Wellbeing wonder-women Julia & Libby Matthews break down the best ways to prevent and recover from the dreaded hangover.
Hangovers happen when our over burdened livers struggle to clear out the excess amount of toxins and chemicals ingested from too much alcohol. Our blood sugar levels dip, our bodies are dehydrated and overall fatigue takes over. Basically you have created a toxic internal environment and a hangover is your body’s way of telling you.
Symptoms of a hangover include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, mild distortion and headaches. The cause of these symptoms is due to vitamin and mineral depletion, dehydration and high levels of acetaldehyde. When we drink alcohol, ethanol from the alcohol is broken down into acetaldehyde, which causes the feelings of a hangover.
When alcohol is consumed it quickly enters our bloodstream causing our pituitary gland to stop creating vasopressin, which is an anti diuretic hormone. This hormone is responsible for constriction of blood vessels, regulating blood pressure and reduces excretion of urine. When vasopressin has been blocked the kidneys send water to the bladder, which is why drinkers have to make frequent trips to the bathroom. The morning after drinking the body needs to hydrate, headaches will result from dehydration as the organs take water from the brain causing the brain to decrease in size and pull on the membranes that connect the brain to the skull, resulting in pain. The frequent urination causes the body to lose potassium and sodium; these two minerals are needed for nerve and muscle function. A deficiency in these will cause the weakness, fatigue and lack of co-ordination that sometimes comes with a hangover.
Tips to prevent a hangover:
Rehydrating after you have been drinking is one of the best things you can do to help your body. Mix some table salt, lemon juice, sugar and water together and drink this before going to sleep and upon waking up. The sugar and salt will restore electrolytes and help get your blood sugar levels back on track. If you do not want to drink sugar, lemon and salt we highly recommend coconut water. Coconut water is effective in hydrating the body, as it is rich in potassium and electrolytes. If you feel nauseous or have been vomiting drink some ginger or peppermint tea to settle your stomach.
Take your B’s
Before bed and the morning after is a great time to take a Vitamin B complex to help reduce hangover symptoms. Vitamin B will help restore the vitamins that were depleted when you were drinking. The most effective forms of vitamin B for a hangover are Vitamin B1, B6 and B12.
Ditch the mixers!
Reduce the amount of sugar you consume with your alcohol. If you are drinking spirits mix them with soda water and fresh lemon instead of lemonade or cola. Energy drinks are a big no-no due to the high amounts of caffeine and sugar, some of which can be artificial. Don’t forget to drink a glass of water in between drinks.
Feed the hangover
It is common to crave fatty, greasy foods when hungover. A healthier approach is to start your day off eating a nutritious meal full of high quality fats like salmon, avocado, eggs, nuts, seeds and coconut oil.
7 plus a day
A night out on the booze is going to severely deplete your body of the vital minerals and nutrients it needs to keep you functioning at optimal level. Give your digestive system a rest too so that you your liver can clear out excess toxins faster; the best way to do this is by drinking fresh juices. Your liver will already be under pressure and in need of some love - give it everything it needs in the form of liquid so that it can process all of the nutrients with ease. Our favourite hangover juice recipe (pictured) is: 1 x small beetroot, 1 x orange, 1 x carrot, 1 x small cube of fresh ginger (the size of your thumbnail), 1 x lemon and 1 x cup of spinach. The alkalizing effect of the fruits and vegetables will help cleanse your blood, give you a boost of vitamins and minerals, which will provide you with energy, and the ginger will treat nausea and soothe an upset stomach.
Sweat It Out
Partaking in any form of exercise is probably the last thing you feel like doing when your head is throbbing, but be assured that hitting the pavement and working up a sweat will make you feel better. Exercising creates endorphins; these are the happy feel-good hormones. When you sweat you will be releasing toxins. Your body gets rid of the byproducts of alcohol in four ways: sweating, breathing, via the liver, or via the kidneys. So focus on working up a sweat with some yoga, brisk walking or swimming in the ocean. It is important that you do not workout while you are still dehydrated though – keep a water bottle with you at all times.
Follow Julia & Libby at their blog juliaandlibby.com