It’s that time of year again when many of us are nursing worse than usual hangovers and wondering just HOW do we get rid of them.
Personally, my method of coping with a hangover is staying in bed until around 6pm, ordering a greasy takeaway and showering before going back to sleep and thanking my lucky stars that the day is finally over.
But that doesn’t quite work out when you have children poking you in the ribs at 6am to get up, a work shift to scramble to or some terribly-timed family event to look fresh for.
So it’s time to recruit some expert advice. They agree that the hair of the dog only postpones letting your body recover on its own from too much festive alcohol.
And your body works slowly. As your liver takes 48 hours to rid your body of the last remnants of your blow-out, you may not be able to drive for the whole of the next day. No driving to the shop for pick-me-ups, painkillers or takeaways.
Your hangover – which typically takes the form of a headache, thirst, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and general grumpiness – reaches its peak when your blood-alcohol sinks back to zero.
In the liver alcohol is broken down into the toxic chemical acetaldehyde. If the amount of alcohol you consume outpaces the ability of your liver to process it, acetaldehyde builds up in your body, leading to headaches, nausea and vomiting.
So what can you do in the meantime to relieve your pain?
Dr Emeka Okorocha has a few ideas which I like because there’s a bit of sound science behind them. You might try a bloody Mary – but a virgin one without the booze – with
½ glass of tomato juice, 2 tbsp lemon juice, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a dash of hot pepper sauce and a celery stick.
It could work because tomatoes contain fructose, a sugar that can help your body metabolise alcohol faster to get it out of your system, plus vitamins and minerals which fight inflammation and rehydrate your body and brain.
Then there’s ginger tea made with 12 large ginger slices, four cups of boiling water, a dash of lemon,
½ cup of honey and fresh orange juice which could soothe your upset stomach.
Studies also show it may help ease your throbbing head by blocking the formation of inflammatory compounds such as prostaglandins. If you sweeten it with honey the fructose can help get rid of lingering alcohol.
Another remedy is a sandwich of mashed banana and honey between two slices of wholemeal bread.
Bananas are good because you’re short of potassium. Alcohol increases potassium excretion and causes dehydration.
Bananas provide a shot of this potassium and the honey will give you that spike of sugar in your bloodstream to kick-start your day.
If you’re a forward planner, drink half a pint of water before you hit the booze. Then before bed drink another half pint and take a 75mg aspirin.
Water before you go to sleep will give you a head start on hydrating the next morning and the aspirin mobilises your liver to detox that alcohol load.
Better, between every tipple drink a glass of water. But most important of all, take it easy ...