It is the time of the season when the spirits flow freely, and with that come splitting hangovers. Every country has its own cures, and here are some of the ways people around the world deal with the aftereffects of a night of heavy drinking.
◆ The U.S. and Thailand: Eggs
In the U.S. people recover from hangovers with egg fries and Thais eat fried eggs with pungent sauce. Eggs contain methionine, an essential anomic acid that helps the liver recover damaged cells, and lecithin effective in preventing gastric ulcers. But as fried eggs are high in calories, they burden the stomach.
◆ Japan: Persimmon or Plum Pickles
Japanese eat persimmon or plum pickles as natural hangover treatment. According to studies, vitamins A and C and water-soluble tannin in persimmons speed up the metabolism, while plums include pyruvic acid and picric acid that increase the activity of alcohol dehydrogenase by almost 40 percent. Ripe persimmons, richer in vitamin C and water than sweet persimmons, work better.
◆ Italy: Red Tomato Soup
Italians eat tomato soup with onions and shellfish. Vitamin B and lycopene in tomatoes are good for decomposing alcohol, and taurine in shellfish protects the liver. As cooked tomato paste contains twice more lycopene than fresh tomatoes, it is better to cook them. Tomato juice or tomato salad with olive oil also work.
◆ Germany: Marinated Herring
German drinkers depend on herring marinated with salt and vinegar. Herring, rich in amino acids such as aspartic acid and methionine, is effective in healing damaged liver cells. It also contains a high amount of omega 3 fatty acid, including EPA and DHA, substances found in human cranial nerves. In Korea, people can expect similar effects from half-dried pacific herring, made by drying for three to 10 days using the cold smoking method in winter.
◆ Poland and Russia: Cucumber Juice
For Polish people, the juice of pickled cucumber is drunk to treat hangovers, while Russians drink "rassol" (vegetable brine) made from cabbage and cucumbers. As water makes up 90 percent of a cucumber's weight, cucumbers promote urination, pushing out products from alcohol metabolism. Cucumbers also contain 140 mg of potassium and 11 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. Potassium removes sodium from the body and waste created from alcohol metabolism, while vitamin C helps relieve fatigue after drinking. In Korea, alcohol companies are selling soju made from cucumbers to take advantage of such benefits.