How to avoid a hangover

By admin
19 December 2014

Party season is upon us, which means late nights, drinking, dancing til dawn and most likely dealing with a throbbing head the next day.

Symptoms include feeling thirsty, extra sensitive to light, nauseous, unable to concentrate, dizzy, achy, sleepy, depressed and no doubt irritable. Our body clearly doesn't like having alcohol pumped into it, and this is partly due to the fact that ethanol, the psychoactive substance in it, affects almost every transmit signal system in the brain. Ethanol also affects the excitatory glutamate and the major inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA. This breaks down simply as: feeling drunk is partly a product of glutamate’s activities being suppressed and GABA’s activity increasing.

But the symptoms don't just come from your brain. Your liver also takes a massive hit when you consume alcohol as it has to process acetaldehyde, a toxin that’s created when we digest alcohol. Using two enzymes and the antioxidant glutathione, the liver is able to break down acetaldehyde pretty efficiently. But it's not all good news, as the body only has a limited amount of glutathione and so while the liver works to produce more, the toxins linger in the liver and begin to cause damage.

Now we're not trying to be a Christmas party Scrooge, just giving you a heads up. Here are our top tips to have a good time without suffering too much the next day.

Try having a green day: This involves making sure everything you put in your mouth is green, such as kale, greens, spinach, broccoli, avocados, green apples, green juices, etc. Eating green offers a hefty source of antioxidants, boosts your immune system and is low in calories to counterbalance any excess from your evening out.

Dance the night away: Don't sit on the sidelines; get out on the dance floor and bust a move. You'll burn calories (up to 250 in 30 minutes), flush the booze and food through your system and release some serious feel-good endorphins.

Fill up on fibre: Make sure you're getting enough healthy fibre to help cleanse your bowels and aid digestion before a period of festive eating and drinking.

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