The bad habit that can save your liver

If you've got a healthy liver, you probably never give it a second thought. And if you want to continue to have a healthy liver you never have to think about, do yourself a favor and start your day off with a cup of coffee.

It's not just nature's best eye-opener. It's a nutritional super-drink packed with vitamins critical to health and longevity -- and new research shows it can actually prevent one of the worst diseases of the liver: liver cancer.

On average, any coffee habit at all will slash your risk of this potentially life-ruining -- not to mention life-ending -- disease by 40 percent.

And if you drink three cups a day, you could cut your risk of liver cancer in half, according to the review of 16 studies.

Now, this isn't a clinical trial, so you have to take it with a grain of salt... or at least a splash of fresh cream. But we know from other studies that coffee can reduce the risk of other liver diseases, including cirrhosis.

Coffee could even help undo some of the liver damage from a heavy booze habit. (Emphasis on "some." If you're a hardcore lush, the damage will catch up with you eventually, no matter how much coffee you drink.)

And some people will still try to tell you coffee is a bad habit!

That's just nonsense. Along with liver protection, coffee can prevent other forms of cancer, boost the heart and brain and keep you sharp and focused.

The only thing that can ruin a perfectly good mug of coffee is a sweetener -- whether it's sugar or a sugar substitute. Wean yourself off the stuff and learn to love the taste of coffee.

And if you need something to take the edge off, use more fresh cream.