Although the only sure way to prevent a hangover is to avoid drinking alcohol, there are a few things you can do to help minimise a thumping head on January 1.
Michelle Sanchez, naturopath and founder of Vitality Corner, says to ensure your body is properly hydrated before you go out because alcohol only dehydrates.
“If going out in the evening, then drink the recommended two litres of water per day throughout the course of the day,” she says.
Dietitian and spokeswoman for the Dietitians Association of Australia Maria Packard recommends alternating alcoholic drinks with non- alcoholic beverages such as water, mineral water or juice.
Ms Packard says eating a meal that will take longer to digest can help slow down the absorption rate of alcohol.
St Mary's thistle
“The herb St Mary's thistle is one of the main liver herbs, which helps to protect the liver from toxic damage (from toxins such as alcohol) and also helps restore the integrity of liver tissue,” Ms Sanchez explains.
She recommends taking St Mary’s thistle before drinking alcohol and at the end of the night before bed. See your healthcare professional for dosage advice.
Ms Sanchez says one teaspoon of chlorella (green sea algae, which she says stimulates the liver and aids in detoxification) should be added to a smoothie or water to consume an hour before drinking alcohol.
“Taking 4-6g of chlorella before drinking has shown to reduce a hangover by 96 per cent, according to a study carried out by Dr Fukui, of Sapporo Medical University in Japan,” she says. See your healthcare professional for advice.
Prevention over cure
Ms Packard stresses the importance of limiting your alcohol intake from the start.
What doesn't work
Contrary to popular belief, drinking coffee, having a cold shower, vomiting or exercising does not reduce blood alcohol content, dietitian Maria Packard says.
The party's over
Hungover? If all goes to hell, try Ms Packard’s tips to ease a hangover:
Before you go to bed combat dehydration by drinking water.
On rising, avoid coffee because it can further irritate the lining of the digestive track. Coffee may help you feel alert but isn’t a hangover cure.
Drink plenty of water, an electrolyte replacement drink and even fruit or fruit juice to assist with hydration.
Eat what you feel you can tolerate — usually avoid anything that will cause further irritation to your gut lining. Avoid fatty or spicy meals, even if you crave them. …even if you think you are craving them. Lower fat meals are easier to digest and spicy ingredients may irritate the digestive tract.
If all else fails, go back to bed and let the liver do its job.