Top 5 ways to cure a hangover
Have you ever uttered those words...
Have you ever uttered those words 'I'm never drinking again'? Only knowing too well that the awful pain in your gut and the thumper of a headache that bangs away relentlessly, will disappear tomorrow, and you will probably do the whole thing again the following weekend, or festive party. Yes, it's that time of year again, where an 'excess' of food and drink is the accepted normality. Did you know that the average Christmas dinner is 3500 calories without the booze! Hence I would like to recommend a few ways to minimise some of the discomforts:
1) Hydration, hydration, hydration
As you probably know alcohol is extremely dehydrating and toxic to the liver, therefore hangovers happen when our overburdened livers struggle to get rid of the excess chemicals and toxins. This then creates a toxic internal environment which damages your organs. By drinking plenty of water or herbal teas (over 2 litres, 3 if you can) the day of your expected alcohol overindulgence, will minimise that hangover.
2) Preload your system
Eating a well balanced meal before you go out is essential. Ensure your plate is filled with half with vegetables, a quarter protein (meat, fish or beans), and a quarter with complex carbohydrate. Eating complex carbohydrates instead of simple (bad) carbs will ensure that you don't spike your blood sugar levels along with your hormones. Simple carbs such as white bread, pasta and potatoes can cause you to crave more sweet things and 'bad' carbs. Eating brown rice or legume pasta, brown bread and brown rice will ensure that the body digests them slowly, getting the nutrients the body needs and keeping you fuller for longer. When the stomach is full, alcohol tends to metabolise slower and doesn't reach the brain as quickly as it would on an empty stomach, making you feel less drunk and less dehydrated.
The body requires nutrients to metabolise alcohol. The bloodstream is called upon to replenish these nutrients when the liver uses up and decreases its supply. As a result, normal body functions suffer, and body cells are deprived of critical nutrients. In particular Vitamin B12, B6 and Vitamin C are particularly sensitive and can be depleted. B vitamins work in synergy therefore, if you take a Vitamin B complex a day or two before, this will help to stop some of those deficiencies. One of the first signs that you are Vitamin B12 deficient is depression. Vitamin B6 deficiencies can disrupt the formation of neurotransmitters, also causing depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia/sleep disorders, Premenstrual tension, migraines, ADHD and restless leg syndrome.
4) Eat yourself happy
Alcohol is a known depressant and you may be feeling low the next day and in need of a pick me up. When you are feeling rotten, hungry, with our stomachs extended from all the excess fluid, the first thing you tend to go for is unhealthy junk food. This is probably due to ease at hand (can't be bothered to cook) or that we crave filling carbohydrates. Eating foods that are bad for us can increase endorphins but the pattern of extreme sugar lows and highs In the long term can interfere with particular brain chemicals that can affect our mood in a negative way. Eating good fat will not only fill you up more substantially but stop you from heading on that roller coaster blood sugar ride. Good fats such as essential fatty acids (EFA's) can increase seratonin and dopamine (the good feelings in the brain). You can find these EFA's in oily fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, herrings and mackerel. You can also find them in avocados, eggs, beans, lentils and quinoa. Likewise, chilli is known to increase seratonin too. An avocado smoothie or a smoked salmon omelette would make an ideal breakfast!
5) Go for a run
I know, I know, you may not feel like it, but it will release endorphins, combined with fresh air, could boost your mood. Sweating it out could also help your body to rid it self of the toxins you poured into yourself the night before. Failing that, if you can't face it, just get out and plunge yourself into nature. Take a walk in the fresh air, along a blustery beach or woodland pass and you will soon be feeling better.
My advice as a nutritional therapist would be limit yourself carefully and just have 2 or 3 glasses during the evening. My advice as a ex party girl would be, try drinking a glass of water for every other drink during your night out to avoid a hangover all together. Enjoy the festive season!