The headaches, the queasy stomach, the dry mouth and that totally drained feeling – you swear you will never do it again, right? Next time you are going to be strong and firm and be able to say ‘no’ and keep control! Well, just in case that steely determination lets you down at the last minute, there is a lot you can do to make a real difference to how you feel the following morning. Here are the best tips that really make a difference for preventing and recovering quickly from a hangover:
• Water – The biggest problem from alcohol is dehydration or lack of water in body cells. This is responsible for the dry mouth, the headaches and that overall drained feeling. Drink plenty of water before you go out (2 to 3 pints spread over 3 hours) and try to break up your drinking while out with some glasses of water. A quick dash to the bar on the way to the loo to knock back a glass (of water that is) can really help!
• Toxins – Another major factor in hangovers is alcohol body toxins a.k.a. ‘congeners’ which believe it or not actually give the taste, aroma and flavour to the drink! The more drink the more congeners you are putting in your system and mixing drinks makes this even worse. The darker the drink in colour the more congeners it has, so brandy, whiskey and red wine would have higher amounts! Clearer drinks like white wine, gin and vodka have the least amounts.
• Soakage – Drinking on an empty stomach is lethal as the rate of alcohol absorption is highest. Providing a nice layer of food before you go out will help slow down the absorption and protect your stomach lining from the irritating effects of alcohol. Foods higher in fat like red meat, avocado and cheese provide the best soakage. Then while you are out nibble on some pretzels or nuts to keep the process going!
• Slow Down – The body metabolizes alcohol at the rate of about ½ oz per hour or the equivalent of ½ a pint (remember most beers are only around 4% strength)!! So that should give you an idea of how to pace your drinking. So sip rather than gulp and if you are doing rounds don’t be afraid to pass up on some drinks being bought by others.
Ok despite all your best efforts you wake with that pounding headache and spinning room effect and you can’t believe you did it again! You just want to roll over and die but you can’t, you’ve got to snap out of it and make that crucial work meeting and look your best. (Ideally of course you will begin these steps to recovery on getting home from your night out!)
• Water – Again the most important thing is water. Quickly reach for that pint of water and start to re-hydrate. Drinking water consistently over the next few hours will greatly speed up your recovery.
• Nutrients – Alcohol severely depletes vital body nutrients like vitamin C, B vitamins and minerals like magnesium and zinc. These dramatically affect how you feel and I mean dramatically! The best way to counteract this is actually in supplement form, so taking a good vitamin B supplement with 1000mg of vitamin C really helps. Add to this a multi-mineral supplement (as distinct from a
multi-vitamin supplement!) and you have a powerful recovery package. This is the nutrition
protocol I personally use and take immediately on arriving home from my night out and it really makes a huge difference! So it is certainly worthwhile having these at hand.
• Honey on toast is a great recovery food! This provides the simple sugars needed to help quickly boost blood sugar levels and at the same time is easy on the stomach. Again take before going to bed if possible. Fruit is also very good for this process too. Sports drinks, a gatorade or such like can also really help by replacing other vital salts and minerals flushed out during your many visits to the loo!
• Finally a long hot shower and some gentle exercise (even to walk a mile briskly) will greatly help by removing toxins much faster from your body and help bring that feeling of normally back somewhat, while you swear you will never do it again!