When it comes to drinking, it’s all about damage limitation. Look after your body in the long term and your body will look after your hangover when it looms largely over your day. Even the most self-respecting Belle will admit to a little overindulgence at this time of year, so here are our top tips to hangover-proof your party season!
Pack in the protein!
Before heading out, make sure you eat a meal containing lots of protein (fish, meat, nuts, seeds, eggs, tofu). Protein takes a long time to digest so it helps line the stomach. Also as a preventative measure, take a milk thistle tincture before you party as this helps the liver deal with the toxins that will be introduced to the body. Before bed, have a snack to help balance blood sugar levels – try marmite, hummus or peanut butter on wholegrain toast.
Woken up looking like the bride of Dracula with last night’s make-up smeared all over your face? Let the power of fruit enzymes get your skin glowing in no time! MyChelle‘s festive White Cranberry Cleanser, at £8.50, naturally exfoliates, cleanses and brightens (www.mychelleuk.com). WillowBark and Totarol help bring balance to oily and blemish-prone skin conditions. Pomegranate, a super fruit rich in antioxidants and naturally exfoliating fruit acids, protects against environmental aggressors, while keeping pores clear and skin calm.
Resist the full-fat cola and try a natural nutrient booster instead. In the morning, have a smoothie made of banana, kiwi, flaxseed, cinnamon and spirulina and omega 3. One f the most effective hangover cures, this will ensure a good supply of vitamins and help balance blood sugar levels. Add some Omega 3 to make for the ultimate hangover smoothie. Or try a bottle of
Alcohol destroys your body’s vital energy boosting and nervous system protecting B vitamins. Ensure you keep your B levels topped up the day before a big drinking session with a B complex supplement.
Did you know a glass of chocolate milk could be the perfect pick-me-up on the morning after? According to research, chocolate milk straight from the fridge can help cool and settle an inflamed stomach and rehydrate the body. Plus, the mix of sugars and milk proteins make it ideal for raising energy levels. To reap the best benefits we reach for a Shaken Udder Chocolush milkshake. Low fat and low in sugar Shaken Udder Chocolush is made from British milk and real ingredients and is packed with calcium and immune-boosting Vitamin B12 to help you feel fighting fit after a boozy night. are available in five flavours and from most major supermarkets.
Chuck in some charcoal
Activated charcoal is a natural treatment which works by trapping toxins and chemicals in its millions of tiny pores, allowing them to be flushed out so the body doesn’t reabsorb them. Take an active charcoal tablet such as the Body Perfect Activated Charcoal Capsules from sports nutrition brand, Bio-Synergy (£19.99 from www.bio-synergy.uk) before you head out for a boozy brunch or a night on the town to help put a halt to that hangover. What’s more, these little gems also have other benefits including being a remedy for gas and bloating, and aiding detoxification. When taken before or right after a meal they can absorb gas-producing substances in the stomach – so you can say goodbye Christmas dinner bloating!
Hangovers – separating the fact from the fiction:
1. Can food really help with a hangover or is it a myth?
Hangover symptoms show that the body is suffering from dehydration, mineral loss and low blood sugar, as well as the presence of toxic metabolites of alcohol. We can use food and drinks as hangover cures to prevent or reduce symptoms, because certain nutrients are used for the body’s detoxification processes. We can use food and drink to counteract dehydration and nutrient loss caused by drinking, as well as to support balanced energy levels.
2. What should you eat before you go out and why?
The best foods and drinks to focus on are those which promote liver function. Firstly ensure you have protein (eggs, meat, fish, beans and lentils) because some amino acids facilitate detoxification, particularly of acetaldehyde which is thought to be a cause of unpleasant hangover symptoms. Secondly ensure you have antioxidant-rich fruits, fresh vegetables and leafy greens because they offer protection from free radicals which are considered another cause of hangovers.
Overall, it’s important that you do eat before drinking to slow the absorption of alcohol and additionally reduce the irritation that it causes to the stomach. Include healthy fats such as an olive oil dressing to slow absorption of alcohol, thereby slowing the work for your liver.
3. What should you eat the next day and why?
Start the day with a protein- and nutrient-rich breakfast. Ideally choose eggs, because they are rich in cysteine which is needed to break down acetaldehyde. Try a healthier cooked breakfast of poached eggs, green leafy vegetables, grilled tomatoes and wholegrain bread. Keep your energy up by having plenty of slow release carbohydrates from wholegrains and vegetables.
Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, or even better drink coconut water as it’s naturally rich in electrolytes which helps to better hydrate you – like a sports drink but without artificial sweeteners. You could also have a fruit smoothie. Alcohol consumption results in dehydration which contributes to symptoms such as headache and fatigue, so this is very important.
4. What foods and drinks should you avoid (before and after drinking)?
Before, during and after drinking it’s best to avoid sugary foods and drinks, because alcohol consumption tends to play havoc with energy and blood sugar control. Refined sugars will compound this problem so it’s better to focus on protein and unrefined carbohydrates which release glucose slowly.
After drinking it’s best to avoid caffeine because it could worsen the dehydration. Finally, after drinking the stomach may be irritated so it’s best to avoid very spicy or fatty fried foods. It’s not wise to start drinking alcohol the next day because it prolongs the period of time for which your liver is processing alcohol.
- What are your hangover preventors or cures? We’d love to hear. Join the conversation on our Facebook page or comment below. And here’s to a hangover-free Christmas and New Year. Cheers!