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Drinking coffee could help prevent gallstones

Researchers have discovered a new benefit of drinking the morning beverage

Photo (c) grandriver - Getty Images
Many consumers start their mornings with a cup of coffee. Though recent studies have presented both positive and negative outcomes for the revered beverage, a new study shows that coffee could actually help consumers prevent the onset of gallstones. 

The researchers conducted an observational study of over 104,000 individuals to better understand how the popular morning drink was affecting their likelihood of symptomatic gallstone disease (GSD). 

While heavy caffeine drinkers -- those who had at least six cups per day -- saw the greatest reduction in their likelihood of developing GSD at over 20 percent, the researchers learned that the benefits extend beyond just caffeine extremists. Those who upped their coffee intake by one extra cup per day were found to be at a reduced risk of developing gallstones. 

The researchers also learned that genes can play a role in these instances, as those who were genetically predisposed to consume more caffeine were also less likely to develop gallstones. 

How much coffee is too much coffee?

While the study findings might lead some consumers to drink more coffee each day, a recent study showed that many consumers are unaware of how caffeine can affect their health. The researchers suggested that consumers who feel jittery or anxious after drinking coffee should pull back on their consumption as a precaution.

In contrast to the gallstone study, the researchers found that consumers who drank more than six cups of coffee per day were at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

“In order to maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure, people must limit their coffees to fewer than six cups a day -- based on our data six was the tipping point where caffeine started to negatively affect cardiovascular risk,” said researcher Elina Hyppönen said. “Knowing the limits of what’s good for you and what’s not is imperative. As with many things, it’s all about moderation; overindulge and your health will pay for it.”

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