Dietary antidotes for a Christmas hangover – Are there any?
8th December, 2015
Written by: Dawn Shotton MSc. BSc. Registered Dietitian
Millions of people celebrate Christmas with alcohol, and it is this time of year when we are most likely to overdo things. According to a leading charity for addiction, British alcohol consumption during December increases by 40% with 54% of men and 41% of women likely to drink more than is good for them.
Avoiding the inconvenience of a hangover has motivated many to try and find an antidote. Food can help with recovery, mainly because it helps restore poor hydration and lower blood sugar levels following a heavy night on the booze. So far as single foods or nutrients are concerned, the evidence is weak. There are some suggestions that yeast, vitamin B and prickly pears (if you are lucky to have them!) can help, but, unfortunately, there is no single nutritional cure that has compelling evidence it works.
So the most obvious answer to the problem - try not to overdo things in the first place! After all, it is far healthier to drink in moderation. Current recommendations are:
- Women two to three units daily.
- Men four to five units daily.
Here are Dawn’s top tips to help you drink in moderation:
- Try to have the first drink a little later. Avoid drinking at home before going out or arrange to meet 30 minutes later. Set a limit on the amount you will drink before you leave.
- Avoid the temptation to ‘stock up’ for Christmas. Try buying a few novel alternatives to alcohol and enjoy these instead.
- If you are trying to cut down or are watching your weight, remind people and ask for their support.
- Plan something important or special the following day to help ensure you moderate your intake.
- Eat something before you indulge. Eating a substantial meal will help slow down the absorption of alcohol.
- Avoid larger glasses where possible – they encourage faster drinking.
- When in company, offer to buy the first round. Buy a soft drink for yourself. Later, you can also comfortably decline drinks to help cut back.
- To help ensure you remain hydrated, drink water with your alcohol. It may also help slow down your intake. Try adding or requesting extra low calorie mixers with your drinks - white wine and soda water, vodka and diet coke.
- Try to avoid mixing your type of alcoholic drinks and try to choose lighter coloured beverages.
- Offer to drive – most likely to be popular with everyone.
About the author
Dawn Shotton is an experienced dietitian. Her specialist interest is weight management and she led a team of bariatric dietitians for 3 years. Dawn understands that eating is as much about the 'why' as it is the 'what' and dovetails her nutrition knowledge with psychological techniques in a winning combination to help people control their weight.
Nutritionist Resource is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.
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