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article imageAsparagus: An unlikely hangover cure

By Kathleen Blanchard     Dec 28, 2012 in Health
Festivities that surround the holidays can sometimes literally be a headache, thanks to drinking too much alcohol. Now researchers are offering a potential hangover cure that comes from eating certain parts of asparagus.
The research finding was originally published in 2009 but new research has just been published.
Food scientists are now reminding us of the potential benefits of asparagus for curing hangover in a December 26, 2012 press release.
The slim green vegetable just might help protect us from the toxic effects of alcohol that lead to headache, nausea and general feelings of malaise, according to findings published in The Journal of Food Science.
Eating the leaves and stems of asparagus not only could protect from a hangover, but it could help guard the liver cells from destruction that comes from alcohol toxins, according to the original findings from researchers at the Institute of Medical Science and Jeju National University in South Korea.
The protective benefits from the vegetable come from amino acids and minerals that are abundant in the leaves and shoot rather than the stalk that most of us usually eat.
The scientists reached their conclusion by studying rat and human liver cells exposed to hydrogen peroxide – a source of alcohol.
The researchers cultured the cells with and without asparagus extract from the leaves and shoots of the plant species Asparagus officinalis.
The result was 70 percent lower toxicity to liver cells cultured with the asparagus extract.
The researchers noted a 2-fold increase of enzymes that metabolize ethanol--alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase in cells treated with the vegetable extract.
The authors concluded: “These results provide evidence of how the biological functions of asparagus can help alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells.”
But rather than relying on asparagus to alleviate a hangover, it might be wiser to follow tried and true prevention and remedies that include eating before you consume alcohol, staying well hydrated, paying attention to how much beer, wine or liquor you’re really consuming and pacing yourself. It’s also important to get a good night’s rest after overindulging.
Smoking before you drink is also recently shown to make a hangover more intense.
Vitamin B that comes from supplements and foods like fish, poultry, eggs, beans and green leafy vegetables give the body more energy. Vitamin B12, B5, B6 and folic acid help promote liver function to keep the body free from toxins.
The 2009 study suggests asparagus, which is definitely a healthy food choice, might protect from the physical ravages of a hangover. The green veggie might also lower your risk for cancer. More investigation would be needed that actually involves human research to prove it really works.
More about Asparagus, Hangover, Cure, Journal of Food Science, Press release
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