That extra glass of wine may seem like a great idea at the time, yet when the morning after comes around, you often feel a whole new wave of regret. In fact, a new study has found that almost 1 in 10 people in Britain say they go to work at least twice a week suffering from a hangover after drinking too much the night before! Hangovers are bad enough, let alone having to survive a full-day at work with a pounding head and the dreaded wave of nausea. Those 8 hours can seem twice as long!
As the festive season approaches, this trend looks set to continue, but luckily there are steps you can take to help reduce some of the negative effects of alcohol on the body.
Have something to eat
Try to have something to eat before you head to bed. Before you ask, this does not mean grabbing a kebab on the way home! Opt for something nourishing to eat before going to sleep, as it will help give you the nutrition that your body needs to detoxify. Nutritionist Cassandra Barns suggests, “Stay away from foods that contain high levels of unhealthy fats. This includes fried foods and processed foods. The liver has to work extra hard to process these types of fats, when it is already under strain dealing with the alcohol and its breakdown products. Unhealthy fats can also worsen any inflammation in the body, which could contribute to hangover symptoms.”
Lend your liver a hand
These festive months see your calendar fill up with social events that tend to increase your drinking habits! So, it may be wise to start taking a liver-supporting supplement. Cassandra explains, “The herb, milk thistle is perhaps the best-known and most traditional remedy for this purpose – it has been found to protect the liver cells from damage, including that resulting from alcohol, and can help reduce inflammation in the liver."
Pass the water, please
It may seem like an obvious one, but water is one of the most important tools to combat your hangover. Cassandra explains, “It can be helpful to have a large glass of water before starting on the alcohol, a glass between each alcoholic drink, and at least one large glass before going to bed. To improve your hydration, it is ideal to drink water that contains extra electrolyte minerals such as potassium, sodium and magnesium – the minerals that are particularly important to have in our cells and blood. Natural coconut water is ideal for this, as it naturally contains a good balance of the electrolyte minerals. Avoid sports drinks because although they do contain these minerals, they are also high in sugar. Keep drinking water (or coconut water) the next day to re-hydrate.”
Say no to sugar and spice
“Before, during and after drinking it’s best to avoid sugary foods and drinks, as alcohol consumption tends to play havoc with energy and blood sugar control. It’s better to focus on protein and unrefined carbohydrates, which release glucose slowly. Say no to caffeine and spicy foods that can not only worsen the dehydration, but also irritate your stomach,” explains Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading Nutritionist, author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar(www.marilynglenville.com).
Get supplement savvy
“Have a good multivitamin on hand to take the morning after. Drinking alcohol can not only reduce our absorption of nutrients from food, but may cause certain nutrients to be lost, or used up faster, during and after a drinking session. A multivitamin can help to replace those nutrients your body needs and support detoxification of any remaining alcohol in your system, to help you feel better, faster.,” suggests Cassandra.
Downward dog over hair of the dog
It may be the last thing you feel like doing, but the movements and breathing techniques from Pilates can help to increase blood flow throughout your body. The sweating will also help to eliminate the toxins, but ensure you’re also keeping up your water intake in order to avoid dehydration! Focused breathing is an important aspect of Pilates and can help with any nausea you may be feeling, whilst also being a great way to take your mind off your hangover!