The drinking, eating and general merriment of the festive season can take their toll, resulting in headaches, nausea, bloating and indigestion. Sadly a miracle hangover cure doesn’t exist, but there are a few things you can do to help you through the worst of it. So if you’ve managed to book a babysitter so you can go out and enjoy the biggest party night of the year, our handy guide could help you to cope with the kids in the morning…
Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach, make sure you have something that will at least keep you going for a while, something speedy and simple like scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast will give you a good mix of protein and complex carbohydrates and should stave off hunger for a while so you can avoid any fatty, salty bar snacks.
Make sure you’re hydrated! Drink plenty of water during the day and avoid too much caffeine which can act as a diuretic and make you lose water before you even start on the alcohol. Add a squeeze of lemon to your water too, this may help to improve your liver function and help to remove toxins.
Obviously, the less alcohol you drink, the better you should in theory feel the next day. So swap the strong continental lager for one around 4% alcohol, or swap to a shandy for a while (you don’t need to tell anyone). If you’re drinking wine, add a splash of water either still or sparkling. Always order single spirits or have them with a long mixer – if you ask for less or no ice, you’ll generally consume more liquid. Fruit juice will give you some added vitamins especially compared to traditional fizzy mixers.
Try and grab a glass of water or a soft drink between alcoholic drinks.
Avoiding drinking darker spirits as they contain more congeners (organic chemical compounds which are toxic in large quantities) and switch to light or clear spirits like vodka or white rum. White wine generally has much lower levels of tannins (also a congener) compared to red.
Try and have something light to eat when you get home, even if it’s just toast or a banana. Or make a sandwich before you go out and leave it in the fridge. Try and avoid the pizza shop, as going to bed on a belly full of food and booze is likely to cause you indigestion and hinder your sleep.
Drink a few glasses of water before bed.
The next day…
As much as you may not feel like eating, it’s important to get your blood sugar back on track, so if you think your stomach can handle a glass of orange juice, have one, although it can be a bit acidic, so a cup of green tea sweetened with some honey or agave nectar could work. Add a few slices of fresh root ginger too, it can help with any waves of nausea you may be having.
While a fry-up is often lauded as the best hangover cure, the combination of lots of fat, lots of salt (from bacon, sausages and butter) and lots of meat which can be difficult to digest may not be the best idea. A few elements of the big brekkie however can work wonders, especially eggs and tomatoes. Cook up some scrambled eggs and serve with some grilled or fried tomatoes, add a slice or two of wholemeal toast and you should be able to get back on track. Eggs contain the amino acid cysteine, which helps to counteract the effects of acetylaldehyde (the hangover causing chemical produced from alcohol metabolism), tomatoes are rich in vitamin C which can help speed up the metabolism of alcohol by the liver and the toast will help to slowly restore your blood sugar levels.
If you think you can handle some noise, whizz up a ripe banana with a few teaspoons of honey, some natural yogurt, a splash of milk and a few ice cubes. Potassium in the banana will help restore your bodies levels and honey is high in fructose which helps to metabolise alcohol. If you’re not a banana fan, look out for persimmon or Sharon fruit in the supermarket, these orange coloured fruit also contain potassium, but pack in some vitamin c and can also lower the density of alcohol in the blood.
Keep drinking fluids throughout the day, too. Coconut water will help to restore your electrolytes and help rehydrate you quickly while the kids will hopefully keep themselves busy with this year’s new toys and games until Daddy feels human again.
Updated: Dec 2017