Alcohol is to some the perfect way to complement a meal and to others the quickest way to forget their troubles. Some people drink every night of the week, whilst others rarely consume alcohol, but when they do, it turns into an epic night of binge drinking. Whatever the amount of alcohol you consume, inevitably there is always the hangover that follows – a thundering headache, a mouth that feels like sandpaper and the need for sunglasses even when indoors.
There are a few factors that affect how hungover you are going to be. Firstly, and most obviously, it’s the amount of alcohol you’ve consumed. Also, your body type, build, weight and overall health can affect the level to which you feel the after-effects of a big night out. A smaller body type may actually feel the effects of alcohol more quickly as it may take less alcohol to become intoxicated. So the question is: what exactly is it that causes a hangover, and what can you do to help yourself so this experience isn’t so drawn out and painful?
Firstly, the hangover itself is a result of severe dehydration and nutrient depletion within your body. Alcohol increases urine production which leads to dehydration, headache, fatigue and dry mouth and eyes especially if fluids are not replaced. The body needs the B group vitamins to help breakdown all the alcohol too. Keeping this in mind, the best thing to do to minimise the effects of alcohol is to make sure that you are consuming water at various intervals during any drinking session. This allows the body to rehydrate and although it will not completely stop you getting a hangover, it will alleviate some of the discomfort that comes from the body being dehydrated.
Secondly, make sure that you eat while drinking alcohol to help replenish the nutrients the body uses to metabolise the alcohol. Prior to going out this festive season, drink plenty of water and eat a nutritious meal both before you go and after you come home. If you can manage it, even try to have some veggie sticks or crackers with mashed avocado before you crawl into bed. That way, whilst you sleep, you will replenish some of the macro and micro nutrients that have been used. Nothing beats feeling tip-top the day after a night of celebrating – so make sure you follow these steps to reduce dehydration after consuming alcohol, and remember the best way to prevent a hangover is to drink sensibly in moderation! 296
Author: Zoe Bingley-Pullin, Nutritionist and Chef
Founder of Nutritional Edge, Zoe Bingley-Pullin, has long been passionate about the food in our lives. A nutritionist (Diploma of Nutrition, Sydney) and internationally trained chef (Le Cordon Bleu School, London), Zoe helps people embrace the benefits of food through education and understanding.