Tips to Handling a Hangover
Prince Harry allegedly swears by strawberry milkshakes while Paris Hilton suggests a hamburger and fries. The ancient Romans used deep fried canaries. But is there really any way to beat a hangover?
Sadly, there’s only one sure way to prevent a hangover. Stop before you’ve had that one (or, more likely, several) too many. And the only proven cure is time. That hasn’t stopped the proliferation of myths about ways to avoid the unpleasant after effects of a big night. Let’s get our facts right.
It’s Not What, But How Much
“Beer before wine and you’ll be fine” goes the saying. Not true. Experts say it’s the total amount of alcohol you consume that makes the difference. That being said, dark liquors like brandy, rum, dark beers and red wine have substances called congeners, which break down into toxins like formaldehyde and formic acid, making your hangover worse.
Don’t Pop the Paracetamol
Taking a painkiller before bed won’t ward off the morning headache. In fact, if it’s paracetamol, it could aggravate an already over-worked liver. If it’s aspirin or ibuprofen, it can stir up your stomach. So save the painkillers for after you wake up.
A Hair of The Dog?
Your hangover is at its worst when your blood alcohol level hits zero, so a morning Bloody Mary might give you a temporary lift. But you know this is only postponing the inevitable, don’t you? Omit the vodka, stick to the tomato juice.
The Big Breakfast
Uh uh. Greasy food puts a load on your liver as well as your stomach. Go for a banana, or avocado on toast, to replenish your potassium levels. And maybe swap the coffee for water, fruit juice or herbal tea. Caffeine is a diuretic, and you’re already dehydrated.
Herbs and Hydration
Some studies have found supplements like ginger, red ginseng and prickly pear helpful for hangover symptoms. But it’s best to talk to your pharmacist before you take a new supplement. One thing most experts agree on is that drinking water is essential, to rehydrate your poor, suffering body and brain. Take it steady though – drinking too much water at once can be dangerous. And remember, tomorrow you’ll feel a whole lot better.
“I feel bad for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.” – Frank Sinatra
You’re probably never going to encounter the Mongolian cure for a hangover: a pair of pickled sheep’s eyeballs in tomato juice. But if you’re brave you could try a prairie oyster: a whole raw egg in tomato juice with Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco (eggs have amino acids that help your liver break down toxins). The less said about the ancient Greek cure (sheep lung and owl eggs) the better. Pickle juice is touted by many, but is usually very high in salt so don’t overdo it. And don’t expect miracles.