With festive parties and fizz flowing, the season for a hangover is here…
We've all been there: waking up with a pounding headache, queasy stomach, and the vow, "I'm never drinking again." At Free Soul, we understand that life is about balance — including those nights out with friends. As a nutritional therapist dedicated to women's wellness, I'm here to support you with science-backed tips to help you bounce back after a night of revelry and feel your best this December!
The Impact of Alcohol on Health
Alcohol, when enjoyed responsibly, can be a part of our social lives. However, it's important to understand how it affects our body. Upon consumption, alcohol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, this can lead to dehydration and the depletion of essential vitamins and minerals — factors that significantly contribute to hangover symptoms.
For us women, our physiology makes us more susceptible to the effects of alcohol. Factors such as hormonal fluctuations can mean alcohol affects us more intensely and hangovers can feel more severe.
Hangovers strike with symptoms like headache, fatigue, and nausea because alcohol is a diuretic, leading to dehydration. It also triggers an inflammatory response and causes our blood sugar to plummet. The sum of these effects? That all-too-familiar 'morning after' feeling.
Preventing and Overcoming Hangovers
Now, let's dive into how we can both prevent hangovers and nurture our bodies back to health if we do indulge:
Hydration is Key: Before, during, and after drinking, water is your best friend. Alternating between alcoholic drinks and water can help prevent dehydration. The morning after an evening out, infuse your water with electrolytes by adding a pinch of Himalayan salt to help replenish minerals.
Choose Wisely: Darker spirits are notorious for their high congener content, which can worsen hangover symptoms. Clear spirits are typically lower in these chemicals. And when you do choose a drink, be a connoisseur — savour it slowly.
Food as Fortification: Before heading out, eat a balanced meal with healthy fats, proteins, and complex carbs. This slows the absorption of alcohol.
Morning-After Care: Start your day with a high protein breakfast to stabilise your blood sugar. Think eggs, smoked salmon, avocado and sourdough.
Supplement Support: Consider a B-vitamin complex supplement before and after drinking, as alcohol can deplete these crucial nutrients. Milk thistle and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) can be hangover allies. Milk thistle supports liver health, while NAC helps replenish glutathione, your body's master antioxidant.
Gentle Movement: Engage in light exercise like walking, yoga or pilates to boost your mood and energy levels.
Sunlight and Fresh Air: Nature's own remedy — a gentle stroll outside can do wonders. Fresh air and natural light can help reset your body's rhythms and boost your mood.
- Rest and Recharge: Listen to your body and give yourself permission to rest.
Life is a celebration, and I believe in enjoying it wholeheartedly — while also making choices that honour our health and happiness. So the next time you find yourself facing the aftermath of an evening out, take a breath, reach for your allies, and know that you're taking steps to care for your body in the most nourishing ways.
Written by Marilia Chamon
Registered Nutritional Therapist, Gut Health, IBS & SIBO Expert
Founder of Gutfulness Nutrition