Tis’ the season to be jolly but hungover and groggy too. Fear not – Healthista are here to help with 9 hangover cures to get you through this Christmas
Britons will collectively drink almost six billion units of alcohol between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, drinking 156 units on average over the course of six days.
Who else has had their fair share of hangovers already this month? It may have been after a boozy trip to Winter Wonderland, or post-work Christmas party, or perhaps the Baileys has found it’s way into one too many of your cups of coffee?
However your hangover originated we want to lessen its awful effects or even prevent it next time – here’s hoping. Here is exactly what you can do to help reduce or STOP those awful hangovers. You’re welcome.
BEFORE you hit the booze
Hangover cure #1 Stay hydrated
Boring I know but one thing that most of us overlook is that it can be hugely helpful to have a large glass of water before starting on the alcohol. Try and stay hydrated throughout the day, making sure you are getting your necessary two to three litres.
Another way to improve hydration is to drink water that contains extra electrolyte minerals such as potassium, sodium and magnesium. These minerals are easily lost in sweat (dancing) and urine (constant visits to the toilet on a night out) and are particularly important to have at the right balance before we go out drinking and dancing.
Natural coconut water is ideal for this, as it naturally contains a good balance of the electrolyte minerals. (Try Vita Coco Coconut Water 330ml, pack of 12, £15.77)
Staying hydrated is also easy if you’re a herbal tea fan. Pukka’s new Feel New detox tea is blended with medicinal-grade organic herbs and spices including aniseed, fennel, cardamom and turmeric.
These super-spices are used to stimulate and support the processes within the liver and digestive system to remove harmful substances, otherwise known as toxins – which tend to be more plentiful after a night of partying and alcohol.
The result is an uplifting and refreshing cup of herbal bliss to leave you feeling renewed and at your best after feeling well not your best.
A cup of dandelion tea will also keep you hydrates and acts as a great liver tonic. Try not to add a sweetner, as the slightly bitter taste will help to cleanse the liver. It also helps to reduce any skin redness and puffy eyes – bonus.
Hangover cure #2 Eat a handful of nuts
Instead of reaching for the unhealthy food options because lets face it a lot of us don’t see the point in making healthy choices when we know we certainly wont be making healthier choices later on in the evening.
Make sure that what you eat throughout the day contains protein and ideally some healthy fats. Both protein and healthy fats are broken down more slowly than carbohydrates or sugars and will stay in your stomach for longer – keeping you full.
Aim to eat high protein foods such as meats, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. And healthy fats include olive oil or other good quality seed oils (e.g. flaxseed), avocado, nuts and seeds.
This is why a handful of nuts before you drink is the perfect option. Not only are they a quick and easy food source but also high in both protein and healthy fats.
Plus, if your stomach is empty the alcohol will irritate your stomach lining which leads to the blood vessels swelling and to the alcohol being absorbed faster into the bloodstream. Therefore fatty foods like nuts, cheese or milk act as a physical barrier to the alcohol.
The liver is responsible for processing and breaking down about 95 per cent of the alcohol we consume. So to help your liver to do this try to include foods that promote liver function, both before and the day after drinking.
Protein-rich foods will 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 (a bi-product of alcohol metabolism) breakdown. Cysteine can be found in protein-rich foods such as eggs, onions, garlic, and in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and cabbage.
Hangover cure #3 Have a drink a few days before the big night out
This makes perfect sense. To get yourself ready for the onslaught of alcohol have a drink or two a few days before you plan to drink more than you normally would.
This could be a total myth but it seems likely that the more exposure to alcohol you have or have had, the more the key enzymes that break down alcohol in your liver increase. Therefore, this would help you to metabolise alcohol more efficiently.
DURING your night out…
A lot of us know the ‘how not to get too drunk trick’. Know what I’m talking about? It’s the golden sober rule, for every glass of alcohol you consume, have a glass of water too. This will slow down your alcohol intake, meaning you will be more ‘compos mentis’ throughout the evening.
When arriving home after a night of boozing, there are those of us who immediately run upstairs and face plant our bed. But some of us (the ones less likely to get a hangover) know that there are a few things that need to be done before passing out to avoid waking up to a pounding head.
Hangover cure #4 Down a glass of water ASAP
Alcohol leads to dehydration – that’s a given. Dehydration can be bad news as it almost always results in headaches add that to the nausea and you’ll be in for a rough one.
That is why there is no harm in downing a pint of water before you go to sleep. This will help top up your hydration levels, to lessen or even stop that imminent pounding head.
Hangover cure #5 Take the make-up OFF
This wont just benefit your skin, it will benefit your mind too. Apart from feeling utterly horrendous after a night out, what makes it worse is waking up with a full face of make-up and half of it smeared across your pillow, add some eyelash glue to all that and you just feel grim.
If you make the effort to take off your make-up as best you can (no matter how drunk you are it’s doable) this will mean that you have a few less things to worry about and do when you first wake up in the mornings, which will probably put your mind at ease without you realising.
If you often come home and collapse on your bed before taking any make-up off then this probably isn’t the product for you. But if you do like to continue your normal beauty routine before bed then this product is perfect.
Clarins Booster Detox helps to rid your skin of those unwanted toxins and environmental aggressors, that would be increasingly prevalent after a night out on the town.
This moisturiser is enriched with a natural green coffee extract that will work to detoxify and plump your complexion.
Add 3 to 5 drops into your favourite face cream or mask when you get home to prepare your skin for the morning after.
The day AFTER…
Hangover cure #6 No beer for breakfast – ‘Hair of the dog’ is nonsense
Who out there believes in the expression ‘hair of the dog’? Our very own content editor Sharon Walker sure does, claiming that having a boozy beverage the morning after takes her back to her happy place – who agrees with Sharon?
Well ‘hair of the dog’ may work in the short term but this wacky Norwegian folk expression will in fact lead to further dehydration and worsened hangover symptoms later on in the day.
So don’t have booze for breakfast, it may temporarily take the edge off but you’ll pay for it in the long run.
Hangover cure #7 Hangover? Vitamin C you later…
Having a healthy dose of Vitamin C in your system when recovering from a hangover may help to reduce the severity of hangovers by speeding up the metabolism of alcohol by the liver.
Alcohol does a pretty good job of zapping the body’s store of minerals including Vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for energy production, immune function and as an antioxidant to neutralise free radicals.
To quickly up your Vitamin C stores the day after drinking try Biocare’s Vitamin C Powder £30.60.
Hangover cure #8 The miracle that is Milk Thistle
Perhaps the best-known and most traditional remedy for hangovers and often promoted for its liver-protecting effects. Milk thistle has been proven to protect the liver cells from damage, including damage that resulted from alcohol.
Milk thistle extract contains a high amount of silymarin (between 65–80%) that has been concentrated from the milk thistle plant. The silymarin extracted from milk thistle is known to have antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies have shown improvements in liver function in people who have taken a milk thistle supplement, suggesting it could help reduce liver inflammation and liver damage.
Nutriadvanced Milk Thistle Complex, £10.94 (60 capsules)
The liver works hard, constantly, to process the toxins we produce and are bombarded with such as too many alcoholic beverages.
Each capsule contains 100mg of milk thistle extract, providing 80mg of silymarin. The extract is equivalent to 3800mg of milk thistle seeds, making one capsule enough to help cure your horrid hangover.
Hangover cure #9 Crack an egg or two for your breakfast
The hungover munchies or ‘hunchies’ – can ruin a whole week of healthy eating in a matter of hours (or minutes if you inhale a pizza as quickly as I sometimes do).
When the morning after the night before beckons, people either can’t look at food at all or want to consume everything they set their hungry eyes on.
It turns out that craving a fry up may not be such a bad thing – unless you’re one of those people who has chips with their fry ups – I will never understand that.
So, it turns out eggs could be the antidote and answer to your hungover prayers. Not only are eggs a quick and easy option for breakfast when you are severly lacking energy for anything other than an easy to watch series on Netflix.
Along with the other many nutrients found in eggs, one of their key benefits is that they contain hangover-busting cysteine and taurine (amino-acids).
Taurine boosts liver function and can help prevent against liver disease with studies suggesting that taurine treatment seems to be a useful agent for related liver diseases.
Cysteine is an amino acid that helps to break down acetaldehyde (a bi-product of alcohol metabolism) that is responsible for the debilitating and down right dreadful symptoms of a hangover, including headaches, fatigue and nausea. Just think of it as the headache-causing chemical that you want to squash ASAP.
In a study on rats, none of the cysteine-treated animals succumbed to the lethal dose of acetaldehyde, aka the rats that had cysteine in their system didn’t die from a hangover. So if you want to feel alive and well and not hungover and sorry for yourself, make an omelette pronto.
Eggs are full of nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin B1, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, selenium and zinc. They are also a complete protein meaning they’ll keep you feeling fuller for longer, saving you from those dreaded ‘hungover munchies’.
So make sure you have a fridge stocked full of eggs waiting for you in your hungover state. Oh, and the products below can help too.
Other products that will help your hangover:
If you are the hungover type who has literally ZERO energy when you wake up then this zingy and refreshing drink is exactly what you might need.
With a flavour combo of ginger, orange and lime, one bottle of Overhang will provide you with 50 per cent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
Overhang also contains milk thistle, burdock root, raspberry leaf and vitamins B3, B5 and B6.
At only 58 calories a bottle, this drink may just be what you need give you that ‘va va voom’ and get you up and about the day after a heaving drinking session.
Available to buy from Tesco, ASDA, BP M&S, Holland & Barrett, WHSmith, Morrisons and on Amazon from £1.20 a bottle.
According to Professor Glenn Gibson, leading gut expert and Professor of Food Microbiology at the University of Reading, ‘Alcohol can disrupt digestion and lead to discomfort. Preparing the gut is important, particularly before the festive season and boosting the beneficial bacteria with a simple daily prebiotic like Bimuno can make a difference by restoring gut balance in just a few days. The bacteria aid digestion and help the gut function better’.
So plan in advance, if you know your Christmas party is coming up, start taking Bimuno Daily two weeks before the big day.
Bimuno is a daily food supplement that can be added to any tea, herbal tea or coffee as it is completely flavour-free.
Simply open a sachet, pour the powder into the drink or cereal and stir until dissolved. Take one sachet per day (3.65g).
This Bumblezest ‘shot’ drink is said to help cleanse and detox your system (and possible even your soul) after an overindulgent evening.
These drinks can be taken as a health shot on the go, or mix deliciously with sparkling water, coconut water, almond milk or rice milk.
Available to buy from Whole Foods, Planet Organic, and bumblezest.co.uk.
Activated charcoal works by trapping toxins and chemicals in the gut like alcohol, preventing their absorption.
The charcoal’s porous texture has a negative electrical charge, which causes it to attract positively charged molecules, such as toxins and gases. This helps it trap toxins and chemicals in the gut.
This ultimate party season tonic may cost you a pretty penny but promises to be the ultimate hangover cure, tackling nausea, heartburn, aches and pains.
The IV Doc deliver bespoke vitamin-infused drips to your door, offering fast and effective relief from all forms of hangover awfulness such as the pounding head, nausea and fatigue all from the comfort of your own home.
The IV Doc will tailor your treatment to your personal needs and symptoms to deliver the ultimate hydration to optimise health and wellness.
Working from the inside out, the IV Doc quickly dehydrates your body and replenishes essential minerals and electrolytes. It also improves blood supply to vital organs and helps to purify your body from daily chemicals and toxins. These IV treatments are said to work fast to banish fatigue and hangover symptoms.
Already a huge success in the US, the IV Doc is now available in Central and Greater London. The service is discreet and delivered to your home, hotel or office and takes around an hour to complete.