There won’t be as many liquid lunches and crazy parties this year but Covid or no Covid Christmas is still going to be a time where we may overindulge. Find out how to make sure your liver is still talking to you come January.
Alcohol is a diuretic. It causes our kidneys to send water straight to the bladder rather than reabsorbing it, making us pee more. In fact we can lose up to 4 times as much liquid as we consume and minerals like potassium can also be flushed out.
Dehydration is usually the cause of the headache that comes with a hangover. Help your liver and kidneys by drinking a glass of water between each alcoholic drink or if you drink white wine, try having spritzers. Always end a night out (or in) with a pint or two of water.
Don’t mix and match
Chemicals produced during the fermentation process called congeners are thought to make hangover symptoms worse. These are found in higher quantity in red wine and darker spirits like brandy and whiskey. Congeners from different drinks can react with each other and make you feel even worse, so stick to one type of drink, ideally lighter in colour and avoid lots of cocktails
Slow down, let your liver catch up
Your liver can only process about ½ oz of alcohol (one standard drink measure) per hour and some people can manage much less. So pace yourself. Not overdoing it is the best way to avoid a massive hangover.
The morning after
There are lots of so-called hangover remedies and old wife’s tales, from burnt toast to pickled herrings in Germany. The ‘hair of the dog’ is just prolonging the inevitable. In reality, there is no miracle cure, except time. However, there are a few things that can help – or hinder – symptoms.
What to avoid
- Limit caffeine. Too much caffeine will only add to dehydration and give your liver more work to do. Green tea is a better option than coffee
- Avoid painkillers if you can. Paracetemol needs to be metabolised by your already overworked liver. While anti-inflammatory action of aspirin should help some symptoms, it can cause stomach irritation
What may help your liver
- B vitamins are needed by your liver to process and detoxify alcohol so taking a B complex or a good multivitamin that contains b vitamins like Revive Active can help
- Vitamin C can also help to protect your liver after drinking alcohol. Try eating some fresh fruit or drinking a smoothie
- Fatigue is often exacerbated by low blood sugar, a rebound effect from alcohol. So eat something! Eggs are high in cysteine, an amino acid thought to help break down toxic by-products of alcohol. Try poached eggs, tomatoes and a wholegrain bagel or scrambled eggs and smoked salmon
- If eggs feel like a step too far, drink a smoothie to prop up blood sugar levels and rehydrate. Include
- Coconut water – full of natural electolytes, to help restore hydration and mineral levels, especially potassium
- Fresh ginger – helps reduce nausea
- Pineapple or berries – good source of vitamin C
- Banana & avocado – contain potassium
- If you can’t even face that, then sipping hot water with lemon and fresh ginger or mint can help quell nausea and hydrate
- Get some exercise or even a walk in fresh air. This will help boost circulation and increase the elimination of alcohol
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