A study involving ethnic Chinese residents of Singapore found that drinking three or more cups of coffee a day could reduce the risk of liver cancer by 44 per cent, The Straits Times newspaper reported Saturday.
Researchers at the Department of Epidemiology of the National University of Singapore suggested two oils found in coffee beans, cafestol and kahweol, have liver-protecting properties, DPA reported.
The research - begun in 1993 and involving more than 63,000 ethnic Chinese men and women aged 45 to 74, populations considered at higher risk of liver cancer - added to a growing body of evidence contradicting the long-held notion that coffee is bad for the health.
Associate professor Koh Woon Puay, who was involved in the study recently published in the US journal Cancer Causes and Control, said the finding meant coffee drinkers could now worry less about liver cancer.
"Coffee has often had to fight its bad image, compared with tea, which is often portrayed very positively," Koh was quoted as saying. But a study by her team on green tea drinking found that it had delivered no protection against the disease.
A 2008 coffee-drinking study found that drinking four or more cups a day might lower the risk of diabetes by 30 per cent.