Natural Cures for Hangover Prevention
Bah Humbug. The festive season is bad for business for us naturopaths. Who is going to make an appointment to see some pursed-lipped health nut telling you to forgo the bubbly and stay away from mince pies? At this time, we retreat into silent meditation, regrouping our energies for when the phone starts to ring in January, making appointments for those with New Year resolutions i.e. no more bubbly, no more mince pies. However, before I retrieve my meditation stool from storage, here are a few tips to help you through until January…
Zinc and B vitamins for the liverThe body can deal with a certain amount of alcohol thanks to the liver. Enzymes in the liver convert alcohol into acetaldehyde which is the character responsible for that embarrassing facial flushing as well as the headaches and nausea which are part and parcel of hangovers. In order to detoxify alcohol, liver enzymes require the mineral zinc and B vitamins, particularly B1. A good multivitamin will contain these nutrients.
Drink, drink and drink againDehydration is a major contributor to a hangover. If you have partied hard, as soon as you get home (no matter what time) drink 500mls of coconut water. The fluid will rehydrate you, and the coconut water will top up your electrolyte (minerals) and blood glucose levels, both of which take a beating with heavy drinking.
Eat before you goA trap for the unwary is party food. Those tempting little morsels are Trojan horses of fat and kilojoules. Even innocent looking sticks of carrot are to be treated with suspicion. One glass of champagne will weaken your resolve, and in no time you will be scooping up the rest of the Gorgonzola dip with that carrot stick. Eat a nutritious meal before you go to the party. Food in your tummy will also slow down the rate of alcohol absorption.
St. Mary’s Thistle helps prevent a hangoverThe average liver handles about 1 standard drink* an hour. More than this and unpleasant by-products such as acetaldehyde circulate in the bloodstream, maintaining a holding pattern above the liver until it is ready to take on more grog. St. Mary’s Thistle (Silybum marianum) is the liver herb. It has been shown to protect the liver against alcohol damage, and reduce the severity of a hangover, particularly if taken a few hours before the event.
Beetroot, ginger and LemonBeetroot, ginger and lemon are all good for the liver. The Hangover Blend combines the sweetness of carrots and zing of ginger with the therapeutic properties of ginger and beetroot to support the liver and reduce the effects of a hangover.
- 3 carrots
- ½ beetroot (raw)
- ½ cm root ginger
- Juice ½ lemon
- Chop and place in juicer.
- Drink one glass daily
Do enjoy yourself over the festive period, but please spare a thought for us naturopaths…staring at our navels, munching on lentils and awaiting your New Year Resolutions.
*a standard drink is a middy of beer or a schooner of light beer, a small glass of wine or champagne, or a nip of spirits.