We’ve been drinking more alcohol than ever this year because of the pandemic.
With possible lockdowns looming in some parts of the country in these final days before Christmas, chances are some of us are more tempted to reach for a cold drink than ever before.
But the last thing we need right now is a raging headache – so what can you do to defeat one? There is a lot speculation about what we can do to alleviate these dreadful symptoms.
December and January are the booziest time of the year for Aussies, according to ABS data.
It shows alcohol consumption is up in Australia with the average person drinking 9.7 litres of pure alcohol last year.
WHAT CAUSES A HANGOVER?
The Alcohol Hangover Research Group (AHRG) says lazy scientists have been neglecting hangover research for years.
It adds that this has led to a common misconception that they are caused by dehydration – which has not been backed up by any credible scientific research.
Rather, AHRG scientifically define a hangover is “a combination of mental and physical symptoms, experienced the day after a single episode of heavy drinking, starting when blood alcohol concentration approaches zero”, on its website.
Basically, drinking takes all the things our body needs and replaces it with pure nastiness.
AHRG’s Dr Sally Adams told The Australian there are, in fact, many causes, including dehydration, but also inflammation, electrolyte imbalance, sleep disturbance, alcohol metabolism and low blood sugar.
Brilliant, but how do we get rid of this dreadful feeling? Here are just some of the ways you can give your hangover a kicking.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
GP Dr Zac Turner says the easiest and most effective way to beat a hangover is to drink water – and lots of it.
“Drink water, plenty of water, during the night and then plenty of water before you go to bed. You will be amazed how you feel the next day,” the news.com.au columnist advises.
SNACK ON NUTS
Dr Zac also suggests eating a meal high in natural fats before you kick off your session, explaining natural fats slow down your gastric motility.
“The longer food stays in your stomach, the slower the alcohol gets absorbed in your stomach. So load up on salmon and avocado,” he said.
Snack on a couple of handfuls of nuts while you’re drinking too as these contain B vitamins which rapidly get depleted when you drink.
“Just be careful not to load up on salted nuts that will dehydrate you even more,” he warns.
DOSE UP ON ELECTROLYTES
Another way to beat your hangover is to get some electrolyte’s into you. Dr Zac recommends sipping on a cold glass of coconut water for a major potassium boost and advises against a sugary sports drink.
News.com.au’s Lifestyle Editor Rebekah Scanlan prefers to add two electrolyte tablets to a glass of water before a drinking session – or as a last resort, does it before going to bed.
“Aldi sell a pack of 20 for $5.49 which is $10 cheaper than the leading chemist brand and works out at just 27c a tablet,” she said.
“It’s my go-to and really helps take the edge off that dreaded fuzzy feeling. Not bad for 54c.”
It’s also a hot tip shared by several social media users who rave about the affordable hangover cure.
IBUPROFEN, WASHED DOWN WITH GRAPEFRUIT JUICE
Nutritionist Hannah Richards said drinking grapefruit juice was the best way to speed up your recovery – after taking an Ibuprofen.
She said the juice limits the activity of the enzyme that breaks down drugs, giving the Ibuprofen more of a chance to get to work.
Richards said to avoid aspirin which can upset your stomach.
Eastern Europeans and Russians are renowned for their drinking ability so they should have a good cure too, right?
In the midst of bleak Baltic winter, vodka-swiggers swear by drinking pickle juice – which allegedly replenishes the electrolytes your body lost the night before and perks you up a bit.
Just don’t forget to pinch your nose.
If you have a well-stocked pantry and fridge you most likely have what you need to cure any hangover. You may feel like a greasy burger or fry-up but steamed asparagus helps break down the alcohol, enabling toxins to exit your system.
Eggs are also a winner as they have a high level of cysteine, an amino acid which helps breakdown toxins. Bananas are also good as they are full of potassium, and ginger is a well-known cure for nausea, so try adding some to fresh juice or water. Finally, try a spoonful of honey as it is made up of fructose which helps breakdown the alcohol.
GO FOR A RUN
This would be at the bottom of most people’s to-list on a chronically-hungover sweltering Aussie summer day.
But apparently, if you make sure you’re nicely rehydrated, a bit of light exercise sparks up your metabolism and releases endorphins. However, no scientific studies have proved this – so we’re just going off speculation from crazed gym junkies here.
Many people swear by the classic “hair-of-the-dog” technique but medics advise otherwise, saying you should give 48 hours before drinking any more alcohol to give your body time to recover.
Dr Zac said you should always drink responsibly and remember the best way to avoid a hangover is not to drink at all.