Enjoy your summer festivities.
At this time of year our healthy diets and lifestyles can easily go out the window as we overindulge in rich food and alcohol. With a little planning, though, you can stay in good health while still enjoying summer and all its festivities. Some pre-party preparation and a few tweaks to the diet can minimize the potentially unhealthy effects of party-going, especially too much alcohol .
Of course it is always best for your health to limit yourself to a couple of drinks when you go out. However, if you’re one of those people who gets swept up in the moment and finds it hard to stick to two or three drinks, follow these simple steps to look after your health and help ease those dreaded hangover symptoms.
Here are our top 10 ways to protect your health.
1. Eat before you drink
Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Always eat something nutritious before you head out. This will slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. When drinking, avoid snacking on high-fat foods such as hot chips and pizza and instead go for healthier snacks such as dips with crackers and breads, olives, nuts and grilled seafood.
2. Drink slowly
Play it safe and stick to no more than one alcoholic drink an hour. This will give your liver time to process the alcohol properly and prevent a build-up of alcohol in your blood. Try ordering a nip in a schooner glass of soda water so it lasts longer, or drink a glass of water or a non-alcoholic drink between alcoholic ones.
3. Avoid dehydration
Alcohol is one of the major causes of dehydration. We lose fluid and important electrolytes such as magnesium and potassium when our body processes alcohol. Many common hangover symptoms – including headache, dry mouth and thirst – are at least partly caused by dehydration. The best way to combat dehydration is to drink plenty of water when you are out and have an electrolyte drink before you go to bed.
4. Take B-group vitamins
The body uses up a considerable amount of nutrients when processing alcohol, including B-group vitamins. If you are low in vitamin B this elimination process will be impaired. Some of the richest sources of B-group vitamins include whole grains, legumes, avocado, nuts, seeds and red meat. You might also benefit from taking a daily B-complex supplement.
5. Up your antioxidants
Drinking alcohol leads to an increase in free radical production, resulting in damage to cells in the body. Increasing your antioxidant intake is the best way to combat this. Vitamin C, found in oranges and other citrus fruits, berries, guava, rose hip tea and parsley, is a powerful antioxidant. Other rich sources of antioxidants include berries such as acai berries and blueberries, green and white tea, tomatoes and other red and orange fruits and vegetables.
6. Take St Mary’s thistle
This herb is thought to help protect liver cells from alcohol-induced damage and enhances liver detoxification, helping to remove toxins such as alcohol from the body. Take St Mary’s thistle tablets daily over the party season.
7. Try chlorella
This super sea algae has been shown to help remove toxic substances from the body. Chlorella may also help reduce hangover symptoms. Take about five grams of chlorella before heading out.
8. Take a multivitamin
Alcohol depletes the body of important nutrients such as vitamin C, magnesium and zinc, and our eating may be less balanced during the festive season. Taking a good-quality multivitamin daily is a good way to help replenish your body’s stocks of these essential vitamins and minerals and to protect your general health.
9. Eat garlic
Garlic contains an amino acid called S-allyl-cysteine, which neutralises acetaldehyde, a highly reactive by-product of alcohol metabolism. You could also take a garlic supplement.
10. Eat probiotic yoghurt
Eating probiotic-rich foods such as yoghurt and miso and taking a probiotic supplement daily will help boost good intestinal bacteria, which can be disrupted when you drink too much alcohol or eat lots of rich food.
Natural hangover helpers
- Coconut water: Naturally rich in electrolytes, coconut water is good for re-hydration.
- Ginger: It’s soothing for the digestive tract and helps relieve nausea. Try chilled ginger tea with lemon or add fresh ginger to a veggie juice.
Merry Merry Christmas!