Firstly, aim to be well hydrated before you start drinking. So have plenty of water, herbal teas or diluted juices during the day.
Next, don’t drink on an empty stomach. Food will slow down the rate at which you absorb any alcohol and protect your gut lining from irritation. The old wives tale about drinking milk is best ignored, however, as it’s a common allergenAn allergen is a substance that is foreign to the body and which can cause an allergic reaction in certain people. Pollen is an example… and encourages mucous production. Best to eat a meal that combines proteinProteins are large molecules consisting of chains of amino acids. Proteins are essential nutrients for the human body – they are a building block of… and slow-releasing carbohydrateCarbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the body as they can be broken down into glucose (sugar) more readily than either protein or… – for example, grilled fish, brown rice and green vegetables, or meat with new potatoes and red cabbage.
When you start to drink, aim to pace yourself. Diluting wine with sparking water or spirits with mixers is one way. Or have a glass of water between every alcoholic drink to slow down your intake.
Also, choose your poison wisely. A good quality wine, preferably organic, will contain less of the additives that can worsen your hangover than cheaper wines. Research has also found that clear spirits – for example vodka – are better tolerated than darker liquors such as brandy or bourbon. And mixing your drinks can make any hangover far worse, so aim to stick to what you’re drinking all night.
A hangover occurs because you’ve overloaded your liver’s capacity to detoxify the alcohol. So anything you can do to support its work will help to alleviate those morning-after symptoms of throbbing head, nausea and disturbed mood.
B vitamins and vitamin CWhat it does: Strengthens immune system – fights infections. Makes collagen, keeping bones, skin and joints firm and strong. Antioxidant, detoxifying pollutants and protecting against… help your liver to detoxify alcohol, while the amino acid glutamine can help to repair any damage to your gut. Before you go to bed, take 2000mg of vitamin C and a heaped spoonful of glutamine powder (approximately 5 grams) in a large glass of water. Do the same when you wake up, and have a hearty breakfast with your daily supplements, including some extra B vitamins in a B Complex formula.
Finally, if you do over indulge to the extent that you’re reaching for the painkillers the next day, aim to relieve the discomfort first by drinking lots of water and then eating a meal containing both carbohydrate and protein. Painkillers will only add to the load on your already struggling liver. And if you must give in, best to opt for paracetamol over aspirin or other non-steroid-anti-inflammatory painkillers, as these can further irritate an already fragile stomach.
Have a happy new year!
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