December is unarguably the most alcohol-fuelled month of the year. With Christmas, New Year’s Eve, the party season and the wedding season all coming together, it’s very normal to find yourself drinking more than is usual. So how do you protect your liver (and your sanity) without losing out on all that fun? From bachelorettes and wedding cocktail parties to Christmas Eve and NYE celebrations, alcohol is a part of every celebration. But that doesn’t mean you have to get through the month with a constant hangover.
“The first thing to do is to get out from under your blanket and fight your hangover mindfully, so that the recovery is faster and easier,” says nutritionist Himani Jariwala. “Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it causes severe dehydration. So the thumb rule is to hydrate, hydrate and hydrate. Keep sipping on water as much as you can (minimum one litre) to reduce the alcohol concentration in your bloodstream. Or you can have coconut water, nimbu paani or electrolyte powder. These fluids will give you energy without spiking your insulin, thus maintaining the fluid-electrolyte balance.”
Remember to keep yourself well-hydrated at all times for the quickest cure
“You must also consume dextrose, in the form of pineapples, cane juice or Glucon-D to assist the liver in detoxification,” adds wellness coach Ramona Mordecai. “The liver functions on dextrose to detoxify the system. Bromelain, found in pineapple, reduces inflammation, which will release the sinus (headache) and the body’s reaction to the alcohol the previous night. Bromelain also helps in digestion of food and balancing stomach acids.”
So, what’s step 2? “Breathe,” says health and life coach Nipa Asharam. “Don’t leave your bed just yet. Do this simple breathing technique – expand your whole stomach and chest on the inhale and collapse it on the exhale. This breathing technique utilises the lungs to their full capacity, oxygenates the body, and activates the relaxation response. If you want to know whether you are doing it right, rest your hand on the stomach and feel its expansion and contraction. For those more familiar with breathing techniques, anulom vilom is a powerful one.”
Once you’re out of bed, it’s important to have a breakfast heavy in fats. “Fats like cheese contain a high capacity of probiotics, which help in protecting and reintroducing new stomach flora which get flushed out with alcohol. Go for a cheesy omelette with toast and lots of butter (butter has healthy fats to optimise brain functionality). You can also add some sausages for additional fat, and paprika to add fibre,” says Mordecai.
Believe it or not, this is actually really good for you
Asharam adds, “Reinstate the electrolytes and potassium (both of which are lost when we are dehydrated) with this super smoothie: take some yoghurt with a small banana (high on potassium), ½ a cup of kale or spinach (to aid in detox and alkalinity), flax seeds, chia seeds, coconut water (for electrolytes) and a teaspoon of spirulina (optional).”
“Foods such as basil seeds soaked in water, ginger tea or ale, buttermilk, cucumber, carrot, celery, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes and berries will also help,” says Jariwala. “Also keep sipping on water while you drink to stay hydrated, and keep the appetisers light to avoid a stomach upset.”
Finally, do some yoga to get back to your normal self. Asharam recommends the following: start with the cat-cow pose, a simple and gentle movement with deep breaths. Each cycle feels as if you’re getting a little spinal flush. Move on to the downward dog pose for blood circulation so that you get that oxygen flowing and relieve stress. You can also go outdoors and sweat. Get some fresh air, go for a walk to pump up those endorphins (feel-good hormones) and release cortisol (the stress hormone) by sweating a little.
Keeping all these pointers in mind, we’ve designed the ultimate hangover kit, to prevent the headaches, dehydration and loss of energy with which you wake up the next morning. They’re perfect to include in your friends’ rooms during celebrations so their next day isn’t affected. Pack the following items in a cutesy hamper – trust us, your friends will thank you for it.
The Ultimate Hangover Kit
- A bottle of drinking water: to get rid of the dehydration.
- Body wash: nothing relaxes the body more than a good, hot shower.
- Fruit: sometimes, you’re too tired (or sick) to go down to the breakfast table.
- Sprite or fizzy lemonade: for when nimbu paaniis not on hand.
- Crackers: to munch on, along with the fruit.
- Painkillers: for when the hangover is too great to be cured naturally.
- Face wipes: to feel fresh and clean before you come down for breakfast.
- Mint: to disguise that bad breath.
Like this article? Also read: How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep