Ah, the dreaded day after the night before. Nausea, headache, dry mouth, dizziness, sweating, fatigue and a general uneasiness bring on that well known declaration “I’m never drinking again”.
Hangover season is upon us, with Christmas parties, New Year’s Eve parties and many long summer days having one (or a few) too many drinks in the sun.
While it always seems like a good idea at the time, excessive alcohol creates a toxic environment and a hangover is our body’s way of letting us know that it is not happy.
It’s easy to say that the solution to a hangover is not drinking, however it’s better to be realistic (especially at this time of year) and know how to best give your body what it needs in order to recover from a night on the town.
It may seem like a good idea to pop some painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to remedy the symptoms of a hangover, however these chemicals can actually cause more damage to your already stressed liver and there are many safer, more effective alternatives.
At the risk of stating the obvious, hydration is vitally important. Alcohol dehydrates us, so before bed knock back a couple of large glasses of water, followed by lots more in the morning.
Coconut water is great because it is full of electrolytes, but if you don’t have this on hand you could add a pinch of pink salt to your water to provide you with some minerals you will have lost. Tomato juice (no, not a Bloody Mary!) is rich in vitamins, minerals and enzymes that can help you metabolise alcohol more quickly.
Soak in the tub
Epsom salt baths help to draw out toxins and replenish the cells with magnesium sulphate. Soak for 20 minutes in 1-2 cups of Epsom salts and wash away the toxic waste from your skin (along with your symptoms) in no time.
Avoid the greasy food
While it is tempting to get stuck in to a greasy burger and fries, in the end this will only make you feel worse!
If you’re after a light snack, bananas and avocado are high in potassium, an important electrolyte that is lost through alcohol consumption. For a more hearty breakfast try eggs or porridge. Eggs are full of important amino acids that help with liver function and oats have plenty of essential nutrients such as B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and iron. Both of these breakfasts will also help to balance your blood sugar levels and the protein means that nausea is managed more effectively.
Ginger is always good to help with the nauseous feeling – try mixing it with some lemon juice in warm water to settle your stomach and get some much needed vitamin C into your system. This will help your liver to recover from the assault it had to endure the night before! Milk thistle is a herb that is particularly well known for its effectiveness in detoxification and regeneration of the liver.
While it’s not something that should be taken on a daily basis, activated charcoal is a fantastic little hangover remedy. It works by absorbing the toxins in your system and flushing them out, helping your body to eliminate them much faster than if left to its own devices.
Electrolytes include the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, chloride, phosphorus and sodium. Alcohol negatively affects our electrolyte balance, so it’s important to restore these as soon as possible to ensure a healthy and quick recovery. There are many electrolyte drinks promoted, however the additives, high levels of sugar and colourings hinder rather than help the healing process. It is much more helpful to get these necessary nutrients through naturally derived food, drink and supplements.
When it comes to alcohol consumption, moderation is always the key. If you are planning a night out though, make sure ‘sober you’ prepares a few of these essentials for a quick recovery. ‘Hungover you’ will thank you for it!