Inside Sport - - INSIDER -

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

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