Despite many old remedies and tried and tested recipes, unfortunately the only way to get rid of a hangover is to wait it out with the average hangover lasting 8-24 hours. Even though there isn't necessarily a 'cure' for a heavy night of drinking, there are certain foods that can help ease the symptoms.
When we wake up with the typical mammoth hangover it is not just dehydration and a sharp headache that tempt us to reach for the takeaway menu, feeling overtired and unwell can lead us to comfort eat, making decisions we wouldn't normally choose when sober and alert.
All our plans require you to abstain from alcohol as it is full of empty calories. However it is not just these calories that can be damaging to a diet, the calories you consume the day after to make yourself 'feel better' can add up to a very costly night in terms of your Ideal Weight journey. However, if you do choose to have a drink, there are ways that you can alleviate a hangover and still make healthy choices. Read below to find out how.
The night before
Avoid fizzy drinks – it's true what they say, the bubbles do go straight to your head, as carbonated alcoholic drinks speed up the absorption of alcohol. Dark spirits have also been proven to result in a worse hangover than white spirits.
You can do some early hangover prevention by drinking plenty of water before you go to sleep.
The morning after
What to drink
Alcohol is a diuretic and when you are dehydrated, your body will use water from other parts of your body including your brain – hence the headache. Drinking plenty of water can ease this and a glass of water with a tablespoon of sugar and teaspoon of salt can help hydrate you more effectively using the same premise as an isotonic sports drink but with less sugar than most drinks you can buy in the shops.
Coconut water contains 5 electrolytes which are found in human blood helping you to restore this balance when hung-over.
Ginger / peppermint tea
Ginger and peppermint tea helps to settle your stomach and decrease nausea after a night of drinking.
What not to drink
Although these drinks may make you feel better, they will do no favours to your waistline as many soft drinks contain far more sugar than you may expect.
A caffeine fix may seem like a good idea to bring you out of your hung-over slumber but coffee is another diuretic so opt for herbal tea or hot water instead.
Hair of the dog
Drinking more alcohol may take the edge off a nasty hangover but will leave you even more dehydrated and with a worse hangover in the end.
What to eat
Eggs are full of the amino acids cysteine and taurine. Cysteine breaks down the headache causing chemical acetaldehyde which is created when the liver breaks down ethanol. Taurine boosts liver function, so both amino acids work hand in hand when your liver is trying to process alcohol.
Stock based soups
Stock based soups with protein and veggies help replace your sodium levels which helps you hydrate, plus the other feel good vitamins and minerals which are found in vegetables can't hurt!
Tomatoes contain lucopene, an antioxidant which relieves inflammation. They also contain fructose and vitamin C which gives your liver a boost.
Asparagus boosts the enzymes that break down alcohol giving your body a helpful hand in getting rid of the toxins.
Bananas, Kiwi and Spinach
All of these contain potassium which is an important electrolyte. Make a smoothie using all of these for a sure fire way to brighten up the morning after the night before.
What not to eat
Many will claim that there is no better way to cure a hangover than with a fry up, takeaway or fast food. Greasy food is actually better at preventing a hangover than curing one. So when on a diet, don't be under the illusion that the only way to shift that horrid hung-over feeling is by eating a meal which you will regret in the days to come.
Still craving unhealthy food?
If you're craving a cooked breakfast
Swap it for two boiled eggs, half a cup of sautéed veggies and an ounce of low fat feta
If you're craving fast food
Swap it for a homemade bun-less burger made from lean beef mince, onion and egg, with a lettuce, tomato and onion garnish and the added option of low fat cheddar or red Leicester.
If you're craving a sugary drink
Swap it for sparkling water with slices of fruit. Oranges work well!
Drinking on an Ideal Weight plan
When you follow an Ideal Weight plan you liver is purified and working at optimum function, which means if you choose to drink alcohol you will get much drunker than usual which can be dangerous.
Apart from advising that you abstain from alcohol, you should be warned that you will be able to tolerate a lot less than you could in the past so make sure you have a sip of water after every sip of alcohol to lessen the effect.