CUE smart-arses: ‘You want the best hangover cure? Don’t drink.’
The best hangover cure is not the hair-of-the-dog. Sorry
Well *hiccup* I'm already six Christmas parties in, it's the first week of December and I'm beginning to feel like Thor has been bashing around my frontal lobe with his hammer?
Why do we have to pay for our hedonism with such pain, such guilt?
Smart-arse: "To remind us that drinking is bad for you and to take care of our livers, maybe?"
Yes very good, but we'd all appreciate a cure and for the room to stop spinning.
Smart-arse: "Cures are a myth."
We're not swallowing that, of course, many seasoned boozers will swear by a Greggs pasty and a Lucozade - but surely there's a better way to prevent the horrid post-party aftermath?
We've sieved through a pile of tried and tested hangover cures as recommended by a number of scientists, nutritionists and party martyrs who've been through and come out the other side. We've also avoided a few of the nutjobs - Italian dried bull's penis? No thanks.
So you've got two options; pop in two paracetamol and hide under the covers until it all blows over, or give one of these a try...
No seriously. Sprite. Back in 2013 Chinese researchers tested 57 drinks, including teas, herbal infusions and caffeinated beverages, for how they affected the way the body metabolised alcohol. They learned Xue bi, known as Sprite over here, was found to ‘speed the enzyme’s work up’. This means Sprite can ease a hangover because 'it shortens the body's exposure to acetaldehyde’ (the enzyme which causes nausea, vomiting and headaches). Stock up.
We’re not sure how easy this is to get your hands on in the UK (Waitrose, maybe?), but in Nambia, buffalo milk is a well-trusted hangover cure - and actually sounds quite pleasant. A popular choice is a combination of clotted cream, dark rum, spiced rum, cream liquor and whole cream. We'll give it a go... but it sounds like we'll just end up more drunk.
Buffalo milk cocktail
Instead of lining your stomach with a carby Full English or a roast (these are still pretty effective in our book), researchers say eating asparagus before a night out could help prevent the dreaded hangover the following day. In a study published in the Journal of Food Science, research showed that the amino acids and minerals in asparagus could help accelerate the breakdown of alcohol and protect the liver.
MARMITE ON TOAST
While some are no doubt rejoicing, others are miming gag signs at their screen right now. We know marmite is a love/hate thing, but research suggests marmite haters should suck it up if they want to be hangover free. Since alcohol depletes your system of essential nutrients, including B vitamins (a lack of B vitamins can cause anxiety and depression), try Marmite - a rich source of the B's - to lift your mood. As an added benefit, Marmite has a high sodium content which will 'help replace the salts lost through drinking alcohol’.
Vietnamese broths have recently been hailed in the LA Times and the Huffington Post as a post party ‘miracle’ aid. One bowl of hot Pho - Vietnam's national dish - is said to ease a hangover in eight steps: chilli to ‘sweat it out’, greens to boost immune system, protein to reduce fatigue, broth to replenish water, garlic to remove toxins, basil to detox, noodles to aid digestion, and chopped onions to relieve headaches. Perfect. We hear Manchester's new Vietnamese restaurant Pho, has whipped up what they’re calling the ‘emergency hangover cure’ just in time for party season. Worth a try.
According to some nutrition experts, your liver will be thankful for a bump of Milk Thistle before you drown your organs in wine. Daily Mail nutritionist Jane Clarke is an ardent milk thistle tablet popper. She says: “I swear by milk thistle. This helps the liver eliminate alcohol faster from the body. I can feel unwell after even a glass of wine, so if I have had a drink I take 350mg before I got to bed and another 350mg in the morning.” It’s a claim backed up by a number of experts.
THE FAITHFUL FRY UP
There’s no scientific evidence that supports the fry up as a hangover cure. We repeat NO scientific evidence. However, based on the popularity of a fry after a big booze fest, we’d like to think we’re onto something. Here’s the facts: the carbohydrates from those five slices of buttery toast do help to restore depleted sugar levels. And, while scientists are a little dubious, eggs are packed with amino acids which are said to aid detoxing. It also tastes amazing, which is good enough for us.
The Fry UP
While you might be inclined to follow any recipe Nigella Lawson promotes, this one sounds rank. Nigella and many others believe the Prairie oyster ‘shot’ - a certified hangover cure originating from nineteenth century - is the means to a happy Sunday. This is a ‘Hair Of The Dog’ style cocktail that consists of egg yolk, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, brandy and vinegar - see here for recipe.
Smart-arse: ‘You’re not suggesting you drink a Lucozade and go for a run are you?’
Well, maybe. Pre-workout drinks such as Lucozade replace the vital sugars you lose after heavy alcohol consumption. Sports drinks are also filled with electrolytes including potassium, sodium and chloride, which help restore our ‘system levels’. And, while you may not feel like it, a little exercise after an energy boost could help release endorphins making you feel a little less like death.
The best hangover cure is certainly not the hair-of-the-dog. Sorry. Nothing beats good ol’ H2O and better still, coconut water. Rehydrating after a night out is incredibly necessary to help flush out toxins from your liver and kidneys. Packed with lots of electrolytes and minerals, coconut water may not make your hangover go away but it can help cure an acidic stomach.