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'Yak-a-mein' and Other Scientific Tips on Avoiding Hangovers

Update Date: Apr 09, 2013 02:54 PM EDT

Having a bowl of Yak-a-mein, a beef noodle soup sometimes referred to as "Old Sober", really can cure a hangover, scientists claim.

Researchers presenting at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans said foods like Yak-a-mein, which contain salts, protein and other ingredients, really can help drinkers recover from the effects of alcohol consumption.

"Folklore has it that American soldiers from New Orleans stationed in Korea in the 1950s learned to appreciate Yak-a-mein on the morning after, and brought a taste for it back home," Alyson E. Mitchell, Ph.D., of the University of California at Davis said in a statement.

"It may be a good example of intuitive science - an effective remedy, and with the scientific basis revealed only years later," she added.

Researchers explain that the eggs and broth in Yak-a-mein are what makes the noodle soup so effective in curing a hangover. Eggs contain contain cysteine, which can help remove acetyldehyde from the body, and the broth contains salts that can help replace sodium and potassium and other salts lost in the urine due to the diuretic effect of alcohol.

Mitchell describes hangovers as "metabolic storms" that are caused by high levels of ethanol in the blood and dehydration, which are direct toxic effects of the body's breakdown of alcohol into acetaldehyde and substances called congeners, substances in alcoholic beverages produced during fermentation.

In her presentation, Mitchell offers others tips for avoiding hangovers and other more serious consequences of excessive drinking:

1.     Drink sports drinks.  Like, the broth in Yak-a-mein, sports beverages can help replace sodium and potassium and other salts lost after a night of drinking.

2.     Take your vitamin B.  Vitamin B1 supplements help prevent the buildup of glutarate, a substance previously linked to the headache part of a hangover.

3.     Take your time when drinking.  Researchers explain that the body can metabolize or eliminate about half an ounce of pure alcohol per hour.  Therefore, people who want to avoid hangovers should not consume more than one 12-ounce beer, five ounces of wine, or one ounce of distilled spirits each hour.

4.     Avoid coffee.  Like alcohol, coffee is a diuretic and can worsen the dehydration caused by alcohol itself.

5.     Treat yourself to a fry up before a night out.  Researchers explain that fatty foods can help slow down absorption of alcohol.

6.     Pay attention to the color of your drinks.  Researchers say dark liquors like brandy, tequila, whiskey and red wine are worse than clear liquors, such as vodka and gin, because dark liquors have higher concentrations of hangover-causing congeners.

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