A hangover cure in the form of a spicy Asian soup that is nicknamed “Old Sober” is supposedly an effective remedy for a splitting, booze-induced headache.
Professor Alyson E. Mitchell, a food chemist at the University of California, Davis, presented her natural hangover-cure findings this week at the American Chemical Society Exposition in New Orleans, where the soup — known as Yak-a-mein — is popular menu item (and street food) in that party-hearty city.
GIs stationed overseas reportedly brought the soup home to New Orleans and perhaps other cities, according to Dr. Mitchell:
“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. It may be a good example of intuitive science — an effective remedy, and with the scientific basis revealed only years later.”
The ingredients for this purported hangover-curing soup “include noodles, meats such as beef, chicken or shrimp, onions or chopped scallions, a sliced hard-boiled egg and a spicy and salty broth with soy sauce.” Salt, protein, and other components help booze hounds recover from spending too much time drinking on Bourbon Street and other similar bar-hopping locations. “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.” The body breaks down alcohol into acetyldehyde which can have toxic effects on the body.
Mitchell referred to a hangover as a metabolic storm, which — putting science aside — just by the sound of the term can’t good for your health.
In addition to “Old Sober” a.k.a. Yak-a mein (which has several spelling variations), she recommends drinking in moderation or not at all (of course), eating fatty foods (which slow down absorption of beer, wine, and mixed drinks) before an evening a heavy imbibing, taking vitamin B-1, and avoiding coffee, which can make you even more dehydrated than alcohol, and staying away from darker colored liquors.
[Yak-a-mein image credit: Gary Stevens]