Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is now the leading cause of chronic liver disease in the US. NAFLD is caused by obesity, excessive carbohydrate in the diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Insulin resistance (high fasting insulin — have you been tested?) is often a sign that a fatty liver is developing or already present. Left untreated, fatty liver disease can progress to cirrhosis and liver cancer in the worst case, so this is not a condition to take lightly.
If you are feeling pain in the upper right quadrant of your abdominal area and you are overweight, you need to check for NAFLD. Liver enzymes, insulin and abdominal ultrasound are all appropriate tests. Weight loss, exercise, cutting carbohydrates and using metformin or bitter melon/berberine are all effective methods of reversing NAFLD.
So what about coffee? More and more research shows coffee, specifically its antioxidants, protects against and can help reverse fatty liver. Chlorogenic acid, coffee’s main antioxidant, helps reverse insulin resistance, is anti-inflammatory, and blocks the process of cirrhosis. So drink coffee if you enjoy it, caf or decaf. The best decaf is water processed or extracted with carbon dioxide, so look for that on the label.