Party season is nearly upon us, and with a lot of celebrating comes a lot of drinking cue hangover central!
It wouldn’t be Christmas for many of us without the office party; catching up with every single friend and family member, mulled wine at festive markets, Bucks Fizz with your Christmas breakfast and maybe even a baileys night cap!
Our experts have provided their top tips to help you relieve those dreaded hangover symptoms, helping you to carry on in the festive spirits!
Replenish your micronutrients for a lesser hangover
“The diuretic effects of alcohol can increase loss of vitamins and minerals. In terms of vitamins, the water-soluble B vitamins and vitamin C may be particularly affected, as they are poorly stored in the body. These vitamins have vital roles in energy metabolism, as well as detoxification, so reduced levels could contribute to low energy and build-up of toxins. Minerals may also be easily depleted, such as magnesium that is necessary for energy production, and manganese, selenium and zinc that help to protect our cells from free radical damage,” explains Nutritionist and Fitness Instructor Cassandra Barns.
Top Tip: For a multivitamin and mineral food supplement, containing vitamin C and the B vitamins, try the new sense* for Busy Lives Wholefood Supplement Capsules (RRP £14.99, www.boots.com). These capsules contain doses of zinc, selenium, copper and manganese – all of which may be easily depleted by alcohol intake. If you are using the tablets, take one before drinking with food, and one more with breakfast the day after.
Drinking enough water helps with a hangover
“This may be obvious, but it is still often ignored by most drinkers. 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 easily lost in sweat and urine and that are particularly important to have in the right balance in our cells and blood. Natural coconut water is ideal for this, as it naturally contains a good balance of the electrolyte minerals,” explains Cassandra.
Eat something before drinking alcohol
Cassandra adds, “Make sure that you eat a meal – or at least a substantial snack – before drinking as it helps to lessen irritation of the stomach lining that can lead to nausea and vomiting, and slows the absorption of the alcohol, reducing its impact on your blood sugar and your liver. Make sure that what you eat contains protein and ideally some healthy fats, as these are broken down more slowly than carbohydrates or sugars and stay in the stomach for longer. Good protein foods are meats, fish, eggs, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds. Healthy fats can include olive oil or other good quality seed oils (e.g. flaxseed), avocado, nuts and seeds. It can also be helpful to take a few capsules of fish oil or omega-3 oil before drinking to help coat the stomach and replenish levels of fatty acids that may be depleted later through alcohol consumption thus helping to ease a hangover.”
Top Tip: To help line your stomach try a high strength supplement such as NHP’s Omega 3 Support (29.77, www.naturalhealthpractice.com).
Help detoxify your liver and avoid an even more unpleasant hangover
“The liver is responsible for processing and breaking down about 95% of the alcohol we consume. So to help your liver do this – and to get rid of chemicals such as acetaldehyde – try to include foods that promote healthy liver function, both before and the day after drinking. Protein-rich foods are one of the food groups in this category, as proteins break down into amino acids that are used by the liver for detoxification. Particularly important is the amino acid cysteine, which has a specific role in acetaldehyde breakdown: as well as in protein-rich foods it can be found in ‘cruciferous’ vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and cabbage,”
Top Tip: itsu are launching for a limited time this New Year, ‘losing your vegan’ity’ (£4.99, www.itsu.com). This low calorie meal is packed with protein rich tofu and ‘cruciferous’ vegetables, helping you give your liver the detox it may be yearning for.
Suffer with type 2 diabetes? Know your limits
“When you have diabetes, drinking alcohol can cause your blood glucose levels to either rise or fall, depending on how much you have eaten, how much alcohol you consume, how quickly, and the amount of carbohydrate present in the drink or mixer. For example, beer and sweet wine can cause blood glucose levels to rise. Alcohol also, stimulates your appetite so you are more likely to over eat, affects your judgment and will power so you are less likely to make healthy food choices, provides ‘empty’ calories that are readily converted into fat in the body and contributes to fatty changes in the liver and pancreas, which are associated with insulin resistance,” explains Dr. Sarah Brewer, working in association with CuraLin Diabetes supplement (www.curalife.co).
Top Tip: “If you have diabetes, your doctor may suggest that you only drink one or two units of alcohol per day. Also that you only drink alcohol when your blood glucose levels are well controlled and that you avoid sugary drinks and mixers,” advises Dr. Brewer. As well as making healthier choices we can look to herbs and plant extracts to support balanced blood sugar levels too. CuraLin (£59, www.curalife.co) is a specially formulated dietary supplement containing ten herbs and plant extracts traditionally used to support insulin sensitivity, helping to keep blood glucose levels under control – so you have one less thing to worry about!