By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 08:28, 08 July 2020
It’s very easy to get caught up in the moment when you’re drinking, especially when you’re celebrating something – nobody wants to be a killjoy! We all know the feeling though, you’ve gone too hard the night before and now the room is spinning.
Alas, you can’t lie in bed complaining all day, life keeps moving and so must you. Luckily our experts are on hand to offer their top tips to have you feeling better after an evening on the sauce…
1. Rehydration is Essential
Nutritionist Lily Soutter (www.lilysoutternutrition.com) explains the best things to eat to replenish your bodies hydration levels during a hangover.
“Alcohol is a diuretic, and if fluid levels are not replenished symptoms of dehydration can occur. If you’re suffering with dryness in the mouth, dizziness, weakness or even headaches then you may be dehydrated.
Water can also aid with the elimination of acetaldehyde, a toxic by-product that is produced from the breakdown of alcohol, which ultimately may help to improve hangover symptoms. If the taste of water alone isn’t sitting right with you consider hydrating foods.
Lily adds “stay hydrated with water rich foods such as cucumber, watermelon, celery and strawberries” Alcohol consumption not only results in fluid loss but electrolyte loss is also a common side effect. Lily recommends “Replenish critical electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium which may help to further regulate hydration.
Consider, potassium rich bananas, avocado and sweet potato. As well as getting magnesium from nuts and green leafy vegetables”.
2. Detoxify your Liver
We know the effects alcohol can have on the liver as it is responsible for breaking down about 95% of the alcohol we consume – excessive consumption can therefore be extremely damaging. You can help detoxify your liver by choosing the right kinds of food.
To help your liver break down alcohol– and to get rid of chemicals such as acetaldehyde – try to include foods that promote healthy liver function, both before and the day after drinking. Protein-rich foods are one of the food groups in this category, as proteins break down into amino acids that are used by the liver for detoxification.
Particularly important is the amino acid cysteine, which has a specific role in acetaldehyde breakdown: as well as in protein-rich foods it can be found in ‘cruciferous’ vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and cabbage.”
Top Tip: swap your usual takeaway with a hangover cure from itsu, many of their dishes can provide the protein you may need post-night out. Try the No Meat Mondays bento box, available nationwide at itsu RRP £7.99, which has protein rich tofu and broccoli included
3. Suffer with type 2 diabetes? Know your limits
“When you have diabetes, drinking alcohol can cause your blood glucose levels to either rise or fall, depending on how much you have eaten, how much alcohol you consume, how quickly, and the amount of carbohydrate present in the drink or mixer. For example, beer and sweet wine can cause blood glucose levels to rise.
Alcohol also, stimulates your appetite so you are more likely to over eat, affects your judgment and will power so you are less likely to make healthy food choices, provides ‘empty’ calories that are readily converted into fat in the body and contributes to fatty changes in the liver and pancreas, which are associated with insulin resistance,” explains Dr. Sarah Brewer, working in association with CuraLin, the type 2 Diabetes supplement (www.curalife.co).
Top Tip: “If you have diabetes, your doctor may suggest that you only drink one or two units of alcohol per day. Also that you only drink alcohol when your blood glucose levels are well controlled and that you avoid sugary drinks and mixers,” advises Dr. Brewer.
As well as making healthier choices we can look to herbs and plant extracts to support balanced blood sugar levels too. CuraLin (£59,www.curalife.co) is a specially formulated dietary supplement containing ten herbs and plant extracts traditionally used to support insulin sensitivity, helping to keep blood glucose levels under control – so you have one less thing to worry about in the morning after!
4. Replenish your micronutrients
“The diuretic effects of alcohol can increase loss of vitamins and minerals. In terms of vitamins, the water-soluble B vitamins and vitamin C may be particularly affected, as they are poorly stored in the body. These vitamins have vital roles in energy metabolism, as well as detoxification, so reduced levels could contribute to low energy and build-up of toxins.
Minerals may also be easily depleted, such as manganese, selenium and zinc that help to protect our cells from free radical damage,” explains Nutritionist and Fitness Instructor Cassandra Barns.
For a multivitamin and mineral supplement, containing vitamin C and the B vitamins, try the sense* for busy lives capsules (RRP: £14.99, www.boots.com). These capsules contain doses of zinc, selenium, copper and manganese – all of which may be easily depleted by alcohol intake. If you are using the tablets, remember to take one before drinking with food, and one more with your breakfast the day after.
5. If you can face some exercise…
The thought of exercising on a hangover can make you feel even worse – but bare with us here. Running could help you feel better as the movement will get your blood circulating and will help speed up detoxification, while sweating can help you excrete toxins. Be mindful that this will add to dehydration though so ensure you’re drinking plenty of fluids.
If running is too strenuous (we’d probably agree) consider yoga. The movement of yoga will help increase blood flow to all parts of the body, most importantly the liver.
The more blood that passes through, the quicker your liver can detoxify the alcohol. Sweating will have the same effect as above of removing toxins but again it is vital to keep topping up fluids.