Hangover cures debunked: leading dietician Dr Phillips has her say
There's nothing worse than waking up after one too many drinks and feeling not so fresh, so if you're reaching for the wine or heading out for a few beers now that Dry January is a thing of the past, here's a few pointers to keep that dreaded hangover at bay.
1. Drinking coffee after a night out can help
“Drinking coffee can be helpful in a number of ways. Firstly, the fluid content will help with any feelings of dehydration as the body tries to excrete the toxins released after breaking down the alcohol.
“In the morning, if you’re a regular coffee drinker, have your usual cuppa to prevent the pounding headache that some people get. The caffeine in your coffee will also help you feel more alert and ready to tackle the day ahead.
On top of that, the potassium in coffee is useful to replenish your body’s electrolytes - the finely controlled balance of minerals in blood, sweat and urine.” Visit Coffee Friend here to find out more
2. Downing drinks filled with electrolytes
“Dehydration can be a real issue after drinking too much alcohol. This is especially true if you’ve experienced any vomiting. Sports drinks with simple sugars and added electrolytes are a way to rehydrate the body helping to normalise nerve and muscle function.
“The rehydration also comes with a hefty amount of sugar. This can give a bit of a short-term energy boost, but I’d suggest having some longer lasting complex carbs alongside to make that energy more sustainable.”
3. Eating greasy food in the morning
“Eating a pile of greasy food is not a helpful cure. However, eating a healthy snack could make you feel better. Some research has shown that a bacon butty can be a good way to ease a hangover.
“Peanut butter or a banana mashed on wholegrain toast are ideal snacks that can help with replenishing minerals lost and giving some sustainable energy without the excess salt - and they’re easy to make if you are feeling fragile.”
4. Toasting away your hangover with hair of the dog
“This is probably the worst thing you can do! Even the so-called Bloody Mary won’t do the trick - the salty drink might taste good. On the other hand, this will delay recovery as you will remain dehydrated. Your liver is working away to metabolise the alcohol and the ‘hair of the dog’ simply loads more alcohol into your body while it’s trying to break down the alcohol that you’ve already had.”
5. Sleeping off your hangover
“Alcohol can play havoc with sleep, so tiredness is definitely a factor in suffering with a hangover the next day. Instead of sleeping it off, try to get up at your normal time, have a cup of coffee or tea, if that’s your usual morning routine.
The caffeine will help you to ‘wake up’ and prevent any caffeine ‘withdrawal’ headaches. It’s better to have an early night the following night and catch up on sleep gradually over the next few days - without any alcohol disturbing your sleep again.”
6. Whipping up a smoothie after
“Smoothies provide another way to get fluid and electrolytes, especially potassium, back on track and in balance after a heavy night of drinking. Sadly, there is no magic recipe or ingredient that will be sure to make your liver detoxify the alcohol quickly.
“The fluids and simple sugars can help with rehydration as the body tries to excrete the toxins released after breaking down the alcohol. Go steady on the portion size with smoothies, though, as they can be very high in free sugars - just 150ml is enough!”