Top tips for beating a hangover

Top tips for beating a hangover Top tips for beating a hangover

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Open Quote Lucy Stephens talks hangover cures

Party, alcohol and little sleep are going to be dominating our lives over the coming weeks, how will we ever get through it all and see in 2012?

Lucy Stephens is a qualified medical herbalist and reflexologist, she's here to give us her top tips and share her knowledge that will help see us through the coming weeks.

Visit her site to get even more useful information, www.revaclinic.com

Trust me, it's information that you'll want to know.

Before going out, is there anything we can do to help ease the hangover?

Milk thistle would be a good herb to take before heading out as lots of studies have shown it is able to protect the liver cells from damage by toxins, as well as helping the liver to regenerate when it has been damaged. The active part of the herb is called silymarin, which is insoluble in water so it is best taken as a tablet. You can buy milk thistle from most health food shops and you should follow the dose instructions on the packet.

What should we do whilst we're out to help ease it too?

One of the main causes of hangover symptoms such as dizziness, dry mouth and weakness, is dehydration. Alcohol causes the body to increase urinary output – hence you need to make more trips to the loo once you’re out – and so depletes the body of water. Drinking water between alcoholic drinks can help to prevent dehydration.

Alcohol directly irritates the stomach lining, particularly with alcoholic drinks that have a higher percentage of alcohol (15%+), it is this irritation that gives you symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting that can happen with a hangover. Eating before you drink can help to avoid some of this irritation and it also slows the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream so the effects of alcohol are less rapid.

Choose your drink with care: research has shown that alcoholic beverages that have more pure ethanol such as gin or vodka give less hangover effects than others such as whisky, brandy or red wine which have other biologically active compounds in that are produced during fermentation, aging or processing. One specific compound implicated in hangovers is methanol. Methanol is very similar to ethanol but when they are broken down in the body, the by-products of methanol are highly toxic and are slower to be excreted from the body than ethanol by-products – brandy, whisky and red wine have some of the highest concentrations of methanol.

What's your favourite hangover cure?

The dehydration that occurs with alcohol consumption can cause an electrolyte imbalance in the body. Some key electrolytes are calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium.

So my best hangover tip is to try to get back some of the nutrients that have been lost by having a vegetable juice or smoothie and a banana or coconut water. It might not be quite what you’re craving after a big night, but it will make you feel better than a big greasy fry up!

Juicing breaks down the vegetables so you get a quicker absorption of the nutrients, conversely juicing fruit eleases the sugar it contains giving you a blood-sugar rush so it’s better to eat your fruit. Try using any vegetables you would eat raw and focus on the green vegetables such as celery, cucumber, kale, lettuce, # parsley, coriander. Adding some lemon and a little ginger is also nice.

Once you’ve made your juice, drink it straight away otherwise it starts to oxidise and the nutrients break down. If you don’t have a juicer, you could try blending the vegetables instead to make a smoothie adding avocado to make it creamy. Bananas and coconut water are high in potassium which will also have been lost in the urine the night before. Finally I would take more milk thistle to help protect your liver.

What sort of tips do you have to help keep us going through the party season?

Try and eat as healthily as possible – lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as good quality proteins. When we’re tired and rundown, we might be craving sugar and refined carbs but it’s protein not sugar that we need to stay awake and focused.

Herbs such as Rhodeola rosea and Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginsing) can help to reduce feelings of fatigue. Chamomile, dandelion and nettle can help to improve digestion and help keep your bowel regular. Digestive complaints have been linked to low mood, poor skin, and reduced energy.

What's your view on detoxing? Do you think it's beneficial? If yes, what sort of detox should we go for?

I don’t think it’s necessary to go to extremes in terms of weird and wonderful diets or body wrapping in clingfilm etc - our bodies have a remarkable capacity to cope with the demands we place on them and the liver is able to detoxify virtually everything we throw at it.

However, symptoms such as fatigue, low mood, poor concentration and a foggy head are all signs that the body is not functioning at its optimal level and in these situations I would advise my patients to have a break from substances such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, sugar and refined foods.

I advise them to increase the amount of vegetables in their diet (particularly green veg) - as discussed above, juicing or smoothies are a great way to get vitamins and minerals into the body. It is particularly important that the vegetables are raw, as raw vegetables contain lots of enzymes that are needed for all sorts of processes in the body including digestion, and cooking breaks these enzymes down.

I also suggest increasing good quality proteins in the diet such as lean meat, fish of any kind and eggs. Amino acids (which are what proteins are made of) are the key regulators of energy balance in the body and help maintain blood sugar levels. Chlorella and spirulina are forms of algae which contain lots of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals which have been shown to boost the immune system and act as antioxidants, so it can be useful to supplement these too.

Finally I recommend exercise – our bodies are made to move, not to sit around all day slumped in our chair. Exercise increases motivation, improves sleep, gives us energy and keeps us healthy, it shouldn’t just be thought of as a weight-loss tool!

Taryn Davies

Party, alcohol and little sleep are going to be dominating our lives over the coming weeks, how will we ever get through it all and see in 2012?

Lucy Stephens is a qualified medical herbalist and reflexologist, she's here to give us her top tips and share her knowledge that will help see us through the coming weeks.

Visit her site to get even more useful information, www.revaclinic.com

Trust me, it's information that you'll want to know.

Before going out, is there anything we can do to help ease the hangover?

Milk thistle would be a good herb to take before heading out as lots of studies have shown it is able to protect the liver cells from damage by toxins, as well as helping the liver to regenerate when it has been damaged. The active part of the herb is called silymarin, which is insoluble in water so it is best taken as a tablet. You can buy milk thistle from most health food shops and you should follow the dose instructions on the packet.

What should we do whilst we're out to help ease it too?

One of the main causes of hangover symptoms such as dizziness, dry mouth and weakness, is dehydration. Alcohol causes the body to increase urinary output – hence you need to make more trips to the loo once you’re out – and so depletes the body of water. Drinking water between alcoholic drinks can help to prevent dehydration.

Alcohol directly irritates the stomach lining, particularly with alcoholic drinks that have a higher percentage of alcohol (15%+), it is this irritation that gives you symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting that can happen with a hangover. Eating before you drink can help to avoid some of this irritation and it also slows the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream so the effects of alcohol are less rapid.

Choose your drink with care: research has shown that alcoholic beverages that have more pure ethanol such as gin or vodka give less hangover effects than others such as whisky, brandy or red wine which have other biologically active compounds in that are produced during fermentation, aging or processing. One specific compound implicated in hangovers is methanol.Methanol is very similar to ethanol but when they are broken down in the body, the by-products of methanol are highly toxic and are slower to be excreted from the body than ethanol by-products – brandy, whisky and red wine have some of the highest concentrations of methanol.

What's your favourite hangover cure?

The dehydration that occurs with alcohol consumption can cause an electrolyte imbalance in the body. Some key electrolytes are calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium.

So my best hangover tip is to try to get back some of the nutrients that have been lost by having a vegetable juice or smoothie and a banana or coconut water. It might not be quite what you’re craving after a big night, but it will make you feel better than a big greasy fry up!

Juicing breaks down the vegetables so you get a quicker absorption of the nutrients, conversely juicing fruit releases the sugar it contains giving you a blood-sugar rush so it’s better to eat your fruit. Try using any vegetables you would eat raw and focus on the green vegetables such as celery, cucumber, kale, lettuce, parsley, coriander. Adding some lemon and a little ginger is also nice.

Once you’ve made your juice, drink it straight away otherwise it starts to oxidise and the nutrients break down. If you don’t have a juicer, you could try blending the vegetables instead to make a smoothie adding avocado to make it creamy. Bananas and coconut water are high in potassium which will also have been lost in the urine the night before. Finally I would take more milk thistle to help protect your liver.

What sort of tips do you have to help keep us going through the party season?

Try and eat as healthily as possible – lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as good quality proteins. When we’re tired and rundown, we might be craving sugar and refined carbs but it’s protein not sugar that we need to stay awake and focused.

Herbs such as Rhodeola rosea and Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginsing) can help to reduce feelings of fatigue. Chamomile, dandelion and nettle can help to improve digestion and help keep your bowel regular. Digestive complaints have been linked to low mood, poor skin, and reduced energy.

What's your view on detoxing? Do you think it's beneficial? If yes, what sort of detox should we go for?

I don’t think it’s necessary to go to extremes in terms of weird and wonderful diets or body wrapping in clingfilm etc - our bodies have a remarkable capacity to cope with the demands we place on them and the liver is able to detoxify virtually everything we throw at it.

I advise them to increase the amount of vegetables in their diet (particularly green veg) - as discussed above, juicing or smoothies are a great way to get vitamins and minerals into the body. It is particularly important that the vegetables are raw, as raw vegetables contain lots of enzymes that are needed for all sorts of processes in the body including digestion, and cooking breaks these enzymes down.

I also suggest increasing good quality proteins in the diet such as lean meat, fish of any kind and eggs. Amino acids (which are what proteins are made of) are the key regulators of energy balance in the body and help maintain blood sugar levels. Chlorella and spirulina are forms of algae which contain lots of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals which have been shown to boost the immune system and act as antioxidants, so it can be useful to supplement these too.

Finally I recommend exercise – our bodies are made to move, not to sit around all day slumped in our chair. Exercise increases motivation, improves sleep, gives us energy and keeps us healthy, it shouldn’t just be thought of as a weight-loss tool! Close Quote