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Coffee Can Help to Undo the Liver Damage Caused by Heavy Drinking

Researchers have some great news when it comes to protecting what's left of your ravaged little liver, you boozehound. Coffee, you're our bestest friend.
Hilary Pollack
Los Angeles, US

After a night of getting shamelessly wasted on tequila shots, Jäger bombs, and whatever other ungodly poisons you've blown your whole paycheck on, you may be left wondering: Can I undo this?

Can I un-lose my jacket? Can I un-text my coworker that highly inappropriate photo? Can I un-banish myself from the most sinister depths of this hangover?

Maybe, no, and good luck. But researchers have found one light at the end of the tunnel: drinking coffee might actually help to undo some of the damage caused to your liver by last night's rabid sloshfest.

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A research team at Southampton University in the UK did a meta-analysis of nine previous studies, encompassing information from more than 430,000 people. They found that if you drink two extra cups of coffee each day, you have a 44 percent reduced risk of developing liver cirrhosis, a disease associated with a long-term lifestyle of heavy drinking that kills more than one million people worldwide annually.

"Cirrhosis is potentially fatal and there is no cure as such … Therefore, it is significant that the risk of developing cirrhosis may be reduced by consumption of coffee, a cheap, ubiquitous, and well-tolerated beverage," said lead author Dr. Oliver Kennedy in a statement.

READ MORE: This Irish Coffee Recipe Is Your Weekend Hangover Cure

In addition to overdoing it on booze, other causes of cirrhosis include hepatitis, immune disorders, and a buildup of fat in the liver.

In all but one of the studies that the researchers examined, the results showed the the risk of developing cirrhosis for subjects went down as the number of daily cups of coffee consumed went up. If you drink four cups of coffee a day, your risk of developing cirrhosis drops by 65 percent. No promise of avoiding the jitters, however.

Further research is needed to address a few more questions raised by the researchers, such as possible discrepancies between the benefits of filtered coffee versus boiled coffee, or the difference in coffee's advantages in diabetes-triggered cases of cirrhosis over alcohol-triggered cases.

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In fact, the researchers aren't even sure what exactly it is about coffee that causes it to protect the liver, so you might want to hold off before indulging your temptation to embrace full-blown alcoholism and then ward off death with a massive can of Folger's.

"Unfortunately, although coffee contains compounds that have antioxidant effects and anti-inflammatory properties, drinking a few cups of coffee a day cannot undo the systematic damage that is the result of being overweight or obese, sedentary, excessive alcohol consumption or drastically mitigate an unhealthy diet," Heller told the New York Post.

Oh well. It's still the first thing we'll order at a morning-after brunch session, and now we'll feel a little more confident going for a third cup. The only downside: it might interfere with a mid-afternoon hangover nap.

WATCH: How to Make the Perfect Cappuccino