Hangover: Truths, Myths and Weirdest Cures
'A hangover is shorthand for a collection of unpleasant symptoms that you may experience after drinking too much alcohol'.
TRUTHS and MYTHS
TRUTHS • Eat before you start drinking: food in your stomach - especially carbs and starch such as pasta and bananas - slows down the absorption of alcohol into your blood
• Don't drink dark liquors such as red wine, brandy or whiskey, which have higher concentrations of congeners, chemicals that are toxic to the body
• Don't mix drinks, because you will only end up drinking more
• Avoid eating spicy foods - such as a curry or kebab - after drinking as they may upset your stomach
• Follow every drink with a glass of water to keep yourself hydrated, and drink plenty of water before you go to bed
• Get some fresh air: walk home with friends as exercise helps increases the metabolism of alcohol
• Avoid drinking too much!
• As a rule, men should not drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day, women more than 2-3 units
• If you overindulge at a party, avoid alcohol for 48 hours afterwards
• Vitamin B is your friend. Eat a bowl of whole grain cereal, topped with a banana to replenish lost potassium.
• Drink an action packed recovery shake to replace lost nutrition and start repairing the cellular damage. SHAKE IT IDEAS
• Eggs: may have a beneficial effect on reducing the effects of a hangover because they contain an amino acid called cysteine which breaks down the toxin acetaldehyde, produced by too much alcohol consumption
MYTHS • Eat fatty foods: alcohol causes blood sugar to fall, which tricks your body into thinking it needs calories. We crave fatty foods as they are the most concentrated form of energy, but they don't make us feel better
• Hair-of-the-dog: there's no evidence that having another alcoholic drink in the morning reduces the symptoms of a hangover. More likely, it is just a temporary effect that postpones the effects of a hangover
• Eat before bedtime: this will not absorb all the booze - the food has to be in your stomach first
• Take an Asprin while you drink: this will not lessen the headache - though taking one the next day, about an hour before you need to be functional, should help
• Drink water the morning after: this will not help flush out the alcohol. It will of course help to relieve the dehydration, but it is much more important to drink water while you are actually drinking alcohol
• Mixing drinks does not affect your hangover directly, it is just that if you are mixing spirits, wine, shots and beer you will be drinking more than if you stick to one type
SOME OF THE WORLD'S WEIRDEST HANGOVER REMEDIES
Japan An umeboshi: a pickled, dried ume - similar to a plum or apricot - pickled enough to make you wince, steeped in green tea Germany Rollmops: raw, pickled herring wrapped around pieces of gherkin and onion Canada Poutine: a bowl of thick-cut chips, with chunks of Canadian cheese curd, smothered in a savoury gravy with fresh pepper corns Sicily A dried bull's penis: meant to restore virility Ireland Burying yourself in river sand: the chill is meant to blow away the pain Mongolia A cocktail made of tomato juice and pickled sheep eyeballs
Dr Sebastian Winckler