Thank you to everyone who responded to my question on Facebook earlier in the week: “What is your number one hangover remedy?” Now I’ll reveal a few of my trade secrets and let you know whether you were onto a winner or a myth. I think I need to employ a few of you. The others… well, perhaps you should pop in for a consult!
So, what are a few of the common favourites?
Let me start by saying that anyone who listed sugary drinks, pain-killers and low-quality food, give me a call and I’ll book you in! Moving on…
1. “Hair of the dog” – MYTH
There is no scientific evidence that drinking more alcohol when you are hungover will in fact help the body, you or your mood. I think it’s a little more the case of delaying the inevitable… the hangover!
2. Eating a greasy brekkie – PUSHING IT
Well it’s not totally left field, because eggs are a perfect source of protein, which will aid the body in recovering from a hangover by reducing nausea and re-balancing blood sugar levels. Remember, alcohol is laden with sugar and since protein stabilises blood sugar levels we should all be reaching out for some eggs the morning after – just go easy on the bacon!
Plus, you would all have gathered by now that I am an egg advocate – eggs are the most perfect, little bits of fuel for our body. They also lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, aid with weight loss and support energy levels. And if nothing else, eggs are just plain old tasty!
3. For those Berocca lovers – GETTING CLOSER
Well, you’re on to something, because Berocca is full of B-vitamins, which are used when the body needs to metabolise alcohol. By consuming B’s you are replacing the depleted stores, and given B’s are the ‘energy’ vitamins they definitely help in getting you out of bed to get that glass of water for your furry mouth and help to get you moving for the day!
4. Vegemite (and for the Brit’s Marmite will do) – NEARLY THERE
My husband has a rather odd habit of sucking on a big spoonful of vegemite when he is hungover. Again, not totally left field as Vegemite has a high content of B-vitamins in it, but it comes without the added sugar and sweeteners found in Berocca.
And now for my turn…
1. Multivitamins / B-vitamin Complex – BINGO!
The best way to get a quick, convenient and therapeutic dose of B-vitamins into your body is from a multivitamin that has a high vitamin B content, or a B-complex formula. Make sure you eat something when you have it though, because if it’s taken on an empty stomach you can feel queesy.
2. Milk Thistle – BINGO!
Some of you may have heard of Milk Thistle – a herbal medicine that has been used for centuries for people suffering from liver damage, liver Cirrhosis, Hepatits A, B and C, fatty liver, and even for those suffering digestive complaints like nausea, abdominal bloating, flatulence, constipation and diarrhoea. This herb has amazing liver protective properties, as well as antioxidant properties!
I suggest having it in a tea form – you just infuse the herb in some water and drink it down, and have a few cups throughout the day, or you can take it in a herbal liquid or herbal tablet.
3. Ginger and Honey Tea – BINGO!
This is a home-made tea that just needs some sliced ginger and a good drop of honey in some boiling water. Ginger is a handy hangover herb to have as it reduces nausea and increases blood flow to the brain; by allowing more blood flow to the brain it can reduce that pounding headache.
4. Water – BINGO!
You would all know this anyway, I’m sure.
Given that alcohol is a diuretic and hangover headaches are actually dehydration headaches, drinking as much water as possible (or water-based drinks such as herbal tea, soups, etc.) will help you recover more quickly. Also drinking water while drinking alcohol and before going to bed is a good way to begin rehydrating, and hopefully keep the hangover at bay.
And lastly, without being a party pooper it's important for me to point out that if you want to avoid hangovers altogether, drink sensibly and rehydrate. Remember that for healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury. Try to have 3-4 nights off the alcohol each week.
Same old story guys – don't self-prescribe: see a naturopath for specific doses to meet your requirements.
Olivia McFadyen, based in Mosman on Sydney's Lower North Shore, is a qualified Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Herbalist and Homoeopath. Whilst Olivia is a qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist, she is also a realist and understands the demands of modern day life, offering nutrition, herbal medicine and homoeopathic consultations and support without compromising on the enjoyment food can bring. She is passionate about supporting patients to reach their lifestyle goals, optimise their health & develop a healthy yet balanced way of life through naturopathy and homoeopathy. She services her clients by offering 4 and 12 week natural health programs from her clinic in Mosman on Sydney's Lower North Shore.