The warmer weather is here and there’s a party vibe in the air with lots of Christmas parties and work do’s. We all tend to get a little carried-away around this time of year and can readily over indulge on a few nutritional fronts. In particular, alcohol consumption over the summer festive season can easily head a little 'Northward' from our normal levels.
You want to make sure you stay in good health during the silly season so you can enjoy your Summer to the fullest, so there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from the harmful effects of drinking too much alcohol. Ideally of course you should always drink sensibly and keep an eye on how much you are drinking.
Play it safe during the silly season and look after your health by following these pre-party tips.
Keep well hydrated when out drinking alcohol. Alcohol is a major cause of dehydration. We lose fluids and important electrolytes every time we have a drink. Electrolytes are minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and sodium that are vital for keeping fluids balanced in our bodies and are needed for good health. Those common symptoms you wake up with after a night out drinking – the headache, nausea, dry mouth and thirst - are all symptoms of dehydration. The best way to combat this is to get into the habit of having a glass of water in-between your alcoholic drinks. A fast way to rehydrate your body is with an electrolyte drink like coconut water.
Iced teas are another delicious way to increase your water intake and stay hydrated, and they have added health benefits too. Teas that contain green tea, turmeric and dandelion root all help improve liver detoxification.
Make sure you eat something nutritious before you go out drinking and try to snack on healthy foods when you’re out. This will slow the absorption of alcohol into your blood stream. Healthy snacks to nibble on while having a drink include hummus, avocado and other dips with breads and crackers, nuts and pretzels, grilled fish and seafood, and olives and mezza plates are also a healthier choice compared to wedges and crisps or deep fried foods.
Play it safe and stick to one drink an hour. This will give your liver time to detox the alcohol properly, and prevent a build-up of alcohol in your blood.
Avoid sugary mixers like soft drink, syrups, or sweet cocktails with alcohol. These will send your blood sugar levels all over the place, leaving you dehydrated and lethargic the morning after, ultimately exacerbating your hangover symptoms. Iced tea makes a delicious healthy cocktail mixer.
Increase your B vitamins. The body uses up a considerable amount of nutrients when processing alcohol, such as niacin (vitamin B3). If you are low in vitamin B3 levels are low, this elimination process will be impaired and will prolong alcohol levels in the system. By increasing vitamin B-rich foods and taking a complex B supplement daily you will be ensuring that your vitamin B levels are adequate to deal with any increase in alcohol intake.
Take some St Mary’s thistle daily over the party season. The herb St Mary’s thistle helps protect liver cells from alcohol-induced damage, and enhances liver detoxification, helping to remove toxins such as alcohol from the liver and body. Our Bodhi Organic PuriTEA is another great way to help support your livers health, made from herbs such as dandelion root and schisandra berries that help improve liver detoxification.
Increase vitamin C. Antioxidants are important to help fight the cellular damage alcohol consumption can cause, as well as giving immune function and boost. Vitamin C is destroyed by alcohol, so supplement with vitamin C daily. Also increase your dietary consumption of vitamin C foods like citrus fruits, berries, guava, cabbage and parsley. Adding freshly squeezed juices such as pineapple, orange and lemon to iced teas is a great way to boost your vitamin C and antioxidant levels.
What to do if you have a hangover?
Coconut water is an ideal way to help ease hangover symptoms. Coconut water is naturally rich in electrolytes and is useful for rehydrating and replenishing fluids and important minerals in the body.
A great way to settle an upset tummy and replenish the body with vitamins is with a fresh juice. Try with a vegetable juice such as carrot, beetroot, celery, apple and ginger (eases for nausea), or a banana smoothie with yoghurt. Or try a chilled ginger tea (ZesTEA) for super sensitive tummies.
Despite what you might feel like, eating a healthy breakfast such as poached eggs, avocado, wholegrain toast, or bircher muesli, will be far better for you at this time than going for a greasy breakfast of bacon, sausages, fried eggs, or hash browns. Greasy fried foods will only add to your upset stomach.
This homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica 30C can be useful for treating hangover symptoms such as headaches and nausea. 5 drops, 4 x day.
N-acetyl-cyseine (NAC) is another helpful hangover remedy. NAC is an amino acid that is needed to produce the enzyme glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps the liver detoxify and clear toxins such as alcohol from the body. Eggs are a good hangover food as they are a good source of NAC.