wasn’t ever able to drink it unsweetened. Sometimes, I add a bit of milk (1-2 tablespoons), but usually I don’t.
So while I am sure that it wasn’t the coffee that helped me reverse my fatty liver, as I was following my recommended diet, exercising, sleeping more and losing a lot of weight, at the very worst it didn’t do any harm.
And this should be good enough news for the coffee lovers out there. Coffee could even help your quest to reverse your fatty liver, so unless you have other medical conditions that prevent you from having it, just enjoy your daily cuppa! It’s one of the things you don’t have to give up after being diagnosed, fortunately.
And if you also enjoy drinking tea, there are even more good news for you – so make sure you read my article about green tea and fatty liver.