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Banish the hangover this Christmas

Did you wake up with a throbbing headache, a general feeling of physical misery, a tiger in your bathroom (?) and a bit of left over turkey on your shirt?
Guess my advice from my previous column on here’s the city didn’t quite make it to the bar with you. But before you choose to finish that cold turkey or opt for the bloody mary, try these tips instead:

Rehydrate

Alcohol is a diuretic – a chemical that kicks your urinary system into overdrive, and unless you managed to alternate your alcoholic beverages with water in between (which never works does it?), your post-drinking symptoms are most likely due to dehydration. Rehydrating is key when it comes to recovering from a hangover and cannot be stressed enough. But I’m not talking coffee, Red Bull or hair-of-the-dog here. Caffeine is an acknowledged stimulant, and while you might hope caffeine can perform its miracles of giving some much needed focus and alertness, it’s another diuretic. Red Bull isn’t much better (and requires another column), and choosing the hair-of-the-dog option would only be advisable if you want to pass out to forget what you’ve done the night before. Coffee will not help your stomach either, so the best option is water at room temperature. You may add some fresh lemon or fresh orange juice to give you additional Vitamin C for energy, and for soothing your upset tummy.

Top Up

When you drink excessively, you lose a lot of key minerals and vitamins including potassium, magnesium and B-Vitamins, all of which need to be topped up. Bananas are a great hangover food; they are like nature’s own little hangover cures. Not only are they full of fructose (natural fruit sugar) to help with energy, they contain a nice amount of potassium. Bananas are also natural antacids – which will help your nausea and stomach pain – and they also contain magnesium, which helps to relax pounding blood vessels in your head. Have a banana on toasted wholegrain bread (for the carbohydrates and B-Vitamins) with organic peanut or almond butter (great sources of magnesium and protein), and you get a good dose of all those key minerals and vitamins you lost the night before. Drinking vegetable bouillon soup or coconut water are two other good sources of vitamins and minerals, and easy for a fragile stomach to digest.

Eat

Do eat. Yes, it might be the last thing you want to do, but you will undoubtedly feel a lot better the minute you get your blood sugar levels up after having had some food. There is no one-and-only hangover food cure, but I’ve heard from many of my friends that you can’t beat a good fry-up. It gives you the greasy fat to coat your stomach, and the bread and eggs will give you the carbohydrates and protein for energy and blood sugar support. All I can say there is no perfect food cure for a hangover, so if you’ve found one that works for you, stick to it. My advise, though, would be to opt for a well-balanced meal, including all groups of macronutrients: complex carbohydrate, lean protein and healthy unsaturated fats. A toasted wholegrain bagel with cream cheese and salmon is another good option, and so is porridge with natural yoghurt and strawberries, giving you enough fibre for blood sugar balance, selenium to boost liver function, and Vitamin C for energy and soothing your tummy.

Sleep

But for the best cure of all (and if you have the luxury of not having to get up), go back to bed after your breakfast and sleep it off.

Wishing you a wonderful and nutritious Christmas!

Lisa

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