Hang­over cures prom­ise so much but de­liver so lit­tle. So un­til science fi­nally pops out the ‘hang­over pill’, here are some sim­ple strate­gies to ease the pain.

Healthy Food Guide (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

Sur­viv­ing the silly sea­son

The silly sea­son is here — and if you’ve ever ex­pe­ri­enced a bad hang­over, you’ll know just how its cock­tail of tired­ness, headache, nau­sea and re­duced con­cen­tra­tion can hit you for six. It’s no real sur­prise that ex­ces­sive al­co­hol will make you feel un­well af­ter­wards — it’s a toxin, af­ter all. So, here’s what you can do.


Al­co­hol is a di­uretic, which helps ex­plain the de­hy­dra­tion and much of the re­gret you feel the day af­ter drink­ing too much. Fre­quent trips to the toi­let dur­ing the night mean poor sleep, which makes you even more tired the next day.

But the symp­toms of a hang­over can’t all be blamed on de­hy­dra­tion. Al­co­hol ir­ri­tates the stom­ach, which leads to in­flam­ma­tion and also causes the di­ges­tive sys­tem to pro­duce more gas­tric acid. This con­trib­utes to the nau­sea and queasy stom­ach you ex­pe­ri­ence when you’ve drunk too much and wake up with a hang­over.

But, sorry folks, it gets worse! When your body metabolises al­co­hol, it cre­ates a toxic by-prod­uct called ac­etalde­hyde, and ac­etalde­hyde build-up can lead to nau­sea, vom­it­ing and headaches.

You may have been told that dark-coloured spir­its, such as whisky and rum, as well as red wine, can make your hang­over worse. Well, you heard cor­rectly. Th­ese types of drinks are high in dis­til­la­tion and fer­men­ta­tion prod­ucts known as con­geners, which in­ten­sify the ef­fects of al­co­hol on a hang­over. So, there may just be some­thing to be said for choos­ing white wine over red, or a vodka in­stead of a bour­bon.

reme­dies: myth vs fact A greasy break­fast?

Who hasn’t tried a good ol’ ba­con and egg roll to help put the ‘lin­ing’ back on your stom­ach? in fact, the ben­e­fit the next day is prob­a­bly more akin to a placebo ef­fect — but if it makes you feel bet­ter, that isn’t such a bad thing. you gain the most ben­e­fit from food, how­ever, by eat­ing be­fore you go out drink­ing, be­cause it helps slow down the ab­sorp­tion of al­co­hol from your stom­ach.

A strong cof­fee?

Caf­feine will help make you more alert — but it will do lit­tle to help sober you up. a study that looked at the ef­fects of caf­feinated ver­sus non-caf­feinated al­co­holic drinks on a sim­u­lated driv­ing task found that caf­feine did not di­min­ish the ef­fects of al­co­hol on driv­ing abil­ity or re­ac­tion time.

A re­fresh­ing sports drink?

One thing that will cer­tainly help your hang­over is re­hy­drat­ing your­self. this is where those pop­u­lar sports drinks may just help, as they speed up wa­ter ab­sorp­tion and re­place elec­trolytes lost through in­creased uri­na­tion. Hav­ing one be­fore bed may be a good pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure too.

‘Hair of the dog’?

One age-old ap­proach is to try to drink your­self out of a hang­over. Bloody Mary for break­fast, any­one? Not sur­pris­ingly, all this does is de­lay the hang­over as your body switches to metabolis­ing the new al­co­hol you’ve in­gested. leave the hair on the dog!

Dr Tim Crowe is an Ad­vanced Ac­cred­ited Prac­tis­ing Di­eti­tian and nu­tri­tion re­search sci­en­tist. Con­nect with him at think­ingnu­tri­

Did you know? Al­co­hol in­take triples over the Christ­mas break

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