Drink Coffee: Your Liver Will Thank You

Drink Coffee: Your Liver Will Thank You

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Contrary to many beliefs, recent studies prove the health benefits of coffee

Stop feeling guilty about your guilty pleasure, coffee.

The opposing views on coffee to health have always existed, but a more recent case study has shown a benefit of drinking your morning cup of coffee, specifically for your liver.

A new study done by Dr. Craig Lammert, the lead author of the study as well as a gastroenterologist with the Mayo Clinic, has shown that regular coffee consumption may reduce risk of the contraction of, PSC (primary sclerosing cholangitis). PSC is a rare autoimmune liver disease that can cause destruction to the liver by swelling and obstruction. If undiagnosed or untreated, it may cause biliary cancer, cirrhosis, or liver failure.

The three specific groups that were observed in the study were healthy patients, PSC diagnosed patients, and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) patients. They were monitored over time with regular coffee consumption, and the results showed that coffee in fact can lower the risk for PSC. However, the study also showed that but the effect on the PBC group was minimal.

The case also illuminated new findings about the further differences between PSC and PBC.

“Moving forward, we can look at what this finding might tell us about the causes of these diseases and how to better treat them," said Konstantinos Lazaridas. The results were presented in May at the Digestive Disease Week 2013 conference.

Recent studies in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that women who drank two cups of coffee per day were 25 percent less likely to die of heart disease during the study compared to those who didn’t. The caffeine in coffee raises the metabolism of drinkers, which can aid in weight loss as well as help you work out!

Bottom line: Sticking to your daily regimen of one or two cups of java is helpful to various areas of your health.

9 Reasons Why (the Right Amount of) Coffee Is Good for You

Ah, coffee. Whether you&rsquore cradling a travel mug on your way to work or dashing out after spin class to refuel with a skinny latte, it&rsquos hard to imagine a day without it. The caffeine perks you up, and there&rsquos something incredibly soothing about sipping a steaming cup of joe. But is drinking coffee good for you?

Good news: The case for coffee is stronger than ever. Study after study indicates you could be getting more from your favorite morning beverage than you thought: Coffee is chock full of substances that may help guard against conditions more common in women, including Alzheimer&rsquos disease and heart disease.

&ldquoCaffeine is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about coffee. But coffee also contains antioxidants and other active substances that may reduce internal inflammation and protect against disease,&rdquo says Diane Vizthum, M.S., R.D., research nutritionist for Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Liver Functions: How Does it Work?

The specific function of the liver is filtering blood from the digestive tract. This is important because as blood passes through the liver, it is detoxified of chemicals and drugs are metabolized. This process produces bile which makes its way back to the intestines.

Important function of the liver is protein production.

The liver is also a place where your body stores vitamins A, D, B12, Vitamin K, folate, and iron. Fructose and galactose are transformed into glucose as well. With detoxification, protein production, metabolic functions, your liver is one of the hardest working organs in the body.

What is the correct name for a Turkish coffee pot?

There are primarily two names for a Turkish coffee pot:

  1. Cezve (and variations like dzezve, jazzve, gjezve, xhezve). Used in the Balkans, Russia and the Middle East.
  2. Ibrik or ibriki. Used in Greece and the English speaking countries.

The correct name is “cezve” pronounced “jezzve”. You might ask why? Well there are several reasons. To start out with ibrik is a type of ewer: a type of pitcher or jug that is shaped like a vase and that was used for holding water (as defined in the Webster’s).

It is a Persian word and comes from (â-briz) and means sewer, latrine, watershed. ”Ibrik” is the Ottoman Turkish pronunciation of this word.

The word also means “toilet” in Persian and there is an ibrik in every toilet in the Middle East (I ‘ll let your imagination decide what it’s used for!).

On the other hand, the name “cezve” is of Arabic origin, but the spelling is derived from the Ottoman Turkish spelling in Arabic script. Based on the Arabic meaning, “cezve” refers to a cooking pot used on burning log, ashes or sand. This is why it is the correct name.

However, I also am perfectly okay with calling it a “Turkish coffee pot”.

Here is what an ibrik looks like, and you can not use it to make Turkish coffee:

Here is what a cezve looks like:

Top foods for a healthy liver

Dark leafy greens: Kale, dandelion leaves, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are all great examples of dark leafy greens, which can help promote detoxication of the liver.

Water: Drinking adequate amounts of water helps flush your system of toxins. All your vital organs require proper hydration to function. Water also aids in digestion, which removes some stress from the liver.

Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and bok choy all contain compounds that could prevent the formation of carcinogens in the stomach, which is a response to foods made with hydrogenated oils and sodium nitrate.

Sea vegetables: Sea vegetables like seaweed can help promote detoxification and reduce uptake of radioactive particles.

Sprouted seeds, nuts, beans, and grains: Sprouts are high in enzymes that promote many bodily functions, including those carried out by the liver.

Sulfur-rich foods: Foods that contain sulfur include garlic, onions, shallots, artichokes, and medicinal mushrooms. They can aid in detoxification and fight off free radicals.

Fruit: Berries, in particular, contain phytochemicals, which are compounds rich in antioxidants that help the liver combat free radicals. Apples, too, can work to improve liver health.

Prebiotic-rich foods: You probably have heard of probiotics, but prebiotics are necessary to feed probiotics, which work to improve digestion and gut flora. Prebiotics deliver dietary fiber to probiotics so they can flourish.

Fermented foods: Fermented foods have been found to aid in digestion and provide the body with beneficial bacteria.

Healthy fats: Flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, coconut oil, avocados, and olive oil contain anti-inflammatory properties, take digestive strain off the liver, lower inflammation, and regulate hormones, which are all necessary to maintain the liver&rsquos good health.

Animal proteins: Not all animal proteins are good for your liver. You should stick with grass-fed meat, fatty low-toxin fish, and grass-fed whey protein powder to get adequate protein without straining your liver.
Plant-based proteins: Proteins are essential for building new cells, maintaining tissue, and synthesizing new proteins. You can still get adequate protein even if you don&rsquot eat meat by consuming marine or land-based proteins such as beans, seeds, and microalgae.

Oatmeal: High fiber foods like oatmeal can help promote a healthy liver.

Coffee: Several studies have shown the positive effects on the liver. Two to three cups of coffee a day have been shown to offer protection to the liver against damage from drinking alcohol or an unhealthy diet. Some studies have suggested coffee drinking may protect the liver against cancer.

Almonds: Nuts in general are high in essential vitamins that can benefit the liver and protect against disease. Almonds can also support a healthy heart which makes them an ideal snack throughout your day.

Herbs and spices: Herbs and spices not only make meals taste delicious, but they offer healthy polyphenols. Furthermore, they help you cut back on salt which is dangerous for blood pressure and the liver.

13 Foods That Are Good for Your Liver

The world we live in is dangerous. Not only to our overall wellbeing, but also to our health. When it comes to our body’s defense systems. Most people think of the immune system, which is a correct assumption, but it is not the only thing protecting our bodies. In many ways, the liver serves functions that can even be considered more important than those of the immune system, to put things in perspective. Virtually every single thing we eat has to pass through the liver before actually entering general blood circulation, just to ensure that any possible danger is taken care of.

As such, it is of utmost importance that you offer your liver as much support as you can. It is self-regenerating organ, in the sense that it typically heals itself when in a bad state, but this does not mean that you should take it for granted. One of the best ways you can support the health of your liver? By ensuring that what you put in your mouth is healing, and won’t cause undue stress.

You can start today, by increasing your consumption of the following superfoods:

1. Apples

One of the best ways to help the liver with its job? Reduce the amount of waste it needs to process. Apples are an excellent source of pectin, a soluble type of fiber which can bind numerous carcinogens and metabolic by products which require multiple rounds of processing to become inactive. This is tough on the liver, and even though it does the job quite efficiently, it is better to hasten the exit of these compounds from the body.

2. Dandelion

Dandelion root can made into a tea which has been used for generations as traditional remedies. In terms of liver support, Dandelion’s primary role is in assisting metabolism of various nutrients, but also possesses a unique trait. Under conditions of I’ll health, the organ may develop fatty liver, which causing an abnormal amount of fact to accumulate in and on the liver. Dandelion can help to metabolize this fat, and help the liver regain its natural state.

3. Coffee

Though considered more of a beverage than a food, its frequent consumption by millions around the world warrant its inclusion. The man health benefits of coffee are well known, but it seems like you can keep discovering more of them if you look. Coffee is not only loaded to the brim with anti-oxidants, but can also directly promote the health and longevity of your liver. Coffee can prevent development of cirrhosis in predisposed individuals, and slow down or even half progression of liver disease. Plus, regular coffee was found to inhibit fat and collagen accumulation on the liver, which make it inflexible and prone to damage. All these benefits contribute to keeping your liver at a young biological age.

4. Grapefruit

This amazing fruit can do much more than helping you lose weight, as it also possesses a liver protective effect. Grapefruit contains two rare anti-oxidants which reduce inflammation and protect the healthy liver cells from damage. Grapefruit consumption has also been linked to reducing the amount of fat found in the liver, by promoting its metabolism. This could potentially offer some insight into the mechanism behind grapefruit’s fat loss action.

Lastly, Grapefruit consumption helps reduce scarring in the liver worsened by alcohol abuse and paving the way for cirrhosis.

5. Cruciferous Vegetables

It seems like there is nothing these vegetables can’t do, as they are talked about often in the realm of health and nutrition. Well it seems there is even more to it, as consumption of these veggies promotes the health of the liver as well. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower have been observed to increase levels of enzymes necessary for detoxification, helping the liver more efficiently remove toxins and protect you from harm.

That’s not all, however, as these vegetables can decrease the effects of oxidative stress on the liver, and prevent liver failure from occurring. And best of all? These effects persist whether the vegetables are consumed raw or cooked- no force feeding required!

6. Nuts

Most of us undoubtedly enjoy consuming nuts, with a major bonus being the fact that they are actually good for you. They are rich in fat and Vitamin E, which contributes to the wellbeing of your heart, but there is evidence that they can also support the wellbeing of your heart. Nut consumption was particular found to be effective in men suffering from fatty liver disease, not caused by alcohol. Nuts help to elevate lowered enzyme levels and promote metabolism once more.

7. Seaweed

Have you ever consumed seaweed? If not, you’re not alone. Most of the world has actually never consumed seaweed, although its proven benefits on health should warrant its cause. Seaweed in this case supports the liver via its ability to bind heavy metals we may come into contact with on a daily basis. Heavy metals are very toxic and may even be radioactive, which is far from what you should be consuming. You may have inadvertently consumed these poisons after they would have contaminated regular food from your grocer or supermarket.

8. Garlic

Turns out eating garlic regularly does more than just make your food taste great. Garlic is already known to be able to lower cholesterol levels, but also supports liver function. This is thanks to the presence of its Sulphur based constituent named allicin, which supports your liver’s ability to detoxify toxins and can remove mercury consumed via diet.

9. Eggs

Your liver requires amino acids for various aspects of its metabolism process, which eggs readily supply. Eggs are a complete protein source, containing all the essential amino acids. Plus, eggs are also rich in choline, which is essential for the production of some coenzymes used in detoxification and also facilitates removal of heavy metals. The fat and cholesterol contained in eggs can also help with production of bile, which assists the liver with fat metabolism.

10. Fatty Fish

The presence of omega-3 fats in these fish reduce inflammation in the liver, and reduce the buildup of fat in the liver- possibly offsetting fatty liver disease.

11. Onions

Onions are able to boost levels of one of the most potent anti-oxidants in the body called glutathione, which reduces oxidative load on the load and promotes removal of toxins. Garlic also has this effect, but onions are a better option.

12. Berries

Of particular interest are blueberries and cranberries, which have been found to benefit the liver in a number of ways. For instance, they help to protect the liver itself from heavy oxidation, and can prevent the formation of scar tissue on liver that has experienced cirrhosis. Even better, these berries may reduce the likelihood of liver cancer developing, making them an essential part of a liver health diet.

13. Oranges

Last but not least are oranges and the citrus family. Their high vitamin C content is a major boost for the liver, which performs well under such conditions. Vitamin C consumption is associated with decreased fat in the liver, as well as reversed markers for cirrhosis or liver disease. Vitamin C from oranges and citrus fruits also boost recovery of the liver, and can speed up resolution of jaundice. Make every effort to consume citrus fruits, and your liver will thank you for it!

Warning signs your liver is loaded with toxins

And it's not just your diet that's wreaking havoc on your insides.

Your liver might be loaded with toxins. Image: iStock Source:BodyAndSoul

And it's not just your diet that's wreaking havoc on your insides.

When it comes to every aspect of how you look and feel, the liver packs a mighty punch. Anyone who has had a hangover understands the impact of an unhappy liver. Outside of those times where we may consume too much alcohol, we don’t often consider the liver’s role in the way we feel but it can often be driving niggling symptoms such as sluggish energy, recurring headaches, skin breakouts, body fat challenges, digestive complaints or sex hormone imbalances that can be driving your PMS.

The body’s second largest organ after our skin, the liver sits just behind your right rib cage. Its primary role is detoxification, a concept that has had much confusion surrounding it.

How detoxification works

Detoxification is a process that goes on inside us all day every day, and it is essentially a transformation process. Any substance that would be harmful to you if it were to accumulate must be changed into a less harmful form so it can then be excreted safely from your body and eliminated forever.

There are three stages to the detoxification process, all of which require certain nutrients to function. So, our food choices can influence how efficiently the liver is able to do its job – choosing mostly whole, real foods, particularly plenty of plants, helps to ensure the liver is getting the nutrients it needs.

Would you know if your liver is unhealthy? Image: iStock. Source:BodyAndSoul

There is also a group of substances I have labelled as “liver loaders”. They are substances that can influence the liver’s workload and therefore how efficiently it is able to detoxify and clear metabolites.

The list of liver loaders includes:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Trans fats
  • Refined sugars
  • Synthetic substances, such as those found in pesticides, medications, skin �re”

But other factors are also involved

It is not, however, just the things we consume or the things we put on our skin that can place demands on the detoxification processes of the liver. Substances your body makes itself also need transformation by the liver so they can be excreted. These substances include:

  • Cholesterol
  • Steroid hormones such as estrogen
  • Substances created in any shortfall in digestion/bowel congestion/dysbiosis

I have met countless people who have not consumed much in the way of liver loaders but have had diabolical menstrual cycles or ongoing challenges with their gut and they have exhibited very distinct signs that their liver needs support. Passing clots while menstruating is a classic liver congestion sign. High blood cholesterol is also often the result of an overwhelmed liver.

The majority of the cholesterol that is in the blood is made by the liver, and cholesterol production can sometimes be elevated in response to inflammation.

So, if your blood cholesterol is high or your bowels have been the bane of your life for many years, it is likely that you would benefit greatly if you considered how you can support your liver health.

Image: iStock Source:BodyAndSoul

However, even if you don’t experience any of those things, your liver will still benefit from you taking exceptional care of it. There are many problematic substances that we are exposed to on a daily basis that are beyond our control for example, via the air that we breathe.

So, be mindful of what you do choose to put in your body and make changes to what you can control (such as what you put in your mouth and on your skin) that don’t add to your liver’s load.

You might like to set yourself a time-based goal when it comes to making some changes. For example, “I will only drink alcohol on weekends for four weeks” if it’s something you currently consume more regularly, or “I will only drink coffee when I go out for breakfast on Sundays.” Or perhaps “I will seek the help of an experienced health professional to support my liver nutritionally and get on top of my PMT” (typically caused by excess estrogen).

It is what you do every day that impacts your health, not what you do sometimes. So, be honest with yourself about how you eat and drink on a daily basis and whether you may need to show your liver a little more love. Your health and energy will thank you for it.

Dr Libby Weaver (PhD) is one of Australasia&aposs leading nutritional biochemists, a best-selling author and speaker.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is having its day in the sun thanks to it being a potent source of curcumin, a powerful antioxidant.

Curcumin helps to reduce oxidative stress by neutralizing the harmful components of oxidative stress, according to July 2018 research published in Nutrients. Why's this important? Our daily routines can really wreak havoc on the liver: Alcohol and medications — even over-the-counter meds — can cause stress on the liver. And it's not just any run of the mill stress it's oxidative stress. Chronic oxidative stress could mean liver damage if it's not addressed.

Curcumin also has a hepatoprotective effect on the liver, which means it can prevent liver damage thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. You can get curcumin every day by adding turmeric to your favorite rice dishes, soups and even your latte.

The Upside To Coffee

For all the brews we love to drink that hurt our liver (hello, happy hour!) there&rsquos one that actually helps it: coffee.

The journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology brought the good news to java junkies this month. After authors conducted a meta-analysis of 14 studies from 1966 through 2012, they determined that coffee intake and liver cancer&mdashthe sixth most common cancer in the world and third deadliest&mdashwere inversely related: Coffee drinkers were 40% less likely than nondrinkers to develop liver cancer. And high drinkers slashed their risk by 50%.

Why is coffee so good for your liver? The authors credit coffee's bioactive compounds and antioxidants, which may inhibit cancer.

This is more good news about coffee amid a recent burst of it: An August study in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that a small amount of coffee is safe for your heart and isn&rsquot linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. "Coffee has a lot of good features," says the author of that study, Carl Lavie, MD, professor of medicine and medical director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention at Ochsner Clinical School in New Orleans. Previous research has shown that it's beneficial for dementia, depression, stroke risk, and even asthma, he says.

Java up, but stick to three cups per day, max. "It sure looks like that amount of coffee appears to be safe and may even have some health benefits," Dr. Lavie says.

What should I drink in the morning besides coffee?

Here are my six favorite coffee alternatives that are compliant with the elimination phase of the Autoimmune Protocol (and beyond, if you are like me and decide to ditch coffee for good!):

  1. Chicory/Dandelion Blend — If you haven’t tried this yet, be prepared to be blown away – this is an extremely coffee-like alternative! The roasted chicory and dandelion have a similar bitterness and acidity to coffee, but they don’t have any caffeine. In fact, both of these roots contain properties that aid in liver detoxification, so including them in your routine can actually be a way to love your liver. Try this steeped in a French Press, tea ball, or prepared“bulletproof” style (my personal favorite!).
  1. Tea — It almost goes without saying, but swapping out coffee for tea is one of the easiest alternatives out there. If you are weaning off coffee and would still like some caffeine, try some black, oolong, or green tea (caution though, as green tea can stimulate the immune system and cause flares in some folks). Great herbal, caffeine-free alternatives include rooibos, chamomile, peppermint, and licorice.
  1. Bone Broth — For those who are not yet broth converts, skipping coffee to enjoy a cup of warm broth in the morning may seem odd, but it is by far the most nourishing way to start the day. Bone broth contains many nutrients that are healing to the gut, like collagen, gelatin, and minerals like calcium and magnesium. See my Pressure Cooker Bone Broth recipe to make yourself a batch!
  1. Lemon Ginger Infusion — Ginger is one of my favorite anti-inflammatory spices, and using the fresh root to make an infusion is a great way to start the day. I like to slice a 1” piece of root into thin medallions, and steep for a few minutes with hot water and a squeeze of lemon.
  1. Coconut Milk Chai/”Natte” — I reserve a beverage like this for a special occasion both because it requires a little more effort and planning to execute, and can be sweet (think a weekend brunch). You will find my coconut milk chai recipe on p. 102 of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook. Also try this Pumpkin Spice “Natte”.
  1. Probiotic Drinks — While these don’t satisfy the “warm” and “cozy” feeling that the morning coffee ritual usually fulfills, they can be a great option for the warmer months (or beyond, if you don’t mind cold beverages in the morning!). Make your own or purchase Kombucha, Water Kefir, or Kvass to get a daily dose of probiotics.

I hope this article has opened you up to the possibilities of what you can have to drink in the morning without (gasp!) coffee! I think you will find these options not only tasty, but many of them nourishing and medicinal.

Are you coffee and/or caffeine-free? Have you tried any of the coffee alternatives on my list, and which one is your favorite?

About Mickey Trescott

Mickey Trescott is a co-founder here at Autoimmune Wellness. After recovering from her own struggle with both Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease, adrenal fatigue, and multiple vitamin deficiencies, Mickey started to write about her experience to share with others and help them realize they are not alone in their struggles. She is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner by the Nutritional Therapy Association, and is the author of three best-selling books--The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook, and The Nutrient-Dense Kitchen. You can watch her AIP cooking demos and get a glimpse of life on the farm by following her on Instagram.

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