Planning a big night out Why eating asparagus could prevent a hangover
Amino acids and minerals in asparagus could alleviate hangover symptoms and protect the liverAsparagus leaves have the highest levels of the protective substances
13:31 GMT, 27 December 2012
Research suggests that tucking into a few asparagus shoots may be all that is required to prevent a hangover
Drinking milk, eating bread, water before bed; the list of hangover prevention methods is extensive.
However, new research suggests that tucking into a few asparagus shoots before a big night out may be all that is required.
According to research by the Institute of Medical Science, and Jeju National University in South Korea, amino acids and minerals found in the vegetable may alleviate hangover symptoms and protect liver cells against toxins.
As part of the study, which was published in the Journal of Food Science, researchers analysed the components of young asparagus shoots and leaves and compared their biochemical effects on human, and rat, liver cells.
Lead researcher B.Y. Kim said: ‘Cellular toxicities were significantly alleviated in response to treatment with extracts of asparagus leaves and shoots.
‘These results provide evidence of how the biological functions of asparagus can help alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells.’
The researchers also looked at the different components of the asparagus plant to find which portions of it would be most beneficial in preventing the dreaded effects of excessive alcohol consumption.
They found that the leaves of the asparagus had higher amino acid and mineral content than the shoots, meaning that the leaves would be better able to protect the liver from damage and prevent hangovers.
A previous study by researchers at Cheju National University School of Medicine, in Korea, showed that asparagus is high in amino acids and that those amino acids stimulate enzyme functions which accelerate the breakdown of alcohol in the body.
In an informal study Deokbae Park, professor of medicine at the university, found that volunteers who drank a liquid containing asparagus extracts reported fewer hangover symptoms.
This is not the first time that asparagus has been found to have health giving properties.
The vegetable is widely used as herbal medicine due to the fact that it is believed to fight cancer. It also combats fungus, inflammation, and works as a diuretic.
WHAT SHOULD I EAT BEFORE A NIGHT OF HEAVY DRINKING
Baked beans on grainy toast with avocado and a glass of apple juice
Dietician Azmina Govindji recommends this pre-party meal as the beans, avocado and grains release energy slowly to prevent hunger and a fall in blood sugar levels caused by alcohol. The apple juice helps you stay hydrated and contains vitamin C which is often depleted by heavy drinking.
Lamb chops with sweet potato and peas, probiotic yoghurt and a glass of water
This is the hangover busting meal suggested by dietician Dr Sarah Schenker because lamb is rich in protein which fills you up and sweet potatoes release energy slowly. They are also both good sources of zinc and vitamin A which are vital for a healthy immune system and are depleted by too much alcohol. Probiotic yoghurt can counteract morning-after bowel problems caused by binge drinking.
A wholemeal bagel filled with smoked salmon, tomato and full-fat cream cheese with a banana and a glass of orange juice
This is nutritionist Carina Norris’s recommendation because it is high in potassium which helps balance fluid levels during heavy drinking. The protein in the salmon and cheese also slows the rate of digestion preventing blood sugar dropping too quickly. The banana, tomatoes and orange juice top up levels of vitamin B and C which are vital for energy and the immune system.
Scrambled eggs on rye bread with a glass of one per cent fat milk
Nutritionist Fiona Hunter suggests you make this your pre-drinking snack as it provides a balance of slow-release carbohydrates and protein to keep blood sugar levels stable. The eggs and milk also supply vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, so you are protected against the nutrient-draining effects of excessive alcohol.