Christmas party season is now upon us, and with it will come plenty of late nights spent drinking.
While it is recommended adults consume no more than 14 units a week – and preferably not all at once – over-indulging can happen.
This could trigger symptoms of a hangover, including fatigue, thirst, headaches, nausea and dizziness.
However, preparing properly for the festive party season can save your from a sore head, and it could be as easy as altering your diet.
Here is your four-step plan to protecting your body against the worst effects of a party.
Step one: Take milk thistle before a night out
The organ perhaps most affected by excessive alcohol consumption is the liver.
It processes alcohol by turning ethanol into a toxic substance called acetaldehyde, which is then broken down into another harmless chemical before being converted into carbon dioxide and water.
As such, the liver has a lot to do, and giving it some support could help.
“The herb, milk thistle is perhaps the best-known and most traditional remedy for this purpose – it has been found to protect the liver cells from damage, including that resulting from alcohol, and can help reduce inflammation in the liver,” explained Cassandra Barns, a nutritionist.
She recommended taking a Quest Nutra Pharma Milk Thistle tablet before you go out and before you go to bed.
Step two: Eat before bed
Most people will have heard the phrase “line your stomach” before a night out, but eating just before bed can have a similar hangover-deflecting effect.
However, Cassandra Barns, a nutritionist, warned this does not mean grabbing a kebab on the way home.
She suggested choosing something packed with nutrients that will help your body detoxify.
“Stay away from foods that contain high levels of unhealthy fats,” she explained.
“This includes fried foods and processed foods.
“The liver has to work extra hard to process these types of fats, when it is already under strain dealing with the alcohol and its breakdown products.
“Unhealthy fats can also worsen any inflammation in the body, which could contribute to hangover symptoms.”
Step three: Take magnesium before bed
Over-consumption of alcohol can affect quality of sleep, and make you feel more tired the next day.
According to Drinkaware, when you drink alcohol you may fall asleep faster, but don’t sleep as deeply.
Instead you spend more time in the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep which is less recuperating.
As such, you may feel tired the day after drinking alcohol, no matter how many times you press ‘snooze’.
Barns recommended taking magnesium to get you into a deeper sleep.
“Magnesium is needed to relax our muscles, which in turn can help us fall into a peaceful sleep,” she explained.
“Try and include plenty of magnesium-rich foods in your diet such as, buckwheat, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, fish and leafy green vegetables.”
Or take a magnesium supplement, such as Natures Plus KalmAssure Magnesium Powder, when you get in after a late night.
Step four: Take potassium, sodium and magnesium the morning after
The merry festive spirit means getting carried away can happen all too easily.
If you do wake up with a hangover, it’s best to rehydrate says Barns.
“To improve your hydration, it is ideal to drink water that contains extra electrolyte minerals such as potassium, sodium and magnesium – the minerals that are particularly important to have in our cells and blood,” she explained.
“Natural coconut water is ideal for this, as it naturally contains a good balance of the electrolyte minerals.
“Avoid sports drinks because although they do contain these minerals, they are also high in sugar.”