The start of the holiday party season means potential hangovers for anyone who enjoys great food accompanied by a good cocktail or glass(es) of wine. We plan our holiday travel. We plan our gift shopping. We even winterize our cars. It's equally worthwhile to plan your hangover recovery.
The first rule of thumb: know what actually helps a hangover. Not all purported hangover cures work, however because alcohol dehydrates you, liquids are usually the first recommendation.
The best example: coffee. Says nutritionist Dana James of FoodCoach "It won't cure a hangover, it will simply make you more alert that you have a hangover. Plus the acidity of the coffee or an espresso could play havoc with your stomach."
Coconut water is another beverage associated with curing hangovers. "This one actually works," says James. "Coconut water's high potassium helps accelerate hydration and the liquid is non-acidic, so it won't upset your stomach." James recommends a coconut water-based smoothie as the ultimate hangover cure (see recipe below).
Then there's plain water. Says James, "If you're going to use water as your hangover recovery, then make sure you drink it at room temperature. Ice cold water can actually shock a sensitive stomach after a rich meal and a night of drinking, and not in a good way."
Dana James' Hangover Smoothie Recipe:
Ultimate Hangover Smoothie
8 ounces coconut water (rich in potassium and other electrolytes); James recommends using Vita Coco or another fresh coconut water. "Read the labels and only buy fresh coconut water in a Tetra-pak," says James, who notes that the majority of nationally available coconut water brands use concentrate.
½ cup frozen strawberries (rich in vitamin C, fiber, manganese and antioxidants); can substitute blueberries
shot of wheatgrass or 1 tsp green powder (aids in digestion and detoxification)
heaping spoonful of vegan protein powder (amino acids aid detoxification)
splash of aloe vera juice
dash of cinnamon to sweeten (protects the liver against damage from alcohol)
1 tsp organic honey to sweeten, depending on taste preferences
1)Place ingredients into a blender and process for 60-90 seconds.
2) Pour into glass and serve.
Three more pieces of advice from James:
1) If you need some comfort food to help curb that hangover, look no further than good old bacon and eggs. "The saturated fats in bacon and eggs help to repair the brain cells that are potentially damaged by alcohol. Eggs also contain cysteine, which helps mop up acetaldehyde which is responsible for that hangover feeling," says James.
2) If you really want to avoid a hangover, choose wine over cocktails as the sugar syrups used in cocktails are an added burden to the liver when trying to detoxify the alcohol. Says James, "Some people are more sensitive to red wine as it contains more tannins than white and are more likely to feel the effects of red wine. But the biggest difference is in the additives in wine. The fewer the additives, the less hungover you are likely to feel. French wines have the most restrictions on additives, followed by Italy."
3) Take a B vitamin complex before bed to help metabolize and eliminate the alcohol.