Doctors’ easy tips to get rid of a hangover quickly this Christmas

Lorraine: Dr Hilary shares his 'hangover cure'

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If you’re someone that likes to celebrate Christmas Eve with a glass (or many glasses) of sherry or other alcoholic beverages, the chances are that you might be hung over today. Luckily, has spoken to several health experts who gave their words of wisdom about how to remove a hangover so you can enjoy your day as much as possible.

You’re not illusory if you think your hangovers are getting worse with age. Doctor Kathryn Basford of Asda Online Doctor explains that the body’s “ability to process alcohol” really can get worse with age.

The worsening hangovers are thought to be linked to a declining supply of an important protein called alcohol dehydrogenase that helps break down alcohol, said Dr. Basford.

“In addition, many people drink less, and less regularly, as they get older, and so when they do have a big night on the booze, they tolerate it much less well.”

Replenish your electrolytes and drink water

The headaches and nausea that often accompany a hangover may be down to dehydration.

Alcohol bumps up your need to wee, causing you to lose more fluid. The GP Doctor Ross Perry has a simple solution for these ailments: drink water.

But he also has a lesser-known tip. He recommends eating foods that are high in potassium. Many hangover symptoms aren’t just down to a lack of water in your body but low levels of electrolytes.

Electrolytes are minerals that help with many functions in your body. When levels are low, you may suffer nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue, and irritability.

He said: “It’s widely known that drinking alcohol blocks the production of a hormone that helps your body hold on to water, therefore leading to dehydration and the loss of electrolytes like potassium and sodium.

“Eating foods the following day containing potassium such as bananas, oranges, apricots, grapefruit honeydew, and cantaloupe melon, leafy greens, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, mushroom, and peas will help to lessen the hangover and replenish the loss of electrolytes making you feel better quicker.”

Eat foods rich in Vitamin C?

As well as topping up on potassium-rich foods, Dr Ross suggests eating foods rich in vitamin C may help too.

However, scientists aren’t entirely certain whether vitamin C can cure a hangover. Past studies have shown that vitamin C does not have any effect on how alcohol is broken down.

Yet, some other studies show that medications that include vitamin C have been successfully used to treat hangovers.

Either way, there’s no harm in topping up on your greens. Doctor Perry said: “Having a healthy dose of vitamin C in your system before and after drinking may help to prevent or reduce the severity of hangovers so think about incorporating some veg such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green and red peppers or drink some freshly squeezed orange juice or tomato juice before the party and the following day.”

You don’t need to go to the gym

According to Perry, a walk outside can help too. But he emphasises that you don’t need to overexert yourself as this can increase your dehydration.

He said: “There’s no shame in taking some paracetamol if you feel you need to but also think about heading outdoors and getting some fresh air which will help to clear the head, boost your mood and get some all-important Vitamin D in the process.

“A walk outside is a better option than over-exerting yourself in the gym as this can just make you feel more dehydrated and worsen the banging head.”

Doctor Perry also offered the following tips:

  • Add cider vinegar to your food or drink – restores natural pH level as the body becomes acidic after alcohol.
  • Eat medium sized meals that aren’t too fatty to avoid making you feel worse
  • Reach for the fruit bowl

Tips for next Christmas

Unfortunately, if you’re googling how to beat a hangover after a night of drinking, you are missing out on the best cure for hangover which is prevention.

“While it’s not the answer people will want to hear, prevention really is the best cure,” said Doctor Kathryn Basford.

She recommended the following tips for preventing a hangover next time you’re planning to have a tipple.

  • Keep track of how much you’re drinking and how strong each drink is (the ABV – alcohol by volume – will be either on the label or you can just read up in advance to know how strong different drinks are and what you’re really drinking)
  • Choose clear spirits (e.g vodka or gin) over dark spirits (e.g rum) and red wine as the latter contain a chemical called congeners, which are thought to worsen hangover symptoms
  • Drink at a pace that’s comfortable for you, rather than keeping up with a group
  • Stay hydrated with water, in between drinks and at the end of the night, to dilute alcohol in your stomach and slow absorption
  • Eat a meal before drinking, ideally including carbohydrates, so you’re not drinking on an empty stomach, which increases the likelihood of vomiting or diarrhoea.

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