’Tis the season to be jolly, but what happens when a few too many glasses of Christmas cheer and mulled wine merriment end up in the most horrendous of hangovers the size of which could sink Santa’s sleigh, melt a snowman or shelf an elf?
Crawl back up from the depths of your duvets, because we asked natural health expert and co-founder of Victoria Health , Shabir Daya and nutritional therapist Amelia Freer for their foolproof solutions to answer all of our hangover hang-ups and get us feeling tip top the morning-after-the-night-before.
From hangover food to the best hangover cure, we’ll hopefully now be able to overcome the effects of holiday bar-hopping overload in no time and be back on the party season bandwagon quicker than you can say, “I’m never drinking again.”
Shabir Daya's tipple overkill tip-offs
The cause and cure
“Studies indicate that ethanol is converted into acetate, which may be the primary toxin responsible for hangovers. This is just one compound that alcohol is metabolised into and we know that ethanol is converted into many metabolites that are equally detrimental and toxic to the body.
“In one study carried out on mice, it was found that mice fed on a high alcohol diet had a metabolite of alcohol called N-Acetyl Taurine (NAT) which is a compound manufactured between the naturally occurring amino acid, taurine, and the acetate from alcohol metabolism. It is for this reason that taking additional taurine by way of supplementation should help to neutralise the acetate from alcohol and hence alleviate a hangover quickly.”
Amelia Freer's words of wisdom and top hangover cures
“Primarily a hangover is about how your liver is able to cope with the onslaught. We need the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase to break down ethanol. This enzyme peaks in the evening, hence why avoiding lunchtime drinks is advisable. We all produce different amounts of this enzyme hence why some can tolerate alcohol more than others.”
Look after your liver - it’s your best friend!
“If you feel terrible from minimal amounts of alcohol, then looking at other burdens on your liver is advisable. For example, do you use lots of cosmetics, body lotions and perfumes or take regular over-the-counter medications such as Nurofen or paracetamol? Do you eat non-organic produce or processed foods? All of these things make extra work for our livers, so the more that you can reduce the burden of excess toxins, the kinder you are being to it which may then allow it to turn a blind eye to that additional glass of fizz.”
Supplements, herbs and foods
“There are many liver-friendly nutrients and herbs to help support the liver and keep it doing its job, so naturally what you eat must be considered. Glutathione is the star pupil – a protective antioxidant. It’s not absorbed well orally but there are lots of supplements and herbs that can support glutathione production such as the supplement N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), SAM, glutamine and the herbs turmeric and milk thistle (but always seek the advice of a professional before taking supplements or herbs for the most beneficial and safe levels to take and especially if taking medications or if you have health conditions). Food sources to encourage glutathione production are dark green leafy vegetables, onions, garlic, tomatoes and red peppers.”
“Excess alcohol creates inflammation in the body. Any more than one glass and any of the reported benefits of alcohol will be negated. So if you are prone to heading for a second or third then ensure your diet is rich in anti-inflammatory foods such as oily fish, avocados, coconut oil, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables.”
“Maintain your lane…! Give your liver a helping hand by sticking to the same drink. It’s much harder for the liver to clear multiple different alcohols. And under no circumstances are fizzy drinks or cordials helpful to any part of your wellbeing.”
“Leave a jug of water by your bed before you go out. I have a sachet of vitamin C, 4 omega supplements, some milk thistle and NAC next to my bed to take when I get back (but again, don’t take supplements randomly, check with a professional first!). In the morning, a large green smoothie with coconut water, lots of cucumber, avocado and some chia seeds quickly does the trick to re-hydrate and calm. Despite our natural desire for caffeine after a night on the tiles, it actually dehydrates us so it’s a very temporary fix – if you do head for your cup of joe, then have a large mug of hot water before or after with some lemon in it to help bile flow.”
“As well as hydrating before, during and after, it’s also essential to eat if you want to avoid the head slam the next day. Protein is what you need. Lean meats, eggs, pulses with lots of vegetables would be ideal before heading out. Eggs for breakfast such as a large omelette with steam-fried onions, peppers, tomatoes (all natural glutathione boosters) and spinach would be ideal, or yoghurt and fruit if you are feeling a bit delicate. I’m rather partial to a good curry – but a homemade one of course, rich in turmeric, coconut oil, tomatoes, spinach and broccoli.”