In a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers analysed whether coffee can protect against cutaneous melanoma: malignant melanoma and melanoma in situ.Tetra Pak/Flickr

Decaffeinated coffee is good for the liver. Researchers found that certain chemical compounds in coffee, helped to lower abnormal liver enzymes.

The results persisted irrespective of the fact that whether the popular beverage contained caffeine or not.

"Prior research found that drinking coffee may have a possible protective effect on the liver. However, the evidence is not clear if that benefit may extend to decaffeinated coffee," lead researcher of the study Dr. Qian Xiao from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, said in a news release.

Dr Xiao and colleagues reached the conclusion after analysing coffee consumption among 27,793 people aged 20 or above. Data for the study came from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted between 1999 and 2010.

Researchers noted down coffee intake during a 24-hour period and also measured blood levels of certain enzymes like aminotransferase (AST), gamma glutamyl transaminase (GGT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and aminotransferase (ALT) to get an exact idea of the participants' liver health.

Drinking three cups of coffee was associated with a drop in the levels of all these enzymes. Interestingly, people who took only decaffeinated coffee also received similar health benefits.

"Our findings link total and decaffeinated coffee intake to lower liver enzyme levels. These data suggest that ingredients in coffee, other than caffeine, may promote liver health. Further studies are needed to identify these components," Dr. Xiao, added.

The findings reported in Hepatology come as a support to a 2013 study that found that drinking coffee prevented liver cancer.

People in the study who consumed coffee regularly had 40% lowered risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of primary liver cancer.

Coffee consumption has been linked to several health benefits in the past. Research has shown that coffee can reduce suicide risk and risk of womb cancer. Apart from these, there exists solid evidence to show that caffeine in coffee improves memory.

Early this year, researchers from the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine reported that antioxidants in coffee can help lower risk of gum disease.

The Best Time to Drink Coffee

Though most of the people prefer drinking coffee early in the morning, an investigation into the matter shows that consuming the drink between 9:30 am and 11:30 am provides the best results. This is mainly because cortisol, a hormone produced by adrenal gland that regulates stress and body's metabolism, is normally high during early morning to nine.

Drinking coffee at this time will be less effective as the high cortisol is enough to keep the body alert.