I shouldn’t have one, more importantly I shouldn’t admit that I have one but there is no denying that this pounding in my head and shaking in my hand is due to last night’s indulgences. I’m here wallowing in self-pity, regret and a touch of nausea but worst of all is the prospect of the school run!
It’s true, I admit it, nutritionists do go to the pub, even on a school night. Its great fun at the time and I feel like nothing matters. But in the morning what actually does matter is that I have a baby who needs me, a child who needs a packed lunch and a partner who can quite frankly deal with himself today.
So I have a small window to sort myself out before the manic morning of breakfasts, school runs and singing nursery rhymes starts. As a mother I’m used to surviving on broken sleep, its the addition of alcohol that puts a spanner in the body’s ability to function properly on four hours.
So here it is: Emma’s top tips to post-party survival
Boost your blood sugar
The lack of energy, low moods and general apathy associated with a hangover is because your blood sugar has plummeted. Eating slow-releasing carbs with some protein helps raise and maintain your sugar levels. Things like wholemeal toast with nut butter or eggs are perfect. We usually crave crisps and pizza but these actually make us feel worse and more lethargic. It’s better to eat a hearty, balanced breakfast and the cravings will disappear. While sugar and caffeine will boost your blood sugar quickly, they get it crashing back down just as fast so avoid these.
Look after you liver
Headaches, nausea and sweating are all indications that the liver is overworked and struggling to do its job. B vitamins and vitamin C help the liver detoxify alcohol, so it’s a good idea to eat foods rich in these and supplement to make up for losses through drinking.
Certain foods can also help directly stimulate the liver, helping to flush out toxins. We love carrots, beetroot, ginger, cruciferous veg (broccoli, kale, watercress, radish etc), turmeric, berries and garlic best. If you don’t feel like eating them, juicing is a great way to give your body a boost.
A major part of hangovers is dehydration. This interrupts the flow of oxygen to the brain making you feel dizzy, nauseous and weak. On top of this the diuretic action of alcohol means you lose electrolytes from your body so replacing potassium is a good idea. Don’t just opt for a sports drink, a better option is coconut water which is rich in electrolytes and great for a hangover. Avoid coffee which can irritate your gut and stress out your liver further. And check out our hangover-busting smoothie recipes.
A generous intake of these will help mop up the toxins created and also help bring your energy levels up. Antioxidants are found in fruit and veg, the more colourful the better. A raw carrot doesn’t really do it for me when I feel like this, but carrot, apple and ginger juice is a great way to give you a boost. If you can’t get hold of (or be bothered to make) fresh juices or smoothies, a good alternative to try is Cherry Active. This comes in a cordial-type form and just 30mls contains the equivalent antioxidants of roughly 20 portions of fruit and veg. That’s a pretty easy way to get a health fix.
An old study and much anecdotal evidence indicate that taking glutamine may reduce a hangover. Glutamine is an amino acid known for being good for the liver, the gut and also helping produce GABA – the feel-good hormone. You’ll need about 5 grams (one heaped spoon) of the powder both before drinking and also the morning after. It’s easy to find glutamine as it’s a key supplement for sports enthusiasts.
Do you have any favourite hangover cures? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to keep up with the latest nutrition news, healthy recipes and articles written by your Nutritional Therapists Emma and Caroline.