With the New Year fast approaching, many people ring it in with several glasses of alcohol, only to require spending all of January 1 recuperating from the celebration. While everyone and their mother supposedly has a cure for a hangover, perhaps the best cure is prevention. In fact, research suggests that asparagus may help prevent hangovers.
In a study published in the Journal of Food Science, researchers from the Institute of Medical Science and Jeju University in South Korea found that the minerals and amino acids found in asparagus may stave off hangovers and protect the liver from toxins. Drinking alcohol, particularly chronically, is responsible for the uncomfortable effects of a hangover and can place oxidative stress on the liver. "Cellular toxicities were significantly alleviated in response to treatment with the extracts of asparagus leaves and shoots," B.Y. Kim, the lead researcher of the study, said in a statement. "These results provide evidence of how the biological functions of asparagus can help alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells."
The researchers also helpfully analyzed the components of the asparagus plant to find which portions of it would be most helpful in preventing a hangover. The researchers analyzed the biochemical effect of the asparagus leaves and shoots on rat and human cells. The study 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.
Despite the disgust that the vegetable engenders in children, this is not the first time that asparagus has been found to have healthy 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.