Whether New Year's Eve, a wedding or a run-of-the-mill Saturday night, if you're drinking alcohol you may want to reach for some asparagus, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of Food Science. The study, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), found asparagus may aid the body in accelerating the metabolism of alcohol.
The amino acids and minerals found in asparagus extract may alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells against toxins. Researchers at the Institute of Medical Science and Jeju National University in Korea analyzed the components of young asparagus shoots and leaves to compare their biochemical effects on human and rat liver cells.
The amino acid and mineral contents were found to be much higher in the leaves than the shoots, says lead researcher B.Y. Kim. Toxicities were significantly alleviated in response to treatment with the extracts of asparagus leaves and shoots, says Kim, and these results provide evidence of how the biological functions of asparagus can help alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells.
By the way, asparagus has long been used as an herbal medicine due to its anticancer effects as well as antifungal, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties.