So it is that time of year, when alcohol pours freely and the majority of us that drink; will inevitably at some point peek out from under the duvet the morning after the night before, and grumble some alien-like goble-de-gook sound… You all know the one……
Either way, it just alerts everyone to the fact that you are still alive, only just hanging on by a thread and hanging over like a bugger!
So how can you avoid the hangover????
Firstly, what is a hangover?
Well, our liver needs water to process alcohol, and when you have drank a little too much of the fun juice, the liver has to divert water away from other organs in order to do this. These organs include the brain. And that is where the throbbing headache that is more commonly referred to as “a hangover” comes from.
Meanwhile, alcohol irritates the lining of your stomach, and this is what can cause the nausea and vomiting that some people experience.
Drinking also drains the body of many vitamins & minerals, and can reduce the quality of your sleep. Making you feel lethargic and a little bit tired.
Of course, there is one easy way to avoid a hang-over, and that is not to drink too much in the first place. But if you know you are going to go over board, let’s check out some other options you could try to help minimise the damage.
Line Your Stomach!
Eating a meal or drinking a large glass of milk can line your stomach and slows the amount of alcohol that is absorbed into the blood stream. This will also help your digestive system deal with the alcohol as they will be less acetaldehyde going through the system at any one time.
Acetaldehyde is the toxic chemical that alcohol is converted into within the body, and the main cause of hangovers!
A Glass of Water with Your Drink
When drinking, try and alternate between water & alcohol, not only will this help you control the amount you are drinking, but the speed at which you are drinking it. As the night passes, alcohol doesn’t hydrate you so you become thirsty and therefore start to drink much quicker. Keeping hydrated will also help to keep the Liver processing the alcohol without leeching water from other organs. Once home, make sure you drink at least a pint of water before you go to bed!
Milk thistle is a natural herbal remedy that is believed to boost the livers function. It is thought that is you it before you go out or start drinking, and again the following day, it will help your body process the alcohol quicker. By no stretch should this be thought of as a miracle cure for hangovers, but it may help.
Light is Bright!
The lighter alcohols, such as Vodka and Gin have a lower concentrate of toxic chemicals called congeners, that contribute to hangovers. These chemicals are produced when alcohol ferments, and more are found in red wines and brandy. Gin & Vodka are purified by distillation…. but that doesn’t mean you won’t get a hangover from them.
Caffeine may offer you a quick lift the morning after, but it will dehydrate you and irritate your bowels. This could lead to loose stools and add to the nausea you already feel and your fuzzy head – all in all it can amplify your hangover and make it seem worse.
Ease that Throbbing Head
Some simple painkillers & a glass of water is the usual medicine for the morning after. Paracetamol is the better choice for unsettled tums. If you can stomach it, soluble paracetamol is a great choice as it can enter your bloodstream much faster and helps with water hydration.
Try not to take it with tea or coffee though. A combination of painkiller, caffeine and alcohol left in your system has the potential to damage your liver.
Aspirin & ibuprofen can also increase stomach irritation.
Got the Shakes??
We’ve all been there. If you feel a bit shaky, it is due to a lack of sugar in your blood. Toast with honey is a good cure, and add a banana for an added boost. refuelling your body with potassium, fructose and sodium, which are all lost when drinking.
You could also try a nice glass of fruit juice or a fruit smoothie to lift the blood sugars back up.
Avoid eating anything too sugary, as the drop in sugars that follows could take you back to where you started.
Calm Your Churning Stomach!
As already mentioned, alcohol irritates the digestive system, and this can lead to feeling of nausea and high acidity the following day. Try eating something bland like plain toast or a biscuit. Avoid cereals with milk as this can add to the sickness.
If you are capable of keeping things in, then you could try a popular stomach settler like Alka-seltzer or Rennie.
Drop the Fry Up!
Despite popular belief that a fry up is the cure to the hang over of all hangovers, it actually isn’t! As your body processes the alcohol and your blood sugar levels drop, throwing a fatty, grease-spoon fry up down the hatch will only add to the strain on your digestive system.
BUT…. Scrambled eggs on toast with some baked beans will help! So it’s not all bad news! The beans & bread can help to steady the sugar levels in your blood, whilst the eggs can act as a clean up agent in your liver and mop up all the toxins that have built up there.
Get some Fresh Air!
A long walk in fresh air can help bring you back to the human race, why? Oxygen increases the rate in which toxins from alcohol are broken down within the body!
So, there you have it! I have to say enjoy your evenings out responsibly, but if you do over indulge…. try some of these tips and hopefully you will be back to perfect function sooner rather than later 😉
Merry Christmas Everyone!