PARTY season is here - and with all the merriment comes a barrage of banging heads and bubbling bellies. Abi Jackson reveals how to give hangovers the heave-ho
How many Christmas wishlists would include the ability to avoid hangovers for evermore? If only we could somehow either stop drinking to excess or, by some magic, be able to opt out of the fuzzy heads and tongues of the morning-after-the-night-before, right?
But, while we all know the importance of not overdoing it with the booze and seeking help if our alcohol habits are causing problems, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a few drinks to toast in the New Year - so hangovers do happen, and many of us will be battling one come January 1.
Now a massive fry-up, carb and sugar fest, possibly a questionable chemical concoction in a sachet or tablet form, might seem appealing. But do you really want to tackle your not-very-healthy hangover by eating and drinking lots more not-very-healthy things?
Offset that headache and some of the boozy guilt with a more virtuous ‘remedy’ instead. Here are seven of our favourites...
Apparently, blackcurrants are a ‘scientifically proven hangover cure’. Researchers found “components taken from the humble super fruit, such as vitamin C, boosted levels of key enzymes that break down alcohol after heavy drinking”, according to Dr Derek Stewart from the Scottish Crop Research Institute. The Blackcurrant Foundation, which champions British blackcurrants, recommends gulping down some blackcurrant juice before or after your party - or both!
I swear by a cool can of ginger beer when I’m hung-over. Ginger is actually packed full of natural anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory goodness, so can help settle nausea and other hangover side-effects. Making your own ginger juice or tea is, of course, far healthier than a sugar-loaded fizzy version.
It doesn’t get more natural and pure than water. As we all know, most hangover symptoms are caused by dehydration, from that pounding headache, bloodshot eyes and dry mouth to those aching limbs - and the best way to rehydrate is with, well, water (it also massively helps to drink plenty of h20 before you start drinking, and alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water too). Keep a bottle of water next to your bed to sip in the night if you need to, and the Natural Hydration Council recommends drinking plenty of water throughout your hangover day, but not more than 750ml per hour.
You may be craving fizzy cola and a gallon of coffee, but caffeine and sugar are a quick-fix that could actually lead to you feeling worse later on, and even more dehydrated. Vitamin-loaded orange juice, however, will help wake you up, replace some of those lost nutrients following a heavy night, and the natural fruit sugars are a far healthier energy boost than soft drinks.
Another great way to rehydrate and replenish those nutrient levels, lots of people swear by tomato juice to soothe a hangover. Tomatoes also contain lycopene which, as well as giving them their bold, red colour, has anti-inflammatory properties - always handy when you’re feeling a bit battered and bruised. A twist of lemon or lime in your tomato juice will add a flavour and extra vitamin kick.
Yes, that massive fry-up sounds tempting, but what you think are stodge cravings are actually your body’s way of telling you it needs a good dose of nutrients and energy. Bananas are gentle on the stomach (so ideal if your belly’s a bit dodgy) and packed full of potassium (which you’ll be in need of a top-up of following a boozy night) and natural sugars for recharging and balancing energy levels the healthy way.
Sipping coconut water has become a bit of a health-trend. Unlike its more indulgent counterpart coconut milk, coconut water is naturally very low in fat and cholesterol free and will give you that sweet fix you may be craving. What’s more, it’s great source of electrolytes - and electrolyte imbalance plays a big part in those horrid hangover symptoms. In fact, you’d actually get a better electrolyte fix than those sugary, fizzy sports drinks.