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Asparagus helps a hangover

Surprising ways to avoid feeling awful on January 1st

By Christine L. Chen Dec 28, 2012 8:03PM

I love to toast the new year with a cocktail on New Year’s Eve, but I’m not a fan of the hangover. I like to be functional the next day. It seems that there may be a new, tasty, way to make sure I am. You know the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Well, according to researchers, we should also be saying, “Asparagus keeps the hangover away.”

It seems eating the green spears could help ease hangover symptoms and protect your liver from the effects of alcohol. According to new research from Jeju National University in Seoul, Korea, asparagus components contain amino acids and minerals that could “accelerate the metabolism of alcohol,” said lead researcher B.Y. Kim. Just typical asparagus from the store is all you need.

I get it, though. Asparagus isn’t exactly party food, so it might be a little unrealistic to expect to find a plate of asparagus at your friend’s soiree, or to even try to charge of the hangover the night before. Sometimes, it’s all about urgent, next-day relief. If so, try:

A banana: Potassium helps restore electrolyte balance and helps counteract the dehydration from drinking the night before.

Salty soup: Chicken soup can help do the same thing as bananas do (see also: sports drinks)

Toast or crackers: They help curb a drop in blood sugar, which helps with headaches and nausea

A spoonful of baking soda in water: Sodium bicarbonate helps ease queasiness

A walk or a workout: You’ll boost your metabolism and oxygen levels, which helps purge toxins from the body

If you’re a seasoned drinker, you know already that guzzling water during the festivities (hydration) is key. Something else to keep in mind: Other research out of Brown University says if you smoke while you drink, the hangover could be worse.

Hangovers happen for a number of reasons: dehydration, a drop in blood sugar, irritation of your stomach lining and bad sleep after partying. Also, chemicals in alcohol called cogeners can cause more intense hangovers -- those bad boys show up more in dark liquors like whiskey and brandy, while lighter-looking vodkas are nicer to your body.

Ordering vodka martinis, not smoking and chewing on asparagus won’t guarantee you feel crystal clear on New Year’s Day if your celebration is like the movie “The Hangover,” nor do they save you from embarrassing pictures being posted on Facebook. But, some smart party choices, a few extra stalks of asparagus and some “real” food could help you feel a little more alive as you say hello to 2013.  

Healthy eating tips for holiday parties
The health benefits and risks of alcohol
Smoking might make hangovers worse

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