Eat to Beat: Christmas Hangover

Diet

Read more to find out how to cope with and improve symptoms of a dreaded hangover during the festive period

27/12/2018


Emil Hodzovic
MBBCh

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It’s the festive season and having one too many drinks at the Christmas party is almost inevitable at least once during this period. It’s all good fun until you wake up the next morning with a foggy memory, a thumping headache and all you want to do is curl up in a duvet and eat pick and mix on the sofa. It’s the dreaded hangover…but what can you do about it?

Apart from the usual -  limiting your alcohol intake, perhaps having a glass of water between each drink and trying to get a decent nights sleep - there are a few food-related tricks and hacks that you can use to kickstart the next day and chase the hangover away.

  • Eat in the morning

The morning after the night before is important and it is likely that your hangover is in full force. People tend to go one of two ways at this point – a big greasy fry up or nothing at all - and neither are ideal.

The best option is to go for a light healthy nutritious breakfast. It’s better to have something if you can to start the recovery process. If you’re feeling a bit peaky then a bit of dry toast with some egg or honey will get you off to an excellent start. It will give you a gentle energy boost while stabilizing your blood sugar levels, which can drop with alcohol. Eggs, in particular, contain the vital amino acid cysteine which helps to break down alcohol and clear it from your body.

Foods with lots of grease or which aggravate the stomach (such as hot, spicy or acidic food) are best avoided and can leave you feeling worse off than before you started. That’s the pile of bacon and sausage out then…

  • Pickles and Ginger tea

During the day, it’s important to continue to hydrate, replenish the lost electrolytes and keep the energy levels steady. Sugary snacks on their own probably aren’t ideal (even though you may crave them!) as alcohol wreaks havoc on energy and the sugar rollercoaster will only make you feel worse. 

Fruit juices on their own are probably not the best bet either as they will do the same as sugary treats. If you are craving something refreshing, a fruit and vegetable smoothie with a scoop of protein or some peanut butter is an excellent compromise and will slow the absorption of the natural sugars, avoiding the crash, as well as providing a much-needed boost of vitamins and antioxidants.

You may have heard pickles being touted as a miracle hangover remedy and they can certainly help - though you’ll get the best effect from actually drinking the salty electrolyte filled liquid that they are stored in. You can also get a headstart on the hangover fix during your night out by ordering ‘pickleback’ shots at the bar - basically whiskey shots chased by a shot of that powerful pickle brine!

Ginger tea is worth considering as well, as ginger has the extra benefit of helping with nausea associated with a hangover. For this, you’re better off boiling ginger root in water rather than just using a tea bag, but even plain ginger tea will help with the rehydration.

  • Prevention is better than the cure

Eating a good solid meal before you go out will slow the absorption of alcohol and also reduce the chance that you will crave a kebab or cheesy chips at the end of the night. These salt and calorie-laden foods can add to the feeling of dryness and grogginess the next day on top of any hangover you might have inflicted on yourself.

Including protein, vegetables and healthy fats the night before will line your stomach and slow down the absorption of any incoming alcohol, giving your liver a better chance of doing its job. On top of this, the vegetables will provide an extra boost of antioxidants before the incoming onslaught of booze.

Overall, the BEST way to manage a hangover is to not drink at all but if you do find yourself having a few, being sensible, drinking responsibly and following these tips will help you make the most of the next day and ward off the worst of the hangover!

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