Its officially party season!
Christmas markets, work do’s, family events and oh so many hangovers!
Nobody wants to ruin a whole day Sunday, wallowing around in last nights make-up, trying to find the energy to open up the dominoes app - but then nobody wants to be the party pooper, sipping a diet coke while dodging uncle Dave’s dodgy bathtub gin and telling everyone how ‘fun’ your decision not to drink still is.
What if you can have your cake and eat it?
Below i’m going fill you in on a few tips and tricks you can use to dodge the weekly hangover this party season - but first, why do hangovers actually happen?
Your pituitary gland, kidneys, and of course, liver are all affected by alcohol consumption, which can lead to a whole host of side effects like nausea, diarrhoea, and the dreaded hangover headache.
Most people think that hangovers are the result of dehydration. But even if you are following the sound advice to drink a glass of water for each alcoholic beverage consumed, you can still wake up feeling less than stellar.
This is because dehydration is just one factor in a hangover - so what else is going on?…
Post party, your pituitary gland goes into ADH overdrive, causing a rebound of fluid retention, increased blood pressure, swollen hands and feet, a puffy face, and a nasty headache. The ADH drop during the party is the reason you can’t stop peeing once you have ‘opened the flood gates’.
Your kidneys pump out more of the enzyme renin and the hormone aldosterone. This promotes the secretion of vasopressin, which increases blood pressure by inducing sodium retention and potassium loss. This is why people with heart problems are most prone to a heart attack when they have a hangover.
Your body pumps out more of the stress hormone, cortisol, contributing to even more fluid retention, raised blood sugar levels and an insulin spike - resulting in abnormal stress on both the pancreas and the liver. These elevated levels of cortisol can also cause catabolism (breakdown of muscle tissue for energy) as well as a redistribution of body fat from your legs and arms to your belly (the beer belly!).
As you drink and force your body to metabolise alcohol, your liver converts ethanol into acetaldehyde and acetate, which causes increased production of tiny blood vessel constrictors called thromboxanes, which block our immune system and causes symptoms similar to those of a viral infection, including nausea, headache, and diarrhoea.
So, how can we combat these less than desirable effects?
One to three days before the big party, begin to log as much sleep as possible. Research has shown this extra sleep helps to mitigate the effects of later sleep loss.
Reduce your intake of Vegetable oil and Omega-6 fatty acids as high amounts can increase liver damage in response to alcohol intake (without alcohol they are harmless and essential for optimal health and body function). Instead opt for cocoa butter and coconut oil, which can help protect us from liver damage.
GO WORK OUT! HARD! Strength training or HIIT prior to heavy eating or drinking can improve glycemic response to carbohydrate-laden foods or drinks. Exercise also increases antioxidant activity and reduces alcohol-induced liver damage.
About an hour or two prior, eat a spoonful each of extra-virgin avocado oil, extra-virgin olive oil, and red palm oil. The polyphenols in olive oil and avocado oil and the vitamin E in red palm oil can protect against alcohol-induced stress, and the monounsaturated and saturated fats in all three protect the liver.
EAT! If you do not eat, you risk flooding your body with too much ethanol too fast, and the subsequent conversion into acetaldehyde can overwhelm your antioxidant defences. Preferably, this meal should include plenty of polyphenol-rich plants and spices, including turmeric powder, ginger, berries, and beets, since anything pungent or colourful is fantastic for alcohol metabolism. Try a protein powered salad with all of the ingredients previously mentioned and a spoonful of each oil from the previous point.
Drink only the highest-quality alcohol available and avoid high-fructose corn syrup, added sugars, and other nasty ingredients. If you are watching the calories, opt for clear spirits with a diet mixer or splash of fresh juice.
As the night draws on, start drinking water between alcoholic beverages, with a pinch of salt if available. This will supply your body with lost electrolytes and begin the re hydration process before the headaches kick in.
About 30-minutes before bed, mix ½ teaspoon of sea salt, the juice from 1 lime or lemon and 1½ cups of water or coconut water.
Take a vitamin C supplement (up to 1500mg) and 400-600mg of Magnesium.
Take 4 tablets of activated charcoal to soak up any toxins in the gut. Contrary to popular belief, charcoal does not absorb alcohol, but it does absorb toxins, so this step is only truly necessary if you’re unsure of the purity of the alcohol you’ve been consuming, or if you have gas and bloating.
Take 3 to 10 mg of melatonin. Alcohol reduces melatonin secretion, which can contribute to annoying early awakenings when all you want to do is sleep in.
The Morning After:
Drink the same bed time cocktail as the night before (not another Mojito) and 4 more activated charcoal tablets.
In a fasted state (before breakfast), go for a nice long walk, soak up the sunshine and complete with an ice cold shower.
If this doesn’t sort you out, then go for broke and consume the falling gross, yet extremely beneficial ‘super’ smoothie;
Dan’s Hangover Super Smoothie
1 cup coconut water½ avocado
Juice of ½ lemon
1 piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
2 large egg yolks
1 heaping teaspoon chlorella
Pinch of sea salt