For many the holiday season is a time to celebrate with friends and family, gifts, good food and of course alcohol. Whether it’s a couple of glasses in the evening or an alcohol aided-family gathering, it's important we drink responsibly and enjoy it in moderation.
That being said, we have all experienced waking up to a pounding head, tired and irritated with an empty stomach. Unfortunately, there simply isn’t a proven cure for a hangover. The true cure to a hangover is not drinking excessive alcohol in the first place, however, the right nutrition and a few smart tips can help relieve the symptoms.
Why do we get hungover?
One of the main reasons for a hangover is dehydration. Alcohol is known as a diuretic as it blocks the production of an important hormone called ADH. This hormone normally tells our kidneys not to release water and keep it within our body. Suppressing this causes us to urinate more dehydrating us . Not only does this dehydrate our muscles but our skin and organs, which cause many common symptoms we associate we a hangover- headaches, irritation, stiffness, and soreness.
The other big things we lose from alcohol are electrolytes. Electrolytes are charged chemicals that conduct electricity when dissolved in water in our body. Chemicals like sodium, potassium and calcium are essential for muscle and nerve functions as well as playing roles in hydration. We generally sweat out electrolytes during physical activity, which is why sports marketed ‘isotonic’ drinks are filled with them. We also lose these through fluid loss, which again alcohol promotes.
Foods for a fast recovery
Whilst the only the real cure for a hangover is hindsight, there is plenty of evidence showing good nutrition before a drinking session, and certain foods the day after can help minimise the symptoms. Firstly, the number one rule is to never drink on an empty stomach, eating foods high in salt and fat prior may slow the absorption of alcohol into the blood allowing your body more time to metabolise and process it .
Alcohol inhibits breaking down and processing of many nutrients in our bodies. Because of this a heavy drinking session we leave us diminished in important nutrients including many B vitamins, zinc, and folic acid. Vitamin B12 and B1 are essential nutrients for the maintenance of healthy blood as well as the metabolism of macronutrients like fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. A lack of these vitamins makes you feel tired and lethargic during a hangover, luckily these vitamins are found in pretty much anything green and leafy. Spinach, broccoli, and peas may not look as appetising as a greasy pizza the day after, but your body will forgive and forget much quicker from a hearty green meal. A lack of zinc also pays toward lacking energy, this can be found in many lean meats and legumes .
Look after yourself
The science speaks for itself but its hard to have the appetite and effort to make a nutritious meal when you want to lay in bed the whole day. In that case enjoy some comfort food- who said it had to be unhealthy? Toast, oats, noodles and even soups are a tasty way to keep our carb cravings happy whilst kick starting our metabolism. Once our stomachs have kick started, we can always get the important vitamins and minerals from healthy snacks or supplements.
That’s where Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful® range of seaweed supplements can help. Each product contains organic Hebridean seaweed which is naturally rich in the essential nutrient iodine. Ensuring you take a capsule a day will keep your energy levels up and boost your mental performance to help you stay healthy this holiday.
For more information on the range and their benefits, click here.