The New Year always brings a bad case of hangover for millions of Australians who party too hard.
Scientifically, there is no ‘magic cure’ for it. But the way to overcome a hangover can be in its prevention, rather than its treatment.
WHAT IS A HANGOVER?
The Australian government’s Health Direct website states that the hangover effect comes from how your body processes alcohol. Everyone is different and no two cases can be the same.
Common symptoms of a hangover are:
*Nausea, vomiting and aching tummy
BEST CURES FOR A HANGOVER
1. Doctors, scientists and nutritionists suggest those drinking alcohol must continue to drink water to avoid dehydration.
The US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that having around four drinks can eliminate between 600 and 1,000 millilitres (1 litre) of water from your body.
Those with a hangover today are advised to combine water with an electrolyte supplement to help overcome some of the symptoms.
2. Health Direct states one should try to eat simple food to boost the body’s blood sugar and settle the stomach. Sometimes a fried up breakfast can be worse, and irritate the stomach which can be affected by alcohol consumption. Eating a meal with protein, fat and carbohydrate before drinking slows the absorption of alcohol and does help “line your stomach”.
But … if it’s too late, a wholesome breakfast with a generous helping of spinach, mushrooms and beans can also provide important vitamins and minerals which may have been affected.
3. If you have a headache, doctors advise you take pain relief and go back to bed to sleep it off if possible.
4. Caffeine for any coffee lover will help wake the body up — but it’s not a cure for a hangover. But it can help reverse the effect of fatigue associated with a hangover.
5. ‘Hair of the Dog’ — the urban myth that if you start drinking again and one’s hangover will get better — has serious consequences. Sometimes the body needs up to 48 hours to recover and drinking can make it even worse.
6. Get some sleep.
CRAZY CURES TO TRY
There are many ways people have tried to overcome a hangover — some people swear by their methods, but others are subject to debate and have no scientific backing.
According to The Conversation, a number of products have emerged that claim to prevent or cure hangovers if consumed while drinking and/or the morning after.
Five products in Australia include Rapid Recovery, Recoverthol, Rejoove, Hydrodol and Body Armour.
These products contain various combinations of:
*Vitamins — B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (nicotinamide), B5 (calcium pantothenate), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cyanocobalamin) and C (ascorbic acid),
*Cysteine — an amino acid
*Herbs — silybum marianum (milk thistle), pueraria lobata (kudzu root) and hovenia dulcis (Japanese raisin tree).
The smallest number of ingredients in a product was three, the average 15 and the most 33. But none of them are a fullproof recipe for a cure.
Australian Medical Association President Dr Tony Bartone told Sky News today that the New Year was a good time to reset your life and health with “manageable goals”.
He said Australians needed to put measures in place to improve their state of health.
IF YOU COULD TURN BACK THE CLOCK
*Avoid alcoholic drinks with a higher concentration of congeners, a toxic chemical produced in some alcohol. Congeners can slow the metabolism of alcohol down. Drinks with low levels include gin, rum and vodka. But tequila, whiskey and cognac are all high in congeners.
*Health Direct advises that one should not drink more than what one’s body can handle.
*Don’t drink on an empty stomach.
*Drink slowly and don’t have more than one alcoholic drink every hour.
*Drink water or non-sparkling soft drinks in between each alcoholic drink.
*Drink water before bed.