14 Expert-Approved Ways To Get Rid Of A Hangover

While no qualified nutritionist would ever advocate excess drinking, we’ve all been there. And unless you’re one of the lucky few, as you age, hangovers get harder to kick. From the supplements to fall back on, to why a fry up is never a good idea, nutritionists Gabriela Peacock and Rob Hobson share their advice…

STICK TO CLEAR SPIRITS

“You’ve heard it before, but sticking to clear spirits will give you less of a hangover. Brown spirits and red wine contain a high level of compounds called congeners. According to research, one of the reasons why congeners leave us feeling more hungover is because breaking them down competes with the breakdown of ethanol in the body. This means that alcohol and its by-products are left to hang around in the body making the symptoms of a hangover more severe. Congeners may also stimulate the release of stress hormones causing inflammatory responses in the body which may result in fatigue and other symptoms we associate with a hangover.” – Rob Hobson, nutritionist

PACK IN THE ELECTROLYTES

“The goal with a hangover is fighting dehydration, so it could be worth taking an electrolyte sachet dissolved in water before you go to bed (Diarolyte is a good option). These contain electrolytes such as potassium and sodium, which help to maintain fluid balance in the body. These are a very good option if you have experienced vomiting or diarrhoea as a result of your alcohol intake. Coconut water, on the other hand, only contains potassium so is unlikely to be as effective and some brands can be quite high in free sugars.” – Rob

AVOID A FRY-UP

“Your body craves fat when you’ve been drinking alcohol because of hormonal disruption. While a full English can be tempting, you’re better off consuming a balanced meal of healthy fats and wholegrain carbs for breakfast to balance your blood sugars and kickstart the day. Eggs, avocado, nut butter and wholegrain or rye toast are all fantastic ways to quell that craving without the midday crash of a greasy white bread fry up.” – Gabriela Peacock, nutritionist and founder of GP Nutrition

GO HERBAL

“There are quite a few natural cures promoted as helping with hangovers but one to try is globe artichoke extract. This supplement stimulates bile production and can help to relieve bloating and other symptoms of indigestion associated with alcohol consumption.” – Rob

STEER CLEAR OF CAFFEINE

“A cup of coffee may seem like a good pick-me-up, but may leave you feeling jittery and could be a recipe for disaster if you have a delicate tummy, especially if you drink it on an empty stomach as soon as you wake up. The same goes for energy drinks, which are also loaded with sugar (some of them have as much as 45g or nine teaspoons per 500ml can). Team the caffeine with the sugar rush and it could leave you feeling very wired and you are likely to really feel the after-effects of sugar as you crash, even more so if drunk on an empty stomach.” – Rob

EAT EGGS

“Alcohol is broken down in the liver by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase, which creates a toxic compound called acetaldehyde. A further enzyme called acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and a substance called glutathione then break this down into a non-toxic substance which is similar to vinegar. If you only consume a few drinks then this process can limit the amount of time acetaldehyde remains in the body, reducing the damage it can cause. If you drink large amounts of alcohol, then the liver’s stores of glutathione can quickly run dry. Eggs may help with a hangover as they are a rich source of cysteine, an amino acid used by the body to produce glutathione.” – Rob

FORGET A HAIR OF THE DOG

“While a quick drink may mask some of the symptoms you’re experiencing, drinking the morning after a heavy night will just delay your body’s recovery and put more pressure on your system while it tries to make you feel more human again. Avoid alcohol for at least 48 hours and consider giving your liver a little extra help with specialised supplements known to support detoxification. GP Nutrition Clean Me is a great liver-support multivitamin that’s also rich in choline to support liver function. A few omega-3 capsules can also help to reduce inflammation.” – Gabriela

HAVE A NAP

“Having a lie down when you’re hungover can really help, given alcohol seriously disrupts your sleep. In the early part of the night after you’ve fallen asleep, alcohol binds to GABA receptors in the brain, which slow down the central nervous system inducing sleep. During this time, you spend more time in deep sleep and less time in REM sleep, which is the restorative stage of the sleep cycle. As the night moves on and alcohol starts to leave your bloodstream, the brain becomes more stimulated causing you to get more REM sleep, which is much lighter and often fitful. On top of this, drinking causes snoring and fidgeting as well as waking up to drink water or visit the bathroom. The cumulative effect is a disrupted night’s sleep.” – Rob

QUALITY MATTERS

“Good quality alcohol is likely to give you less of a hangover – this is probably because less chemicals are used in processing the final product. I always try and opt for organic, natural or biodynamic wines, or high-quality spirits like tequila or gin with soda water. This also minimises any nasty additives from mixers like tonic, and removes excess sugars, too.” – Gabriela

DON’T TAKE PAINKILLERS BEFORE BED

“It’s not true that having a paracetamol before bed can help your sore head in the morning. In fact, I would never recommend taking painkillers before they are actually needed, as your body and liver are already working hard to process and get rid of excess alcohol. If you do need to take a painkiller, do so in the morning and with plenty of water.” – Gabriela 

STOCK UP ON AVOCADOS

“Alcohol blocks a hormone called anti-diuretic hormone, which helps the body hold on to water. This contributes to dehydration and the loss of electrolytes such as potassium.  Try eating avocados the day after as these are a rich source of potassium.  Avocado on wholegrain toast is a great hangover breakfast as it’s rich in potassium and the high fibre bread means energy will be released more slowly to help get you back on track. You could also try a breakfast smoothie made with avocado, banana, berries, oats and plant-milk.” – Rob

LOOK TO GREENS

“Bitter greens may not seem that appealing with a hangover, but they may be just the thing you need. These foods include rocket, cabbage and kale, which can be used to make a healthy salad with a lean protein such as chicken. These foods have been shown to help encourage the flow of bile through the liver, which can help remove toxins more efficiently.” – Rob

HAVE AN SOS PLAN

“If things are really bad and you’re struggling to keep anything down, then try dried toast. Bread is rich in carbohydrates, which supply the body with an immediate source of energy. White bread may also be a little easier to digest and cause less irritation to a sensitive gut. Ginger has also been widely researched for its ability to quell nausea so is a good one to take if you’re feeling sick. The best way to enjoy it is in a tea when you wake up – try adding one teaspoon of dried ginger, the juice of half a lemon and two teaspoons of honey to a teapot with boiling water.” – Rob

SUPPLEMENT WITH VITAMIN B

“Alcohol inhibits the absorption and usage of nutrients such as B1, B12 and folic acid. If you drink in moderation but have the occasional ‘one too many’ then you’re unlikely to be hugely affected, but problems may arise for habitual drinkers, especially if they don’t eat a balanced diet. Heavy drinkers may benefit from a vitamin B supplement, but this shouldn’t be seen as an antidote to drinking to excess – cutting down on the booze should be the priority.” – Rob 

 

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