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There are plenty of food hacks available on TikTok — including some advice about hidden benefits of kitchen staples.
Some on the platform claim that asparagus works to cure a hangover, thanks to the amino acids, minerals and enzymes present in the vegetable. One video, which has been viewed over two million times, claims that eating asparagus before drinking will help you “have a much better morning after.”
However, these claims are somewhat overblown, according to registered dietitian and nutritionist Samantha Cassetty.
There is one small study that looks at the effects of asparagus shoots and leaves on human and rat liver cells from 2009. The study, which was conducted by the Institute of Medical Science and Jeju National University in Korea, found that “cellular toxicities were significantly alleviated in response to treatment with the extracts of asparagus leaves and shoots,” according to a 2012 article about the study, and “provide evidence of how the biological functions of asparagus can help alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells.”
Don’t grab a stalk of asparagus just yet, though.
“Asparagus does have bioactive substances that in cell studies were found to have an effect on protecting your liver cells and modifying the effect of alcohol,” Cassetty said. “There is biologic plausibility to that theory; however, it is certainly not a magic bullet.”
Cassetty said that because the study was in a cell culture, not in actual humans, it’s “far from proven” that asparagus has a major effect on hangovers. She also said it’s impossible to tell how much asparagus would be needed to make an impact, since that wasn’t included in the 2009 study.
“I think that if you wanted to add asparagus to your hangover regimen, I don’t think it would be damaging unless you were having some (gastrointestinal) distress,” Cassetty said.
What foods can treat a hangover?
If you are looking for a hangover cure in your kitchen, Cassetty recommends bland, starchy foods and plenty of fluids.
“Alcohol actually damages your stomach lining, and so a lot of people do better with bland food, rather than asparagus, which has fiber and things like that, so it may not feel so great (on your stomach),” Cassetty said. “… Alcohol is dehydrating, so certainly fluids might help.”
You can also preemptively ward off a hangover by drinking water alongside alcoholic beverages, making sure not to overindulge, and avoiding drinking on an empty stomach.
What other benefits does asparagus have?
Cassetty said that one of the major studied benefits of asparagus is the prebiotic fiber contained in the vegetable.
“That’s a type of fiber that works to stimulate your gut bacteria,” she said. “Basically, it’s one of the fuel sources for your gut bacteria. We know that people who eat lots of prebiotic fiber have a diverse and healthy gut environment, and a healthy gut is tied to not just better digestion but better immunity and less inflammation, which is tied to so many other disorders.”