Alternative Hangover Cures

Scientifically proven ways to lessen the effects of a hangover.

We all know the only way to really prevent feeling horrendous the morning after the night before is not to drink at all, but for those of us that like a little tipple (or three, ahem) over the festive season we have found the best, scientifically proven ways to lessen the effects of a hangover.  Put off ‘hair of the dog’ and try these more sensible options:



Water
It’s the obvious choice but drinking water during and after your night out restores water to your body.  Alcohol is a diuretic which means it helps the body get rid of fluids.  When you have a hangover, you are severely dehydrated and your body can’t flush out toxins.  Drinking a glass of water for every glass of alcohol during the evening lessens the effect on the body.  Failing that, drink a pint of water before you go to bed and top up throughout the morning.

Ginger tea
Forget a builder’s breakfast brew or a strong coffee, sip ginger tea to settle your stomach and help prevent nausea. For an effective ginger tea chop a 3cm length of ginger into small pieces and boil for 20 minutes, strain into a cup and add a spoonful of honey to help rebalance your sugar levels.

Bacon and egg sandwich
Yes it really is true! Scientists have found that the high levels of carbohydrates in bread and protein in bacon, both of which break down into amino acids, help to restore neurotransmitters depleted when drinking alcohol, giving you a clearer head. Eggs contain cysteine which helps to breaks down acetaldehyde (a substance formed when the liver breaks down alcohol) and they also give you a welcome energy boost. 

Peppermint and liquorice teas
Peppermint acts much like ginger while liquorice sooths stomach inflammation and controls blood sugar.  We love this Pukka tea which combines the two.

Coconut water
Most hangover headaches are caused by dehydration and an imbalance of electrolytes.  Coconut water is rich in electrolytes and restores water to the body.  Sports drinks also do the same if you’re not a fan of coconut.  

Bouillon soup 
Bouillon soup is a thin vegetable-based broth which restores vitamins and minerals to the body.  One of its advantages is that it is easy on the stomach, although you might not feel much like making your own with a pounding headache.   Cheat and stock up with some bouillon powder before your night out.

Bananas
Drinking too much alcohol depletes your body’s supply of potassium; an essential mineral and electrolyte that keeps your muscles contracting, especially in your intestinal tract.   Low levels of potassium can make you feel weak and cause muscle cramps.  Eating plain foods such as bananas and plain yogurt can help ease the hangover more quickly.

Asparagus
An American food study published in 2009 found that the amino acids in asparagus help human cells to speed up the breaking down of alcohol, which can help prevent longer term damage caused by toxins.  Asparagus can help alleviate a hangover while protecting liver cells.  Add some asparagus to your fried egg on toast for a more palatable way to eat this super veg with a hangover.

Power smoothie
Smoothies are a smart way to consume a lot of essential nutrients in one go to combat your hangover.  Try this heavenly headache-busting concoction: 

One cup of Greek yogurt to help restore digestive balance
One cup of coconut water to restore electrolytes and water
A handful of blueberries contain powerful anti-oxidants
2 tsp honey helps to rebalance sugar levels
1 banana contains potassium to ease the digestive system
1 carrot contains beta-carotene which helps the liver to flush out toxins

Enjoy the festive season and if you remember the following, you should be able to limit your hangover to a dull thud rather than an almighty wallop:
• Don’t mix drinks – bubbly drinks are the worst for a hangover, shortly followed by dark spirits such as whisky and bourbon
• Have a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage
• Everything in moderation – drink slowly and know when you’ve had enough 
• Make sure you eat so you’re not drinking on an empty stomach
• Be aware of the units of alcohol in you drinks.  See the NHS website for a quick guide
• Don’t drink and drive – Make sure you book a taxi or get a lift home with someone who isn’t drinking.

Photo courtesy of Weekly Gravy