Your head’s pounding, your mouth is like a desert, your stomach is churning and the thought of ever drinking alcohol again makes you sick to your core. Common symptoms for some of us around this time of year, right? A hangover like this happens when your liver is working overtime detoxifying excessive amounts of alcohol from the night before. High alcohol consumption is also a major cause of dehydration that is another common hangover symptom.
Logically, limiting your alcohol intake is the best way to avoid getting a hangover. However, if there’s a strong chance you’re going to have a few drinks this new years eve here’s my advice on how to make that next-day feeling pass as quickly as possible.
Say yes to H20 and electrolytes
Keep well hydrated when out drinking alcohol. Alcohol is a major cause of dehydration. Every standard drink we have we lose around 100mls of fluid through urine along with important electrolytes. Minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and sodium are electrolytes that are vital for keeping fluids balanced in our bodies and are needed for good health. Those common symptoms you wake up with after a night out drinking – the headache, nausea, dry mouth and thirst - are all symptoms of dehydration. The best way to combat this is to have an electrolyte drink or coconut water and some water before you go to bed, and more water when you wake. It is also important to drink water when you’re out so try to get into the habit of having a glass of water in-between your alcoholic drinks.
Coconut hangover Smoothie
‘The morning after’, why don’t you try a smoothie to help you rehydrate and treat your hangover symptoms. Into a blender pour the water from one fresh young coconut, one frozen ripe banana, a handful of frozen mixed berries and a heap tablespoon of chia seeds. Coconut water is naturally rich in electrolytes and is useful for replenishing fluids and important minerals lost in the body. Bananas help replenish low potassium, berries are an excellent source of antioxidants and chia seeds contain fibre to help the body eliminate toxins from the body.
Avoid the grease
Despite what you might feel like, eating a healthy breakfast such as poached eggs, avocado, wholegrain toast, or bircher muesli, will be far better for you at this time than going for a greasy breakfast of bacon, sausages, fried eggs, or hash browns. Greazy fried foods will only add to your upset stomach.
A great way to settle an upset tummy and replenish the body with vitamins is with a fresh juice. Try with a vegetable juice such as carrot, beetroot, celery, apple and ginger (eases for nausea). Or try a chilled ginger tea for super sensitive tummies.
Another way to help reduce a hangover is by taking a zinc and B complex vitamin. These vitamins are key nutrients involved in liver detoxification and common nutrients lost when consuming too much alcohol. But remember: don’t take zinc on an empty stomach or it will make you feel nauseous.
This homeopathic remedy can be very helpful if you have a hangover, helping to relieve headaches and nausea. Nux vomica can be found in health food stores or from your local homeopath. Take 5 drops of Nux vomica 30C under the tongue 3-4 times in the day, or until symptoms improve.
N-acetyl-cyseine (NAC) is an amino acid that makes the enzyme glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant, and helps the liver detoxify and clear toxins such as alcohol from the body. NAC is used a hangover remedy. Protein-rich foods are the best sources of NAC including meat, fish, seafood, chicken, eggs, and dairy. Eggs on toast makes a good hangover breakfast. You can also buy NAC in supplement form from health food stores.
By eating a healthy protein-rich meal before you go out drinking will help reduce the chances of getting a hangover. Also, when you’re out, try to snack on something (as healthy as possible) to slow down the absorption of alcohol. Raw nuts, dips and crackers, or bruschetta are some of my favourite choices.
Pick your poison
Some drinks are thought to be worse than others. Darker spirits such as bourbon, cognac, scotch or whiskey, are said to be more likely to give you a hangover. While wine and gin are considered better choices, and vodka is widely considered the best. Pick your poison carefully, and alternate each alcoholic drink with water to safeguard any ill feeling the next day.
Avoid sugary drinks
Avoid sugary mixers like soft drink, syrups, or sweet cocktails with alcohol. These will send your blood sugar levels all over the place, leaving you dehydrated and lethargic the morning after, ultimately exacerbating your hangover symptoms.
Wishing you all a fantastic new years eve!!
It's hard to resist overindulging during the christmas period with all those scrumptious christmas goodies everywhere. So here are some simple ways to enjoy the festivities and still start the new year on a healthy note.
GIVE YOUR LIVER A HELPING HAND
Over the festive season our poor livers get a bit of a hammering. Rich fatty foods and excessive alcohol consumption places a heavy burden on our already overworked livers. Other than the obvious, enjoying alcohol in moderation, you can give your liver a helping hand by consuming certain foods and herbs that help support healthy liver function. Have a good serving of sulfur-containing vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and onion and garlic with your Christmas meal. Take the herb Milk thistle daily to protect your liver cells from alcohol-induced damage, and to enhance liver detoxification. Swapping your morning coffee with a dandelion root coffee will also help the liver remove alcohol and other toxins from the body safely.
AVOID THE CHRISTMAS BLOAT
We are all guilty of overindulging over the Christmas period in rich foods we normally wouldn’t eat. And, indigestion is a common side effect of too much pudding, turkey and Christmas cake. Besides trying to resist that second helping, eating bitter foods is a great way to help stimulate your digestive system to prevent Christmas bloat. Add some bitter greens to your salad (rocket, dandelion greens, rocket, raddiccio), and have either fresh lemon in water or squeezed over salads or fish. Taking a capful of apple cider vinegar 15 minutes before a meal is another great way to increase the digestion of a meal.
ENJOY THE FESTIVITIES WITHOUT THE WEIGHT GAIN
It can be difficult to sustain healthy eating habits around the Christmas period. Most of us tend to overeat and as a result put on an average of 2 kg. This is unsurprising considering your average Christmas dinner contains more than 1,400 calories, which is 70% of the total calorie intake for women, and 50% for men. Add an extra serving of pudding and another glass of wine and you’ve easily reached your daily calorie limit in one meal. Choose foods that are low in fat and calories this year such as turkey, ham or lamb (without the gravy or skin), prawns and fish, load up your plate with salad or vegetables (without creamy dressings or butter), oven baked potato and pumpkin with olive oil, and have only a small slice of fruit cake or pudding with fresh fruit (hold the ice cream and custard).
If you're a huge fruit cake fan well I've got something for you that you'll love, my 'healthy mango christmas fruit cake'. Not only is it lovely and moist and extremely delicious, but it's healthy too. It contains no added sugars, it's naturally sweetened with mango and dried fruit, and it doesn’t contain any butter. It's a great healthy alternative to traditional fruit cakes that makes a nutritious treat for the whole family. You're kids with love it too.
This fruit cake is an excellent source of fibre as it’s made from dried fruits and wholemeal flour. Fibre is not only important for keeping us regular but also helps keep our cholesterol levels in check, gives our immune system a boost and reduces the risk of colon cancer. Mangoes, with their orange coloured flesh, are a great source of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is used to keep our gums and mucous membranes healthy and also plays a role in our immune health. The nuts in this cake will provide you with a good dose of protein, for growth and repair, and healthy omega-3 fats for cardiovascular health and optimal brain function. Almonds are also a good source of calcium for strong healthy bones and teeth.
Healthy mango christmas fruit cake
375g mixed sun-dried fruit (date, apple, pear, apricot, sultanas)
425g can mangoes, diced (in natural juice) – keep the juice
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1¼ cups wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon allspice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup almond flakes
½ cup crushed walnuts
Preheat oven to 180*C (350*F/Gas 4). Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
In saucepan over medium heat, add mango with juice and dried fruit. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Place flour, baking powder, baking soda and all spice in a large bowl and combine well.
Mix lightly beaten eggs through dry mixture, until well combined.
Mix through fruit and almonds and walnuts.
Pour mixture into loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes. Cover with foil if becoming too brown. When cooked an inserted skewer should come out cleanly.
Allow to cool and then enjoy!