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Ahhh….the dreaded hangover. We’ve all experienced it (yes me too – I am a naturopath but I’m also a real person!). No one wants to wake up feeling sideways with a pounding head, nausea and exhausted! Now abstaining from alcohol completely (OK I had to say it!) is obviously the easiest way to avoid a hangover, but if you must partake in some festive drinking this silly season, try these tips to avoid waking up the next day a very cranky and hungover bear.
Guzzle the Good Stuff
Now by good stuff I mean water, not top shelf liquor (although consuming high quality, clear and double-distilled alcohol may reduce hangover symptoms too!). Alcohol is a diuretic (it makes you urinate more frequently), which makes you more prone to becoming dehydrated. This is not good news for those trying to avoid a hangover. Dehydration magnifies the feeling of a hangover and makes your skin look pretty bad the morning after too. Swapping every second alcoholic drink with water, or a sparkling mineral water keeps your fluid levels up but also reduces the amount of alcohol you consume, which will also have a positive impact on your hangover.
OK, so I’m not talking about a drunken souvlaki on the way home (this is guaranteed to give you garlic breath the next morning, but it won’t keep a hangover away!). Some people get so caught up in drinking that they forget to eat, and this can have a huge impact on how big your hangover will be. Eating a good meal before you drink, or eating alongside your drinking (I think eating is more interesting than drinking anyway!) will not only make you drink less, but also slows down the absorption of alcohol so you can still enjoy the buzz without getting blotto.
Look After Your Liver
Different people metabolise alcohol in different ways and gender, liver size, genetics, and body size all play a part. Because most alcohol is detoxified through the liver, this is the organ which needs the most love and support if you want to avoid a hangover. Milk Thistle and the active constituent Silymarin, has become the poster child for preventing a hangover, and that’s because it has a healing and restorative effect on the liver. Studies have found that this herb protects liver cells and supports growth and generation of this very important organ. Taking Milk Thistle before and after excess alcohol consumption may help you avoid a hangover. Ask your naturopath (or ask me!) what form and products are best for you to take.
Try Some Homeopathics
INux Vomica (great name isn’t it!) is probably the number one homeopathic remedy for hangovers. It’s a great remedy for overindulgence of any kind (including that caused by having the fifth helping of food on Christmas day), so keep it handy this festive season. Symptoms that Nux Vomica really helps with are bloating, nausea, headaches and when you feel oversensitive to light and noise. You can pick this up from your local health food store.
So now I hope you feel armed with some good tips for sailing through the silly season without a hangover. Wishing you all a fun and happy festive season. If you feel like you have overindulged and need some help getting back on track, come and see me for a naturopathic consultation.