Planning to knock back a few as you ring in the new year? Of course you are! The problem, of course, is the morning after. Looking for that ever-elusive cure for the dreaded hangover? Hair of the dog notwithstanding, this year you may be able to eat your way out of feeling like death warmed up. The secret weapon is right there in your crisper: asparagus.
Yep, apparently the stalky greens contain amino acids and minerals that protect the liver against boozy toxins, says a 2009 study published in the Journal of Food Science.
According to an article in Science Daily, researchers at the Korean Institute of Medical Science and Jeju National University analyzed the biochemical effect of asparagus on both human and rat liver cells. Though the amino acids and mineral content are found in higher concentration in the leaves and shoots, asparagus does counter the effects of a big night.
Better known to you and me as a yummy summer veggie, asparagus officinalis has long been considered a herbal wonder for its "cancer-fighting, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties."
With any luck you will be able to buy the extract in health food stores, you could purchase this little doohicky. Then again, you could just pop an aspirin.
If you do try out this homemade remedy, do report back and let us know if you think it made a jot of a difference.
As you gear up for Boxing Day sales this season, you may be sorely tempted to consider a shopping expedition south of the border. While the Canadian dollar has been virtually on par with that of the American buck for years now, turns out we Canucks are still paying more—for pretty much everything.
An article in the Huffington Post questions why the price discrepancy continues, especially for items like e-books, which it found to be at least 10 per cent higher on Amazon's Canadian Kindle store than on the U.S. equivalent. The Huff Post uses Yann Martel’s Life of Pi as an example. The Canadian author's bestselling novel is just $4.99 in the States, but $13.99 here in Canada. So much for parity!
As the article points out, there is little justification for the inflated price tags, especially where there is no physical product (no shipping costs or import tariffs) concerned. Apparently publishers are to blame for the disparity, as they set cover prices, and even retail habits die hard.
“It’s ingrained in everybody’s head that things are always more expensive in Canada,” said president of the Canadian Booksellers Association Mark Lefebvre, even when there is no apparent justification.
Other retail experts suggest that the U.S. is more aggressive about sales and will drop prices the moment competition appears.
Still, it sucks, doesn't it? Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced to the Senate that its citizens are “rightly annoyed and perplexed” at the fact that we are still paying more, despite our strong currency.
Want to instigate change this season? Let your loonie do the talking. Experts suggest skipping the border and buying a book from an indie Canadian publisher instead.
If the Christmas season truly is all about charity, then those with a real tree can consider themselves extra generous. An article in Science Daily has found that along with that wonderful coniferous smell, those pines and spruces are bringing in uninvited house guests... Researchers at University Museum of Bergen estimate that 25,000 "insects, mites, and spiders are sound asleep inside the tree."
Among critters living dormant inside a tree are springtails, bark lice, mites, moths and the odd spider, according to insect expert, UMB Associate Professor Bjarte Jordal.
"If you pound the tree on a white cloth before you throw it out after Christmas, you will discover quite a number of small bugs," says Jordal. Although the bugs are technically hibernating within the tree, they are said to 'liven' up when brought into the warmth of your home.
"It’s all down to stimulus. Upon feeling the heat and awakened by the light, they believe that springtime has arrived and spring back to life."
Apparently there are fewer creepies contained within a farmed tree than one felled in, say, your backyard. And certain types of trees, such as the Norwegian Pine, contain more bugs than other varieties.
But before you get too paranoid, Jordal believes the bugs tend to stay put within the tree, where they feed, although a substantial number of mites may contribute to allergic reactions in susceptible persons.
Concerned about tics? Apparently that's possible, too, though the odds are minimal. Just don't let your dog lay under the tree...
Got the heebie jeebies yet? Sorry eco-warriors, but this is one reason I'm grateful I went artificial. My goodwill doesn't extend to arachnids.