Hangover cures: myth or merit? How to recover from the big night out.
Along with parties, presents and warm weather, hangovers can be a common feature of the festive season. So what popular hangover “cures” really work to speed up the recovery process?
The big breakfast: Ah, the greasy bacon-and-egg roll. Who hasn’t tried this one? Surprisingly, there is some evidence to suggest that eggs might not be such a bad choice the morning after – the yolks are rich in cysteine, a component of protein that scientists believe can break down one of the major end-products of alcohol metabolism, acetaldehyde, which is believed to “cause” hangovers.
But it’s wise to hold off on the greasy fry-up if you are nauseous. Light fare, such as toast, stewed fruit, flat lemonade, black tea with sugar, clear broth or boiled rice go down better on a delicate stomach.
Sports drinks: Essentially, you’re getting a nice big glass of water and the fluid is absorbed more effectively thanks to the electrolytes like sodium and potassium, and the light sugar content. The sugar helps counteract the blood sugar-lowering effect of alcohol and will settle your stomach – but you could just as well have a piece of toast and a glass of diluted fruit juice. Nothing mystical about this.
Painkillers: They may help ease a pounding head the morning after, with paracetamol (Panadol) being preferable to aspirin. This is because aspirin can irritate the stomach.
Hair of the dog: Having another drink may help – sometimes – but the results are only temporary. Why? Hangovers are partly caused by a toxic by-product of alcohol metabolism, called methanol. When you knock back a beer or a vodka the next day, the body’s enzymes, which have been busily breaking down methanol, will switch to work on the fresh alcohol. This means the breakdown of methanol is left until later. So while the presence of extra alcohol may dull the pain temporarily, unfortunately the reprieve will soon wear off, and when it does, your hangover could be back – with a vengeance! Brooke Longfield is Healthy Food Guide’s Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) and Exercise Physiologist, BSc (Nutrition) (Hons), BAppSc (Ex&SpSc) HELPING YOU MAKE EVERY MEAL HEALTHIER! AUSTRALIAN FROM PRACTICAL THE EXPERTS IDEAS