Never, ever again…

I could be very boring and tell you that the only way to make sure you don't have a hangover is not to drink.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Never, ever again…

But I'm guessing you know that already. Thing is, we need to let our hair down and indulge a little now and again and you know what? We deserve it. And if you have kids you really deserve it.

The problems start, of course, when you wake up not knowing how you got home, why your shoes are in the oven and wondering why you can see the Eiffel Tower out of the window. Ho hum.

So why does alcohol do this to us?

It's basically down to a combination of things. From dehydration to hypoglycaemia to the side effects of consuming the toxin that is alcohol to the withdrawal symptoms from it. Working together like an evil boy band, they give you headaches, upset tummy, nausea, aching limbs and a surreal degree of regret. Much like most boy bands, come to think of it.

In Puerto Rico drinkers rub a slice of lemon in the pit of their drinking arm to prevent dehydration. In Ireland legend has it that to cure a hangover you have to get buried up to your neck in wet river sand. In South Africa locals swear by eating sheep's brain as the best hangover cure. I think I'd rather have the hangover.

So here are some tips to make the morning after the night before as pain-free as possible. Read, memorise, then have a drink.

  • Make sure you eat before you drink. Eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and have a few snacks in between too. Drinking on an empty stomach is a sure way of doing yourself some damage. Also eating a high protein dinner slows down the absorption of ethanol, so go for the carbs.
  • Try to alternate your alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones to lessen the amount of booze you consume (even two or three waters will help).
  • Know your body and drink what you know works for you in terms of type of alcohol and volume.
  • Don't mix your drinks (that's what barmen are for).

If all this fails and you still end up with a sore head, then there are some classic remedies out there. Let's just hope you don't need to try them all by the end of January!

  1. Hair of the Dog
    A Bloody Mary will make you feel a bit better and they sound the sort of thing Bond would enjoy, but drinking more is not really what your body needs. Alcohol is a toxin and your body needs to break it down and remove it from your system, so try a Virgin Mary instead. The tomato juice helps the liver purge alcohol from your system while the chilli helps to revive your taste buds. The Prairie Oyster is the American alternative featuring Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, pepper and a whole raw egg. Hmmm... maybe not.

    Bloody Mary blog
  2. Eat
    Your blood sugar will probably be fairly low so you will need to eat. Keep breakfast/brunch light so you can digest it easily, something like toast is perfect (my Indian eggs work wonders here). If you are craving for something more substantial, a healthy Kedgeree is amazing.

  3. Honey
    I've yet to try this one (that's not to say I won't have the opportunity) but apparently all you need is a spoonful of honey to get you back on track in the morning. Sounds too good to be true but I'll give it a go if you will

  4. Berocca
    These effervescent orange tablets give your body a high dose of vitamin B, magnesium and zinc all of which have been depleted by alcohol. They are marketed as an 'energy support supplement' but apparently, as far as hangover cures go, these rock.

  5. Pain Killers
    I've heard all kinds of fascinating ways of curing that hangover head from taking a couple of paracetamol before you even go out and then just before you go to bed. If this works for you, fine, but do make sure you're not taking any other medication. And taking pills all the time is not the best idea.

  6. Hangover Tablets
    Avoid them. There is no evidence that they do anything at all.

  7. Black Coffee
    Caffeine constricts the blood vessels and increases blood pressure so that's a no-no. But if you're a serious coffee drinker then have a couple as you don't need a coffee withdrawal headache as well as the hangover.

  8. Rehydrate, rehydrate, rehydrate
    Whether it's juice, water or sports drinks they will all make you feel better. Water will rehydrate but juice and sports drinks will also replenish sugar and carbs, and their electrolytes will help to restore your body back to normal. As an interesting alternative, try chilled coconut water. It's packed with electrolytes too but it's lower in sugar, contains no fat and will be less irritating on your stomach.

  9. Sleep it off
    Your body is great at healing itself, it just needs time and rest. So if you are one of the lucky ones that can have a lay-in, then do just that.

  10. Exercise
    Going for a run or a workout can really help. It will get the blood pumping and clear your head, but it can be dangerous to exercise when you're dehydrated so drink lots of water and take it easy. A really good, brisk walk by the sea does wonders too and it's a lot less thumpy.

Have fun whatever you do, enjoy your drinks but do remember to have the odd non-alcoholic one throughout the night, together with a few nibbles, and you'll feel a whole lot better in the morning.

Happy New Year guys!

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