If your liver's packing it in after a lifetime of boozing, changing your poison may yet keep you alive a little longer.
So says Dr Alex Hodge, a consultant gastroenterologist and liver disease specialist at Monash Health, a unit of Australia's Monash University.
Hodge and her colleagues studied 1,100 patients with either hepatitis C, hepatitis B or fatty liver. The latter condition is often caused by heavy alcohol consumption and while it produces no symptoms can lead to liver damage. As the liver filters your blood, a less-than-optimally-operating liver is not something you want inside you.
The good news from the study is that three cups of coffee a day seem to have a positive impact on the liver. The bad news is that the improvements were most marked in Hepatitis C patients, meaning those among you whose health problems stem from bacon-munching and beer-swilling probably need to consider diet and exercise rather than extra lattes or flat whites.
Just why coffee helps the liver isn't known: caffeine's a well-studied compound, but coffee's full of other chemicals and their impact on the liver remain obscure. ®