Hair of the dog? Raw eggs? A fry-up? It’s amazing what we’ll try to get rid of a hangover but is there anything that actually works?
What causes a hangover?
The main cause of a hangover is dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it removes fluids from the body. Starved of water, the body’s organs seize water from the brain, which is why we wake with a headache. Frequent urination means we also end up expelling vital minerals such as sodium and potassium resulting in fatigue.
Alcohol is absorbed directly through the stomach where it promotes the release of acid (hydrochloric acid) explaining the nausea and cramps associated with a hangover.
What cures a hangover?
- Hair of the dog (drinking more alcohol) - the liver is still processing the toxins left from the night before - more booze means it has more toxins to deal with.
- Coffee - caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, which means it reduces the size of blood vessels which may relieve a headache but it’s also a diuretic so will dehydrated you further.
- A fry-up - this will probably just aggravate your stomach. Eating fatty foods prior to drinking is more helpful as it slows the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.
- Water - required to combat dehydration and dilute the leftover toxins in the stomach. Ideally, you should drink water before going to bed to reduce the risk of a hangover.
- Painkillers - these will help with headaches and muscle cramps. Paracetamol is best as aspirin can aggravate the stomach.
- Fruit juice - its natural sugars will curb fatigue and it helps clear the body of left-over toxins. It’s also rich in vitamins. Vitamin C and B supplements can also help.
- Eggs - these contains a substance called cysteine which breaks down leftover toxins.
- Bananas - these help replenish lost potassium.
- Isotonic drinks (sports drinks) - these can replace lost salt.