How to avoid a festive hangover

It is possible to enjoy a few festive drinks without suffering the next day.
It is possible to enjoy a few festive drinks without suffering the next day. Photo: Cultura Exclusive/Sofie Delauw

Once you become a parent, big nights out are few and far between. That's a good thing, because the only thing worse than having a hangover, is having a hangover while caring for young children.

But that doesn't mean mums and dads shouldn't be able to enjoy a drink or two every now and then - especially during the festive season.

With that in mind, here are some tips to prevent a throbbing head after a day or night celebrating with family and friends.

Pre-party preparation

This is key to avoiding the gruesome morning-after. Keep hydrated and nourished.

According to Natropath Emma Sutherland, in the 12 hours leading up our event we should aim to drink 33mls of purified water per kg of body weight, so for a 60kg woman that is 1.98 litres.

Incorporating heart-healthy good fats, like nuts, salmon, seeds and avocados, into your pre-party meal will also help. They have a stomach-coating effect, slowing down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.   

If you want an extra helping hand when it comes to preventing a throbbing head, Sutherland recommends Revivol Hangover Preventative. Revivol tablets are taken when you start drinking alcohol and contain B group vitamins, Milk Thistle, Bacopa and Willow Tree extract.

"It's a great natural product that helps the body deal with the effects of drinking alcohol," Sutherland, who is Revivol ambassador, says.

"Its ingredients boost your digestive system, help your liver detox and reduce pain. It's not a licence to go overboard and drink too much, but it helps you feel clear headed the day after a night out."

Choose your drink(s) wisely

Skip the sugary mixers and don't combine drinks. You may think vodka sodas are better for you as they hydrate you while you drink, but this is false. Counterintuitively, water, tonic and soda as mixers actually increase the absorption of alcohol when compared to drinking booze on its own.

According to physician Steven Richardson, the best drink you can order is a triple-distilled vodka on the rocks. "The clear liquor has few congeners, distillation removes harmful impurities, and skipping a sweet mixer means no extra sugar, " he says.

Light alcohols are also better than dark alcohols, as they contain a lower concentration of congeners, the free radicals that disrupt your body's alkaline balance and sends it into fight mode. Once you have your drink, sip and savour it, and never gulp.

Don't smoke

Sutherland says many people who don't smoke on a daily basis will have a cigarette when they have a few drinks. She says this is a big mistake for anyone hoping to avoid a hangover.

"It makes sense that when you put more toxins in your body, you will feel much worse the next day," she says.

Get a good night's sleep

Alcohol might help you get to sleep but research shows it causes a restless sleep in the second half of your night. Sutherland says even one glass of wine can cause disrupted sleep.

In order to promote a good night's rest Sutherland says to turn the air-conditioner as a cooler room facilitates better sleep.

The next day - rehydrate

Electrolytes assist in your body's absorption of water when it's feeling run down. To restore the electrolyte balance and rehydrate fast, grab yourself a glass, chuck in some ice, squeeze in lemon or lime, add a pinch of sea salt and pour over coconut water for a refreshing, replenishing, mineral-rich drink.

Are you a fan of 'hair of the dog'? Try kombucha instead. The lightly fermented tea is tangy, sweet, sparkling and rich in probiotics. Drink it out of a whisky glass if it makes you feel fancy. 

Breakfast of champions

Classic hangover brunch usually consists of a greasy fry-up and that classic cocktail of paracetamol and Coke, but you can do better.

Eggs are great as the amino acids in the yolk help to clear out toxins. They also contain cysteine, which is needed to break down acetaldehyde, alcohol's toxic by-product. Serve them poached, boiled or served sunny side up in coconut oil.

Add nutrient-rich avocado, beans and tomatoes as an easy-to-digest alternative to toast. Coconut water, bananas and bone broth are also good because they contain electrolytes, which bacon and sausages are best avoided as the nitrites in them only add to the toxic burden on your body.