The peak hangover season is upon us! There will be more hangovers per head of population between now and January than at any other time of the year. So how prepared are you?
In Puerto Rico they allegedly prepare for an evening of indulgence by rubbing a slice of lemon or lime under the armpit of their drinking arm. Yes, honestly! It is supposed to help you stay hydrated so they say.
In Germany they swear by a hangover breakfast of raw picked herring wrapped around pieces of gherkin or onion. And they are welcome to it!
Canada does things differently with a bowl of Poutine – thick cut French fries with chunks of Canadian cheese curd and a savoury gravy with fresh pepper corns. It is apparently delicious! Almost worth getting drunk to enjoy them.
In Turkey, Mexico and Romania they swear by tripe soup as a cure for the morning after with the animal’s innards boiled with garlic, onion and cream. With that in store, I think I would prefer to stay drunk.
According to nutrition and fitness expert Michele Kaye, they have all got it wrong. “Accepting the fact that the best hangover cure is to not drink too much in the first place, even with the noblest of intentions it is easy to overdo it,” says Michelle. “If you do, the first thing you need to do is to rehydrate the body fast. What most people do is to reach out for a strong black coffee, but using coffee is a hangover cure is a myth. Coffee is actually a diuretic – which in fact causes the body to lose even more liquid. The opposite to what the body needs!”
Without putting to finer point on it, diuretics make you pee more, taking water from the organs including the brain which slightly contracts, resulting in a headache. Ever seen a pickled walnut?
Less water in your body means alcohol metabolism toxins (e.g. acetaldehyde) circulating in your blood plus a build up of the other impurities (e.g. zinc and other metals) that have been added during fermentation. There’s more in red wine and champagne, less in white wine, vodka has the least. Well that’s good news!
It’s true, women suffer more than men because a higher percentage of a man’s body weight is water so there is more water to dilute the alcohol. It’s also true that as you get older, the more you feel the affects of alcohol. This is because the liver produces less of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, which breaks the alcohol down into harmless substances.
Apparently sleeping on your right side can help as it encourages your stomach to drain, moving things along and relieving nausea. Not a lot of people know that!
The caffeine in coffee may perk you up initially but in the end could make your dehydration even worse.
Obviously you could always reach for a headache pill, but these often inflame an already sore stomach and give the liver some more to deal with. So here are Michele Kaye’s top tips for all natural hangover cures.
Before bedtime drink:
A large glass of water with a pinch of sea salt added.
A fruit juice, rich in vitamins and other antioxidants is a good way to provide the brain with nutrients.
A few drops of milk thistle tincture in water, or take a powdered superfood mix containing milk thistle and turmeric (from Indigo Herbs) stirred into water. These do wonders in protecting and supporting the liver.
Then ‘the morning after’ more water and I find a detoxifying and rehydrating fresh vegetable/fruit juice very effective at rehydrating and supplying a large hit of ‘easy to absorb’ nutrients. Add fresh ginger to your juices as it calms and soothes the stomach, reducing nausea.
Here are some great combinations:
2 Carrots 1 apple 2 sticks celery, and a large handful of spinach all juiced together.
1 Beetroot, 3 carrots and 2 oranges
A citrus juice of 1 grapefruit, 2 oranges and 1/2 lemon
Finally honey and banana can also help settle the stomach and re-stabilize the blood sugar levels, so you have more energy and feel less weak. They both help you to get hydrated again by adding some extra potassium to the body, increasing your electrolytes.
Combine these natural ingredients and ta dah! A green hangover cure smoothie:
1 handful of spinach
1 tsp honey
small piece of fresh ginger
½ cup water