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Seasonal Survival Guide
A hangover is a combination of dehydration and the direct toxic effects of alcohol on our liver, brain, muscles, stomach and other organs. I’m sure the misery of overindulgence has led more than a few of you to utter the words “I’m never drinking again,” the morning after the night before. But we do, and the festive season is more likely to tempt us into excesses than any other time of year.
But don’t worry – for every hangover cure that fails to pick you up, there is bound to be one that works. Here’s our run down of five ways to survive a holiday hangover.
Of course, the best advice to avoid a hangover is not to drink at all – whilst a moderate amount of alcohol intake is evidence-based to improve health, the body simply isn’t designed to deal with excessive amounts of alcohol, and a hangover is there to remind us to be more vigilent. To avoid the worst of the morning after, the key is to begin and end your night with water. And a lot of it. Alcohol dehydrates the body, and consuming at least one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you’ve consumed will help the body recover some of the fluids its lost.
2. Be picky when it comes to what you drink
What you drink will have a big impact on how you feel the morning after. You’ve heard people saying ‘Champagne goes straight to my head’, haven’t you? That’s because carbonated – and sugary – drinks speed the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream. If you’re going for the hard liquor, it’s best to choose the clear ones – vodka, gin etc. Darker coloured alcohol such as brandy and whiskey contain more congeners, and yes, you guessed it, they result in worse hangovers.
3. Natural remedies
Whilst analgesics can help fight pain in the form of a pounding headache, taken in excess and they can aggravate the stomach and worsen liver damage. Natural alternatives put forward to help treat symptoms of hangovers include turmeric to ease headaches, and bananas, mint and ginger to settle an unsettled stomach. Dr Victor Sierpina recommends taking Milk Thistle and vitamin B after a night of excess, too: ‘Milk thistle is a proven botanical to reduce the negative influence of alcohol on the liver. B vitamins are depleted with chronic use of alcohol, which can lead to neurological problems. Take a high potency B complex after drinking.’
4. Binge on brekko
You may not feel like it, but get in the kitchen and whip up some scrambled eggs. Eggs contain two amino acids that go to work to help you feel better: taurine and cysteine. Taurine has been shown in studies to reverse liver damage caused by a night of heavy drinking and to help the body flush out toxins more quickly. Cysteine directly counteracts the effects of acetaldehyde, a nasty by-product of alcohol metabolism that is more toxic than alcohol itself (it causes headaches and chills). But steer clear of the greasy food – it can actually irritate your digestive system and make you feel worse.
5. Hair of the dog
If none of the above works (and you can stomach it), you can always turn to perhaps the oldest rememdy for curing a hangover – “the hair of the dog that bit ya”.
“Paradoxically, a beer, glass of wine, or shot of liquor can help reduce the pain and suffering of a hangover,” says Dr Sierpina.
What about you? What’s your tried and tested hangover cure?
About the Author
Lizzy has more than ten years’ experience in the print and digital publishing arena and is the Editor at Single File. Having moved from the UK to Australia in 2008, Lizzy has worked for a number of leading publishers in Sydney and has particular expertise in the health, wellness and travel markets. If you have any questions for Lizzy, you can send them across by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.