Christmas and New Year, as I mentioned in my last article, is a time for not only presents, food and family but also for lots of booze; inevitably followed by a massive hangover to bring in the start of the new year.
Alcohol or ethanol is immediately metabolized once ingested into the body and is the most calorie dense macronutrient behind fat (7.2 cal per gram vs 9 cal per gram for fat). Whilst many of us avoid fat like the plague, we still don’t think twice about the number of colourful and efficacious ways we get drunk on these special occasions.
After a successful night of acute alcoholism and flirting with delirium we don’t always follow the previous night’s consumption up with the most effective ways of purging the self inflicted evil from our bodies. As we all know, there is no miracle hangover cure (unfortunately), but below, I’ve explained some of the best ways to ease the pain the morning after and try to avoid a hangover.
• During the first drinks of the evening (or day...) consume a low fat meal, high in protein and carbs (if you are particularly concerned with weight gain then have more fibrous vegetables and fewer carbs, which should also have a similar effect). This has been shown to reduce the rate of gastric emptying and delay the speed at which alcohol will enter your system. This in turn will give your liver more time to metabolize/break down the alcohol.
• More reasoned advice would recommend you to be temperate with the amount you consume and not to saturate yourself too much, know your limits. Conservative, sensible, endorsed by health boards but quite frankly, inherently dull and widely ignored.
• Dance, round of shots, repeat. Possibly... but definitely the dancing. This will help up-regulate alcohol clearance by increasing the rate of breathing, body temperature (increases in sweating also helps) and a subsequent increase of enzyme activity within the liver (of which sadly men have more than women... another pint sir?).
• So the night is over... You have taken on board all my advice, but still failed to control yourself. You’ve just text your ex boyfriend or girlfriend in desperation and you’ve now thrown up on yourself as a final confirmation of the mess you’ve become. Try and remember though, that now is not the time for pain killers as this will only labour your liver even more as it currently has quite enough to deal with.
• The next morning when you are feeling awful about yourself physically and mentally, if you able to move then set yourself the target of walking to the nearest shop and buying a rehydration drink. The walk will provide some light exercise as mentioned above, and the rehydration drink will start to bring your blood sugar and electrolyte levels back to normal. It may now be time for some drugs, both pain killers and antacids for your ransacked stomach as required.
• If you are a regular coffee drinker then after a few hours it may be worth having a coffee so that you are not dealing with caffeine with drawls on a hangover, but not too much as it is a diuretic.
Once you are on the way out of the hangover gauntlet it may then be time to start trying to get rid of the psychological trauma, for which I am still trying to find a cure.
Look after yourselves and have a great New Year.