Drinking two or more cups of coffee a day could significantly reduce health risks associated with drinking too much alcohol.
An analysis of previous studies found drinking coffee could diminish the likelihood of developing liver cirrhosis, a disease which kills thousands of people in the UK every year and more than a million people worldwide.
The nine studies involved a total of 430,000 participants of which 1,990 had cirrhosis. Eight of the studies found the more coffee a person drank, the lower their risk in developing the disease.
Risk was reduced by 22 per cent with one cup of coffee, 43 per cent with two cups, 57 per cent with three cups and 65 per cent with four cups, compared to drinking no coffee at all.
The 12 Best coffee shops
The 12 Best coffee shops
Small Batch Coffee, Brighton
My Hotel, Jubilee St, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1GE
“They have six sites in Brighton, which offer great service in cool locations,” says Chris.
1 Granary Square (off Goods Way), London N1C 4AA
Jeffrey says this new, inspirational, design-led venue, created on a monumental scale, is one of London’s most powerful destination coffee venues. “Live roasting and artisan coffee made in a diverse set of ways by some of the UK’s best baristas complement the superb and comprehensive all-day brunch menu.” Its evening menu is a treat too.
Colonna & Smalls, Bath
6 Chapel Row, Bath, Avon, BA1 1HN
This speciality coffee house always offers three different types of espresso and three different types of filter coffee and will explain which is best depending on what sort of drink you wish to have: flat white, cappuccino etc. Chris says the coffee is “simply stunning”.
Bold St Coffee, Liverpool
89 Bold St, Liverpool, L1 4HF
Dale says this is one of the loveliest cafeé he knows. “Really approachable staff, the highest quality of coffee with the least pretence imaginable and they are repeatedly awarded the best café in the city. A solid community of like-minded coffee people within Liverpool.”
66 Great Titchfield Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 7QJ
Local, quality-focused artisan café with excellent in-house-made delicious food, has a very loyal following, says Jeffrey. “The owner Peter Dore-Smith is a perfectionist and his enthusiastic team are always very welcoming.” It’s independently owned and only minutes from the mayhem of Oxford Circus.
The Plough, Birmingham
21 High St, Harborne, Birmingham, B17 9NT
“The Plough redefines what a pub can be,” says Dale. “It aims for excellence with everything it does – coffee, food, service – and hits every time. This place is worth catching a train from London for.”
6/8 Kafé, Birmingham
6/8 Temple Row, Birmingham, B2 5HG
Central location in the second city, this is a stylish and smart cafe with a loyal following, says Dale, who also flags up the friendly service.
1 Parliament Street, Harrogate, HG1 2Q
Established in 1919, an institution and one of the finest coffee and tea venues in the country, says Jeffrey. “A beautiful and traditional venue that is owned and run by fine purveyors of coffee, Taylors of Harrogate.”
The Window, Norwich
25 Wensum St, Norwich, East Anglia, NR3 1
The owner, Hayley, serves her own blends, which change with her mood and you can buy the beans to take away.
Brew Lab Coffee, Edinburgh
6-8 South College St, Edinburgh, EH8 9AA
Dale says this is one of the most exciting cafés he’s visited in a long time. “The coffee is incredible – some of the most skilled baristas in Edinburgh, and the coffee changes weekly. The food is great too.”
Waterloo Gardens, Cardiff
5 Waterloo Gardens, Cardiff, Wales, CF23 5AA
A short walk from central Cardiff but well worth the effort, says Dale. “It was awarded the best UK coffee house 2009 and, strictly speaking, is really a tea paradise, but the coffee is just as well prepared. Super service, knowledgable and interesting staff.”
North Tea Power, Manchester
36 Tib St, Manchester, M4 1LA
“This is a beautiful café in the northern quarter of the city,” says Dale. “The staff are warm, the espresso is exceptional and you’ll never want to leave.”
The findings, published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, found stronger links between filter coffee and reduced cirrhosis risk than with boiled coffee - but the reason is not clear.
“Coffee is a complex mixture containing hundreds of chemical compounds, and it is unknown which of these is responsible for protecting the liver,” said lead study author Dr Oliver Kennedy of Southampton University.
Although the studies accounted for alcohol consumption, other cirrhosis risk factors – such as obesity and diabetes – were not considered in all of them, the study’s authors noted.
Liver cirrhosis can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption, hepatitis infections, immune disorders, and fatty liver disease, which is tied to obesity and diabetes.
“Cirrhosis is potentially fatal and there is no cure as such,” explained Dr Kennedy.
Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Langone Medical Center, warned against adopting an unhealthy lifestyle and attempting to compensate with coffee.
She said: “Unfortunately, although coffee contains compounds that have antioxidant effects and anti-inflammatory properties, drinking a few cups of coffee a day cannot undo the systematic damage that is the result of being overweight or obese, sedentary, excessive alcohol consumption or drastically mitigate an unhealthy diet.”