‘Tis the season for parties, prosecco and pounding hangovers. Had one too many last night and paying for it now?
Too much alcohol can lead to dehydration, your blood sugar levels falling and your blood vessels expanding, resulting in a throbbing headache and nausea. Add in stomach irritation and inflammation and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Follow these guidelines to ensure you recover from your hangover as quickly as possible:
1. Avoid the classic, greasy fry-up
Although we think that having a fry up helps to ‘soak up the alcohol’ actually what we’re doing is creating more work for our poor liver to process high fatty foods and large amounts of sugar when it is already overloaded. It can also irritate the stomach further.
Eating is of course important but opting for a healthier choice is something your body will thank you for.
- A hot porridge breakfast. The oats will help keep your energy levels up while being rich in B vitamins to nourish your nervous system. Accompany with a peppermint tea to help settle your stomach and you're onto a winner! - Green smoothie. It will help you re-hydrate and boost the body's nutrient reserves to cope with the toxic alcohol overload. Celery, cucumber, leafy greens, spinach, apple are all great options. - Beans on toast. Yes! Beans are a great source of fibre and folic acid, as well as protein to aid the body’s recovery. Just go for a reduced salt and sugar variety and choose wholemeal or rye for your toast. If you're up to making your own healthy beans on toast then extra brownie points for you! Add in some mushrooms too as mushrooms are a great source of selenium and B vitamins to help your liver's detoxification processes.
Every hangover needs water.
Ideally, for every alcoholic drink you have you should also have a glass of water too. That's hard to remember after you've had a few drinks so try and remember to have a glass of water as soon as you get home and another when you wake up in the morning to help re-hydrate. If the thought of plain water is too much to stomach then try coconut water.
Coconut water is low in carbohydrates and high in the minerals and electrolytes potassium and magnesium, which help to balance cell and body fluids.
I'm talking Vitamins A,C, E and minerals zinc and selenium here.
In terms of food, this means brightly coloured vegetables, nuts and seeds which help mop up naturally created harmful molecules that can cause damage to your health.
Antioxidants also support the liver’s detoxification pathways, which in turn, help your metabolism clear that pesky alcohol from the system. You may be longing for a sugary fix but try not to indulge yourself as this will only upset your blood sugar levels and send your energy levels haywire all day. Instead, satisfy your sugar fix naturally but choosing fresh fruit - these will give you an energy boost with the added bonus of being high in vitamins and minerals.
4. Avoid Coffee
It may be the first thing you want when you wake up but try and resist! Coffee not only dehydrates you further, it also needs to be processed by the liver, which is busy getting rid of the alcohol in your system.
This obviously puts extra burden on your liver and could in turn make you feel even worse. A ginger tea with some freshly squeezed lemon may sound less enticing but it'll make you feel a lot better than an Americano!
Carbohydrates are the one thing everyone seems to crave on a hangover. Our liver is the second largest organ in our body, with a lot of energy needed to power it up and carbs are our body's go-to source for energy.
It's okay to give in to your cravings - just try opting for hearty wholemeal versions of bread and rice.