Chartered physiotherapist, acupuncturist and naturopath, Hans van de Braak, pictured right, gives his advice on how to beat the festive season hangover:
“As a physiotherapist, naturopath and acupuncturist, I am often asked by friends and family for medical advice. However, around Christmas and New Year I find people seeking my professional expertise on the best way of dealing with the after effects of a celebratory tipple or two. Of course, the best way to avoid a hangover is not to drink too much, but human nature being what it is, the best advice is rarely taken, ” says Han who practices at the Integrated Medicine Practice in Leicestershire.
“And unless you are one of those strong willed souls who manage to resist the lure of the grape or the grain, you may well find yourself in need of some advice during the festive season.
Whats your poison?
When you drink too much alcohol you are, in effect, poisoning your body. Your liver is working overtime to break down the ethanol whilst the dehydrating effect of alcohol forces your body to take water from wherever it can find it including your brain. This causes the cells, now depleted of moisture, to shrink, inducing the pain commonly known as a headache. Drinking too much also drains the body of vital vitamins and minerals especially vitamins A, B and C. This means that any basic hangover treatment should include restoring as much lost moisture as possible whilst replacing the nutrients that your body has lost. So, before you reach for the aspirin, consider some alternative remedies that may be more effective, more natural and more easily available.
Hans Top Five Hangover Treatments
1. Probably the most well known and effective advice, but still so often ignored drink plenty of water before, during after and taking in alcohol. Its got a lot going for it: in plentiful supply and absolutely free if drunk straight from the tap. The more water you can drink, the more quickly it flushes out the liver and rehydrates your poor, aching body. Be sure to avoid drinks containing caffeine as these will only dehydrate you more.
2. Also avoid aspirin and ibuprofen if possible as these tend to irritate the stomach. Instead, try a more natural remedy such as aloe vera. In a concentrated form, such as Aloeride®, aloe vera is the perfect ingredient for an upset stomach as it placates the stomach lining, and settles that horrible queasy feeling. Try taking a couple before you go out, and then a couple the morning after. See www.aloeride.eu for more information.
3. Fruit: another natural and easily available remedy. Bananas are good source of fructose and potassium both of which are lost when you drink too much alcohol. They are also a natural antacid, rich in magnesium to help ease a throbbing head. Fruit juice is another effective treatment, although it can be a little acid on a delicate stomach. This works well because the fructose in the juice burns up the residual alcohol in the stomach speeding up recovery. If it is too acidic for a sensitive tum, try watering it down.
4. Sweat it out! Head to your nearest sauna or steam room if you can face it (and youre not still over the limit). Alternatively, walk there as a blast of fresh air will certainly do you good. If that is simply too much exertion, run a hot bath and bask in the steam, sweating out all those nasty toxins.
5. Eat! Make sure that you eat properly before you go out: whilst food doesnt actually absorb alcohol, it does increase your metabolism and speeds up the bodys processes enabling it to deal with the effects of overindulgence more quickly. The traditional fry up even if you can face it – is best avoided. Choose foods that will release sugar slowly and provide you with a much needed shot of protein to build up those amino acids. Baked beans, scrambled eggs and porridge tick all the right boxes porridge also works well to neutralise acid.
Whilst following these golden rules wont necessarily prevent you having a hangover, they will certainly reduce its effects and speed up your recovery time. With any luck, within a matter of hours youll be up and about and in fine fettle – ready to go out and do it all over again although I really wouldnt recommend it!