3 hangover myths you should be aware of this festive period

While we wouldn’t advocate drinking, it’s a fact of life that many people drink much more alcohol over the festive period

Therefore, our aim is to help lessen the detrimental effects. That’s why we asked the doctors at Spire Healthcare to answer some common questions…

Q:How would you replenish the body? Is it just a myth that we should be giving ourselves electrolytes or are there foods/drinks we should always have after a night out of drinking?

A. The most important thing to do after a night of drinking is to hydrate yourself by drinking water.

You can usually replace any lost electrolytes easily through food — bananas are a good source of potassium, and avocados, nuts and sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium.

Avoid foods that will be harder for your body to digest eg dairy products, refined sugar and fatty meat. Instead, eat fresh fruits, vegetables, soups and broths.

If you have lost a lot of fluids and consequently electrolytes, eg you’ve been vomiting or have diarrhoea, you may want to try a low-sugar electrolyte drink.

Q. What is the most common myth that we seem to believe?

A. There are lots of hangover myths out there but perhaps the biggest is that drinking lots of water can prevent or cure a hangover.

This isn’t true as the rate at which your body clears the toxins produced by drinking alcohol — which is what causes your hangover — can’t be changed.

However, drinking water is still important to prevent or reduce the effects of dehydration caused by alcohol.

Drinking coffee, drinking more alcohol or eating deep-fried, salty foods also won’t help cure your hangover.

If you have been drinking heavily, it is important that you wait at least 48 hours before drinking again to give your body time to recover.

Q.What happens to the body during a ‘binge’ period? Is it just a short term negative effect or is it a prolonged issue that will only arise when you get older? Does ‘Dry January’ mean anything? Or has the damage already been done?

Binge drinking has serious short-term and long-term effects.

In the short term, it can cause dehydration, nausea, poor coordination, poor judgement, diarrhoea, and in more serious cases, hearing and vision problems, difficulty breathing, blackouts, alcohol poisoning and even coma.

In the long term, binge drinking can cause high blood pressure, weight gain, heart problems, nerve damage, liver damage and bowel problems, as well as increasing your risk of diabetes and in serious cases, causing brain damage, infertility and stroke.

Quitting alcohol for even a month, such as during Dry January, can help to reduce some of the effects of binge drinking, specifically helping lower your blood pressure, and reduce your weight and risk of diabetes.

Although it isn’t clear how long these benefits last.

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