There is nothing worse than waking up after that ‘work function or dinner party‘ feeling like there is a mass bigger than the titanic on your head and that you could eat your own body weight in bacon and eggs. Well there is a solution and it’s called “the day before”.
The best way to avoid a hangover is to obviously drink less but if you are like most of us and you do over indulge sometimes then see if these tips from expert Nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin can at least help you not tip over the edge.
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1. Drink a litre of water before you go out, to ward off dehydration. Dehydration is responsible for many hangover symptoms, including headaches, lethargy and the horrible feeling of the midnight dry mouth.
2. Mix spirits with tomato juice and eat protein-rich nuts to slow the absorption of alcohol. Aim to eat unroasted and unsalted nuts.
3. Avoid fizzy mixers as the carbon dioxide can speed up alcohol absorption.
4. Avoid mixing drinks and stick to either red or white wine.
5. If you have symptoms such as headaches, blocked nose or red checks when you drink, you may have an intolerance.
6. Take Milk Thistle herbal capsules daily, starting one month before the party season, to support your liver and reduce alcohol damage.
7. Eating bitter food such as lemon and lime help increase liver enzymes therefore making the body more resilient.
Alcohol and the effects on the brain and body:
There is good and bad news when we talk about alcohol and its effects on the body. Now I know you are saying ‘stop’ I only want to hear the good news but to really make an informed decision you need to know all the facts.
For the sake of your sanity I will start with the good news. Alcohol drunk moderately, 2-3 standards drink per night for a man and 1-2 standard drink per night for a woman has health benefits.
Red wine, for example, contains healthy protective phytochemicals that may reduce the risk of heart disease. This may explain why French people, who have been eating a diet high in fat for years, have one of the lowest rating risks of heart disease in the world.
Red wines are also a good source of dietary iron, a mineral that helps prevent anemia and the later effects of fatigue. Beer has a few nutritional merits, such as a significant amount of B-12, a vitamin important for vegetarians. So overall red wine, white wine and beer in small amounts get a tick of approval.
Sorry but here comes the bad news. Alcohol is a highly addictive substance and is the most abused drug in the Australia. Prolonged consumption can lead to cellular changes in the liver, heart, brain, and muscles and result in cirrhosis, pancreatitis, irregular heartbeats, stroke, and malnutrition. Even moderate drinkers have a higher risk of oral cancer, and women who drink may have a higher risk of breast cancer. Lets look a little bit further at the effects of alcohol on the body.
• Amino Acids are the building blocks for brain chemistry. An imbalance of these essential acids will affect your neurotransmitters, causing seemingly uncontrollable cravings for alcohol, drugs or food.
• Alcohol use reduces the body’s ability to produce Neurotransmitters such as D-phenylalanine (endorphins), L-Tyrosine (Dopamine), L-tryptophan (serotonin), GABA (GABA) and L-Glutamine (GABA), causing the brain chemistry to change, which can cause deficiencies that spur these cravings. For example if we have a deficiency in L-tryptophan, which is involved in the manufacture of serotonin in the brain, it can cause problems with your sleep patterns, will alter you mood and can increase cravings for sweets.
Chromium a natural trace element, promotes the passage of natural tryptophan from the diet through the blood/brain barrier into the brain, thereby achieving decreased cravings.
• Alcohol can cause depression and irritability.
• When you drink alcohol the body is unable to absorb fats especially Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help decrease the alcohol related feeling of depression and anxiety and they are closely linked to levels of serotonin in the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids EPA helps reduce anxiety and stress related behaviours.
• Alcohol will severely deplete the levels of B-vitamins in your body. This can contribute to mood swings and even depression. Make a point of taking a B-complex supplement the night before and eat a breakfast rich in vitamin B such as porridge.
• All alcoholic drinks have an effect on the bodies’ blood sugar levels (BSL) causing them to rise very quickly and then fall. This will have an effect on your energy level and will strip the brain of its main energy source sugar, causing a change in mood for example an aggressive drunk.
• Supplements: B-complex, chromium and Omega-3 are the most effective supplements to help cure and prevent the side effects that alcohol can cause.
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The bottom line for people who are trying to live a healthy lifestyle is it’s harder to feel full when alcohol becomes a part of your diet because alcohol stimulates the appetite. If you are trying to keep your body a lean mean fighting machine then reducing and having a least three alcohol free nights is the way to go. Lets drink to that … water that is.
Next time you wake up in the morning craving fat and feeling extremely lethargic make a fantastic breakfast with Burgen soy and linseed bread two poached eggs, avocado and grilled tomato, sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil. This will give the body it’s required Essential Fatty Acids (omega-3’s) and a massive boost of vitamin B for energy. It’s a winner!!
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