While waiting for my husband’s barber to finish perfecting his “faux-hawk,” I took to brushing up on some man literature… in the form of a 3-month old GQ magazine. When you get past the many features on pocket squares, bespoke Oxford shoes, and power watches (Is GQ catering solely to the mythically perfect male reader?), masculine content can be quite refreshing and eye-opening! Especially when I came across a piece that touted a certain fruit’s promising anti-hangover properties. If you ever find yourself bracing for the morning-after hangover, this new nutritional tidbit should be worth a shot!
A group of scientists at Australia-based Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) found that drinking at least 220mL of Korean pear juice can actually reduce the severity of a hangover, thanks to the fruit’s anti-inflammatory enzymes, which coincidentally, also help speed up alcohol metabolism, while slightly slowing alcohol absorption. Sounds too good to be true? Maybe. Science still has a lot to go on this one, but the preliminary results are promising – as long as you drink it prior to ordering your first round.
The study’s lead investigator, Manny Noakes, explained, “It appears that the factors in Korean pears act on the key enzymes involved in alcohol metabolism, alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) to speed up alcohol metabolism and elimination or inhibition of alcohol absorption. In particular, reductions were seen in blood acetaldehyde levels, the toxic metabolic thought to be responsible for the hangover symptoms, with pear juice consumption.”
When alcohol is better metabolized – meaning you don’t have a swell of toxic acetaldehyde in your system – you’re less likely to feel the discomforts of a rapid pulse, sweating, flushing, and nausea and vomiting. Additionally, much of the inflammation excess alcohol consumption drives – including the massive, throbbing headache caused by dehydration – are nicely countered by the fruit’s enzymes.
While Korean pear juice isn’t exactly a cure, in the very essence of the word, if combined with a proper pre-game meal (Preferably something fatty to help slow stomach emptying), lots of hydration in between and after drinks, and a moderated amount and rate of drinking, you may expect less discomfort the following morning. You may not be up for a lot of activity, but at least you won’t feel like you’re slowly dying from the inside-out.
If you can’t get your hands on Korean pear juice, there are a number of other healthy foods you can purposely eat more of before or after a night of drinking. They don’t have any alcohol-focused studies to back them up, but there’s no harm trying, and there’s definitely a lot to gain from eating healthy food:
1. Eggs – Help your body get rid of any lingering toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism by getting some cysteine in you. This amino acid attracts toxic acetaldehyde and helps convert more of it into harmless acetate, which is then secreted by the body.
2. Coconut water – While guzzling liters of H2O the morning after drinking is still the golden standard, replenishing your electrolytes (potassium, especially) should be a priority to help alleviate the symptoms of a hangover.
3. Soup – It’s an easy meal for when your stomach feels sensitive. You’re taking in some more water, and badly-needed electrolytes.
4. Bananas – A must for when you realize you did vomit from the alcohol. Potassium is responsible for many regulating functions in the body, so replenishing lost stores should help you feel normal sooner.
5. Coffee – While it’s just as much of a diuretic as alcohol is, it causes blood vessels to contract, which is what will help with that throbbing head.
Feel like performing a little experiment on your own this weekend? Seek some Asian pears out and get juicin’ before boozin’! Let me know how “pear-able” the morning-after turns out!