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- Healthy Alcohol Consumption
The Ultimate Hangover Cure
You know the feeling:- you wake up with your head throbbing, eyes aching and tongue sticking to the roof of your mouth- you have a hangover!
Having suffered a few hangovers over the years, I have fine tuned the way to feel better the next day and this is the result!
There are various traditional cures:-
-Pint of water before bed and 2 painkillers (if you remember!)
-Hair of the dog (makes you feel better temporarily but not really recommended)
-Full cooked, greasy breakfast (works briefly)
Having tried various methods myself I have devised a plan which will minimise the symptoms and help you feel a lot better.
1. Preparation- if you know you will be drinking a lot, have a healthy balanced meal, make sure you are hydrated and take some Milk Thistle (this supplement is thought to support liver function and is available from Amazon).
2. While you are drinking, try to have some water alongside the alcohol or alternate alcoholic with soft drinks.
3. Before bed, drink as much water as you can and have something light to eat like toast.
4. If you still wake up with the mother of all hangovers, then the next section contains the recovery action plan!
The Hangover Cure
Stay in bed for as long as you can and sleep- alcohol disrupts the sleep pattern so you need to sleep for longer. When you wake up, have a cup of warm/hot water with half a lemon squeezed in and honey to taste, this will kick start your body to start dealing with the alcohol toxins.
Next, have a smoothie made with the following: 1 banana, a handful of blueberries, a handful of spinach leaves, orange juice and milk. This should give you the energy you need to go for a run, if you really can’t face a run then just get outside for a brisk walk, but you ideally need to break into a sweat.
Take a nice warm shower and then turn the temperature down to cold for a minute, it’s a shock but it will make you feel better! Make sure you get your head under (if nothing else it makes your hair nice and shiny!).
Now you need something to eat, this should be a healthy balanced meal to give your body what it needs to recover, here are some options:-
- Grilled bacon, scrambled/poached eggs, wholemeal toast, grilled mushrooms and tomatoes.
- Beans on wholemeal toast and orange juice.
- Yogurt, granola and fresh berries.
Try to keep drinking water throughout the day, alternatives are weak tea or if you feel really sick and can’t stomach anything, then try warm sprite (the slight fizz settles your stomach and your body needs some sugar).
Get an early night, sleep well and wake feeling refreshed and with no hangover!
The Science bit (in case you want to know how and why it works)
Alcohol is a toxin which is metabolised by the liver, breaking it down into acetaldehyde (which damages vitamins) and ultimately carbon dioxide and water. The rate at which it is metabolised is much slower than the absorption rate which is why you should try to have alcohol with food, especially fatty foods which slow down the transit through the body, helping the liver process.
Alcohol is also a diuretic which means you get rid of water more quickly (go to the loo a lot!) leaving you dehydrated. Alleviating a hangover means trying to reverse these symptoms, ie rehydrate the body and provide depleted vitamins.
It has been shown that fructose (found in fruit and fruit juices) helps the body to remove alcohol more quickly from the body and also provides vitamin C. Interestingly, some studies recently have shown milk to be better at rehydrating the body than water, so having a smoothie containing milk (for rehydration) and fruit/fruit juice (for fructose) is a great way to start repairing the body.
Exercise, in particular running, helps your body in two ways. Firstly, your heart rate increases pumping blood faster around the body and increasing the blood flow and oxygen supply to the liver, secondly the rebound up and down motion of running stimulates the lymphatic system which helps eliminate toxins from the liver.