How to avoid a hangover – the six hacks to prevent yourself from feeling rough after drink
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A hangover is inevitable if you drink a little too much, but it’s hard to rationalise the horrible physical symptoms in the moment. If you’re planning to go out on the town but don’t want to rule out the entire following day, there are a few things you can do to ward off an extreme hangover. Express.co.uk chatted to Claire Barnes, Nutritional Therapist at Bio-Kult (www.bio-kult.com) to find out how to avoid a hangover.
When it comes to alcohol, moderation appears to be key.
Whilst some studies indicate that up to one drink a day may be associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline, regularly drinking higher intakes is unfortunately associated with numerous detrimental health effects.
We all know that alcohol is bad for our health, but most people still like to let their hair down every once in a while (especially during the Christmas party season).
Express.co.uk chatted to nutritional therapist at Bio-Kult Claire Barnes to find out the six things YOU can do to avoid a hangover before it’s even happened.
Eat well before you head out
If you’re going out and know you’ll be having a few drinks, it’s best to eat a nutritious meal, high in antioxidants in preparation.
Claire explained: “This will line your stomach and slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.
“Antioxidants (rich in colourful veg and fruit) help reduce cellular damage caused by alcohol, so why not have a smoothie, full of antioxidant-rich frozen berries and spinach alongside your meal?
“However, even a kebab at 3am would be a better option than not eating at all!”
The enzymes involved in the breakdown of alcohol by the body rely on zinc, and deficiency of this important mineral could potentially contribute to alcohol-induced liver injury.
Make sure you’ve taken in enough zinc through your diet or supplements before you go out to avoid a hangover.
Claire said: “Good sources of zinc include organic/grass-fed meats and dairy products, fish and shellfish (especially oysters), nuts, seeds and eggs.
“Legumes such as lentils and chickpeas also contain zinc but in a less bioavailable form which is often inhibited by their phytate content, so it is best to soak these before eating, to increase absorption.”
Balance your blood sugars
Alcohol sends our blood sugar into a crazy roller coaster of peaks and troughs, which is why we tend to wake up so early after we’ve been drinking, as our blood sugar comes crashing down.
Try to balance your blood sugar by stocking up on protein before a night out.
Claire explained: “Protein can help stabilise blood-sugars so make sure your evening meal contains a decent portion and try to have a protein-rich snack (rather than just gorging on chips) before going to bed.”
As we all know, one of the main culprits of a hangover is dehydration.
Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning our kidneys fail to reabsorb water into the body, causing us to run to the toilet more often than usual.
Claire said: “An easy way to ensure some extra hydration during the evening is by using soda water and fresh lime as a mixer for spirits, to turn wine into a spritzer or ask for a glass of water alongside your alcoholic drink.
“This will also reduce your sugar intake, helping to stabilise blood sugars.
“Drinking a pint of water just before going to bed will also hopefully save you from waking up in the morning with a mouth like the Sahara!”
Removing those toxins
Healthy digestive function and regular removal of waste products and toxins could help us feel lighter, energised and look great in that party dress.
Claire explained: “Vegetable juicing, drinking hot water with lemon and adequate protein intake is believed necessary to support the liver’s natural detoxification process.
“Maintaining regular healthy bowel movements is essential to remove waste substances and toxins from the body.
“I would recommend the consumption of high fibre foods such as vegetables, salads and legumes, while adequate water and herbal tea intake helps the stool to stay soft and easy to pass.”
Look after your gut bacteria
Alcohol can cause an imbalance of our delicate gut flora and damage to the gut lining where our beneficial bacteria lie.
Research shows that drinking in excess causes our gut microbes to release toxins, inflammatory markers and to increase the alcohol loving microbes which in turn drive us to want to drink more.
This increase in serum endotoxin levels needs to be broken down by the liver into less harmful substances ready for excretion.
The speed at which this happens can vary per individual and is now believed to be affected by the mix of microbes in our gut.
Claire said: “If the liver can’t keep up then hangover symptoms such as nausea, headaches and tiredness can occur.
“Restoring levels of the gut flora and its by-products has been shown to stabilise the intestinal gut barrier, and reduce alcohol-induced liver injury by gut-derived toxins and inflammation.
“Probiotics, live bacteria supplements, have been shown to prevent alcohol-induced changes to the gut microflora and harmful inflammation to the liver.
“So taking a multi-strain probiotic such as Bio-Kult Advanced (£9.48, www.bio-kult.com) before you go out drinking could soon be the solution to help ease those hangover symptoms!”
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