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Dr Philippa shares tips for preventing hangovers
Drinking isn’t for everyone, but it is something many people turn to during times of celebration – like Christmas. While there are endless ways to reduce, or even avoid a hangover completely, it is often too late if you haven’t taken precautions before you start drinking alcohol. While painkillers are often the go-to remedy to get rid of the unpleasant side effects, experts have shared how different types of food and drink can do more to make you feel refreshed. One remedy even includes a “hair of the dog”, vitamin-rich cocktail.
Drinking more alcohol to cure a hangover is an old wives’ tale many people choose to follow, but it only offers short-term relief from the inevitable. Greasy, salty food are other common alternatives, though according to cocktail experts at Zuaya, there is a way to continue drinking while nursing your symptoms.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, a mixologist at the Kensington-based Latin-American restaurant, Zuaya, shared their “perfectly refreshing” cocktail recipe. The drink is a take on a Pisco sour, made up of a mixture of B12-rich ingredients.
The London to Lima cocktail includes a mix of Pisco, Falernum, lime, agave syrup and egg white.
They said: “Zuaya’s new cocktail can reduce the effects of a hangover due thanks to the infusion of vitamin B12. Moderate and heavy alcohol consumption can drain our body’s stores of vitamin B12, causing hangover effects like brain fog and fatigue.
“Traditional hangover remedies like paracetamol and water are both reactive methods to cure a hangover, meaning that they are taken to reduce the effects of a hangover. In comparison, this vitamin B12 cocktail provides a proactive solution, as it looks to increase the B12 levels before alcohol inevitably reduces them.”
According to the expert mixologist, the best time to drink the cocktail is as the “first drink of the evening” since it is “a proactive hangover remedy”.
For a vegan or egg-free version, the egg whites can be replaced with aquafaba (chickpea water) to create an “equally delicious cocktail”.
If food is what you’re after to cure a hangover, there are plenty of healthier options aside from calorific takeaways and carbohydrates.
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Best foods to cure a hangover
Dr Caitlin Hall, Chief Dietitian and Head of Clinical Research at Myota told Express.co.uk: “When consumed excessively, alcohol disrupts the delicate balance of the ‘good’ bacteria in your gut (your microbiome) as well as causing inflammation and interfering with the body’s production of hormones such as serotonin.
“This is one of the reasons why stomach discomfort and low mood are common hangover symptoms. It follows that the best foods you can eat to counteract this damage – and accelerate your hangover recovery – are ones that contain plenty of probiotics and prebiotics.”
She explained that natural yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso and sourdough bread are all easy to incorporate into meals while introducing new “good bacteria” into your microbiome.
This replaces the bacteria killed by the alcohol, leaving you feeling refreshed.
For an easy breakfast or lunch idea to battle those unpleasant symptoms, Dr Hall recommended upgrading a “classic” dish – toast and avocado,
She said: “Use wholegrain bread and top with a handful of mixed seeds. Pair this with a smoothie made from berries, banana, kefir or natural yoghurt, and nut butter.
“This combination will help stabilise your blood sugar as well as contribute to improved gut health. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water or herbal tea to rehydrate your body.”
For smaller snacks, anything packed with vitamin C is a good choice according to Dr Emma Derbyshire.
She said: “Berries are a great food to turn to after a night out. Naturally sweet and juicy, easy to integrate into your ‘morning after’ breakfast or smoothie and brimming with polyphenols and vitamin C”.
Just one cup of strawberries provides around 85mg of vitamin C – more than double the daily recommendation of 40 mg/day for UK adults.
Berries are also abundant in polyphenols which have been found to help alleviate inflammation in the gut, so if you are feeling a bit bloated after an evening of indulgences, they could be an excellent food to turn to.
Blueberries are a particularly good choice for their antioxidant properties, according to Dr Derbyshire. She said: “Antioxidants are substances that prevent oxidation and types of cell damage. Alcohol can reduce levels of antioxidants and switch the body into a state of oxidative stress. So, eating foods containing antioxidants such as berries may help to restore this balance.”
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