Australians love a drink. The Bureau of Statistics reported Aussies downed an average of four litres of beer, 3.6 litres of wine and 1.2 litres of spirits in 2014 .
That's down on recent years, but it's still more than enough for some wicked hangovers.
Urban legends and personal remedies to avoid or treat a hangover are as varied as the craft beer taps in an inner-city small bar" a carb-heavy meal before drinking, a kebab or Macca’s run on the way home; coffee or a huge bacon and egg roll or a big greasy breakfast in the morning.
Nut what actually works? Better yet, if you’re trying to treat a hangover but you’re all about that #CleanEating lifestyle, what’s the plan?
We asked a few nutritionists about healthy hangover cures.
Thank us later.
Researchers from the CSIRO recently announced that, after delving into the scientific properties of pears, they had made possibly the greatest pear-related discovery in the history of pears: that they “can ward off hangovers AND lower blood alcohol levels” if consumed before alcohol.
Before you rush out to the green grocer, a bit more info. Researchers only investigated Korean pears, also known as Asian pears, so their findings don’t necessarily ring true for the “western pears” we have here in Australia. However, the finding is still encouraging.
“It appears that the factors in Korean pears act on the key enzymes involved in alcohol metabolism…to speed up alcohol metabolism and elimination or inhibition of alcohol absorption. In particular, reductions were seen in blood acetaldehyde levels, the toxic metabolic thought to be responsible for the hangover symptoms,” said lead researcher, Professor Manny Noakes.
“Overall hangover severity… was significantly reduced in the Korean pear group compared to those having a placebo drink, with the most pronounced effect seen on the specific symptom of ‘trouble concentrating’.”
“Nude Nutritionist” and dietician Lyndi Polivnik backed fruit as a miracle hangover cure.
“I haven’t heard about the pears, but the fibre in fruit helps your body process the alcohol you’ve just had,” she told Huffington Post Australia.
“Fruit is ideal. No other food will help you like fruit. It gives you the hydration you’re craving, and also electrolytes which help rebalance your body.”
Nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge, of A Healthy View, backed bananas especially, saying their potassium helps recharge the body.
Both Hedge and Polivnik advocated thinking ahead and planning meals before hitting the town for a few frothy ones. Dinner, they said, was essential.
“I suggest a balanced meal before you go out. Low GI carbs like multigrain bread, sweet potato or brown rice give a slow burn of energy which keeps you fuller through the night. Ideally, lean protein too,” Polivnik said.
Hedge said a visit to the supplements store might work wonders.
“You could have half a serve of a protein powder with water. This reduces your hunger and allows you to make good food choices when you go out,” she said.
“If not, then a light healthy snack – vegetables and hummus, or rice crackers and nut butter. A serve of good fats before drinking lines the stomach and helps to slow down alcohol absorbtion.”
Avoiding the greasy night-time food options was also an obvious tip in keeping that #HealthyLiving going.
“Drinking puts your gut under strain, so your stomach is all over the place. A high fat meal will aggravate your gut. Avoid chips and burgers, anything with a high fat content,” Polivnik said.
It’s early. You’ve had a huge night out. You’ve forgotten all our tips above, and you’ve gone and gotten yourself a splitting hangover. Nice one! Now what?
“Ensure you get adequate protein and quality carbohydrates intake the next day,” Hedge recommended.
“Eggs are a good post hangover food. They contain large amounts of cysteine, which breaks down the hangover-causing toxin acetaldehyde in the liver.”
Eggs were also on Polivnik’s menu for a hangover-slaying breakfast.
“The ideal breakfast is eggs on multigrain toast. You can also add in spinach or tomato, but avoid hash browns and bacon,” she said, also advising more fruit.
“You don’t want anything fat heavy, nothing greasy or deep fried. Will worsen any gut symptoms you have.”
Walk It Off
It might be the last thing on your mind while you’re feeling like gremlins are jack-hammering inside your skull, but many people swear by exercise or a cold swim in the morning.
“Alcohol acts as a depressant so exercise is important to increase release of endorphins and improve mood. A swim is certainly my cure, or a light run, easy aerobic exercise or walk the dog,” Hedge said.
So, there you are – a healthy hangover cure cheat sheet. No excuses now to be scarfing down a cold half-eaten slice of pizza at 11am the next day.