The morning after the night before – the pain, the nausea, the grogginess, the tiredness and then the overwhelming regret you did something embarrassing that just won’t go away.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was some magical pill that ensured we never get a hangover ever again?
You’ll be sad to hear then, that there is no magic cure to that demonic hangover, but there are certainly some things you can do to help beat the severity of a hangover.
What Causes a Hangover?
Before giving away pearls of wisdom to cure that whopping hangover, it’s important to understand why your body behaves the way it does when you drink to excess.
Not only does alcohol make you urinate more frequently causing dehydration, it also causes your blood sugar to fall and your blood vessels to expand, resulting in a throbbing headache and nausea. Add in stomach irritation and inflammation and it’s a recipe for disaster.
You may feel on top of the world (apart from all those extra trips to the loo) while you’re drinking, but by the next day, you’ll be in hangover hell.
9 Nutrionist Ways to Beat a Hangover
1. Ditch the Fry Up
Although we think that having a fry up helps to ‘soak up the alcohol’ actually what we’re doing is putting more burden on our liver to process high fatty foods and large amounts of sugar when it’s already trying to deal with the high levels of alcohol that are still coursing through our bodies.
Having something to eat is obviously important but choose a healthier option that is much easier for your body to digest.
For example, wholemeal toast with peanut butter and banana adds palatable protein to assist with liver function. The extra fruit adds minerals to help fluid balance and adding a glass of fresh orange juice, will help the liver process the booze thanks to high levels of vitamin C.
2. Eat or Drink Your Greens
If you can stomach a trip to the supermarket, stock up on leafy green vegetables, celery and cucumber to whizz into a super-healthy green smoothie.
Not only will this help your body rehydrate, but the greens will boost the body’s nutrient reserves to deal with the toxic alcohol overload. If you don’t have a smoothie maker or juicer, think sticks of celery and cucumber or a spinach, kale, romaine salad. Parsley and mint are other great examples if you want to add some extra flavour or can only keep herb-infused water down.
Chlorella is a green algae and one of the richest sources of chlorophyll, a plant pigment that is thought to be highly detoxifying. It is also thought to have liver protective properties so some say that if you take chlorella prior to hitting the booze, it helps you process alcohol more efficiently.
However, you’ll have to be the judge of this as there still isn’t enough research to back up this claim.
Chlorella is most easily taken in a pill form although it’s also available in powdered form that can be added to smoothies. You can find it online or in your local health food store.
Every hangover needs water as a cure.
Ideally, for every alcoholic drink you have you should also have a glass of water too.
We all know that it’s not that easy to remember, so instead make sure you have a good glug of water as soon as you get home and as soon as you wake up the following morning. This will help to rehydrate the body, an absolute must in beating any hangover.
Remember the body can survive for weeks without food but only days without water, so it’s essential to return the body back to balance as quickly as possible.
5. Coconut Water
Coconut Water is a great alternative to plain water when you’re on a mission to rehydrate the body.
Coconut Water is low in carbohydrates and high in the minerals and electrolytes potassium and magnesium, which help to balance cell and body fluids. Coconut Water is also considered to be alkalising, so enzymes and metabolic reactions can work more efficiently, clearing of alcohol from the system.
By antioxidants, we’re talking vitamins A,C, E and minerals zinc and selenium here.
In terms of food, this means brightly coloured vegetables, nuts and seeds which help mop up naturally created harmful molecules that can cause damage to your health.
Antioxidants also support the liver’s detoxification pathways, which in turn, help your metabolism clear that pesky alcohol from the system. A vitamin C supplement may also help give you an antioxidant boost and if you take your vitamins in a water soluble form like Berocca, you’ll be rehydrating at the same time!
7. Avoid Coffee
You may be tired, but coffee not only dehydrates you further, it also needs to be processed by the liver, which is busy getting rid of the alcohol in your system.
This obviously puts extra burden on your poor liver, which will probably make you feel even worse.
Instead of reaching for the super dark Arabica roast, opt for ginger tea with honey which will help to settle the stomach and give you a little sugar for energy.
Eggs are great for hangovers, just avoid the oil when you’re cooking them. Poached, scrambled or boiled eggs are a great source of protein without the added calorific oil burden.
Eggs also contain the amino acid cysteine, which supports liver repair and function to assist the processing of alcohol.
Carbohydrates are the one thing we all seem to crave on a hangover and this is because our liver is the second largest organ in our body, with a lot of energy needed to power it up.
As carbohydrates are our body’s go-to source for energy, we tend to crave them when we’re hungover. This means it’s a good idea to give in to your cravings, provided you opt for hearty wholemeal versions of bread and rice.
Fresh fruit and vegetables will also give you the energy boost you need,with the added bonus of being high in vitamins and minerals to replenish the body’s supplies. Avoid the high sugar processed sugars as these will upset your blood sugar levels and send your energy levels haywire all day.