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Thursday 29 September 2016

Après-match hangover? Here's the cure

Wellbeing

The Irish squad acknowledge the support of their fans after the match. Photo: Reuters
The Irish squad acknowledge the support of their fans after the match. Photo: Reuters

Win, lose or draw, let's face it, you were always going to be nursing a severely debilitating hangover today.

The Irish squad's motto has been 'Go big or Go home' and the odds are you too went big, overdid it on the shots and woke up on your bathroom floor.

Bleary-eyed and reeking of stale sweat and vodka, you now resemble some type of swamp creature dressed entirely in green.

If you're still clinging hopelessly to the toilet bowl despite being due in work over an hour ago, there's no time to embrace that body-aching regret.

Curling up in the foetal position under your desk is simply not an option. This is the one working day you need to turn up, because everyone and their mother saw you knocking back pints in the pub last night.

If you're feeling particularly desperate, and close to death, health guru Gwyneth Paltrow thinks you should work your hangover off in the bath.

"Just draw a bath that is as hot as you can handle it and mix in some Epsom salts and baking soda. Soak for 20 minutes and then pop into a freezing cold shower for one minute. Get back in the hot bath and stay until you're warmed up. Then get back in the shower for one more minute."

Or you could just behave like a normal person and grab a McDonald's before you head to work, a la Cameron Diaz

"I have an Egg McMuffin and a beer. You need to drink more of the alcohol you've killed yourself with-the classic hair of the dog."

Of course, if you're looking for a real hangover cure, you may want to listen to the experts.

Aveen Bannon, a dietitian with The Dublin Nutrition Centre shares her best-kept secrets to returning to life again after obliterating your liver with that last round.

You know the drill: you were supposed to drink a litre of water before you fell asleep last night, but instead, you bypassed the kitchen and passed out in your full Irish kit on your bathroom floor. If you're experiencing a whole world of pain, the first thing you need to do is drink some H20.

Aveen says: "The ethanol in alcohol increases urine production, leading to dehydration, nausea, and dry mouth. Your body is basically depleted of liquids. As soon as you wake up sip ice cold water - cold water is absorbed into the body faster."

To beat that hangover haze, aim for at least eight glasses of H20. It's the only way to normalise your body fluids.

Now could also be the time to stock up on coconut water, which has five of the electrolytes found in human blood.

Come midday, you will either be chowing down on a Domino's Meat Feast, or taking the health and wellness approach and grinding your teeth on a green smoothie. Whether you're in the Kate Hudson camp ("I'll drink lots of tomato juice, eat fresh fruit and an avocado"), or more likely, the Kate Winslet camp ("A sausage and bacon sarnie usually does it for me"), there are some hard and fast rules when it comes to hangover food.

Aveen says: "Fatty, stodgy food can feel great when you are eating it, but it's never a good idea. Fry-ups are very salty, which will make you feel thirstier, and high fatty foods can make your nausea worse.

"You want to go for quite bland food that will restore those lost blood sugars but are gentle on the stomach. A classic one is a banana on toast. When it comes to food, almost think beige. Simple, bland food is the way forward until you feel better."

Choosing foods that are high in fructose like apples, bananas and honey can also help your body metabolise alcohol more quickly.

Along with hydration, your body needs nutrients. Alcohol disrupts your body's ability to absorb nutrients, so while there's a temptation to inhale some grease, you should be eating vitamin and mineral-rich food. Leafy greens and watermelon are the perfect hangover foods, while protein-packed bits like eggs and avocado will give your system the nutrition it's craving.

Aveen adds: "Our instinct is to go for salty food because that's what our body is craving to encourage us to drink more water. If you look at central European countries like Germany, hangover foods consist of smoothies and a bowl of fruit."

Not everyone has a job that allows them to knock off for an hour's kip. But if needs must, you may want to stake your claim on the office supply cupboard.

"One unit of alcohol impairs one hour of sleep that is why you are so exhausted the next day after a heavy session. Really, the key is sleep. If you can, nap."

When it comes to pain relief Aveen says: "Go for something that is a little lighter on the stomach like paracetamol.

"Anti-inflammatories can be quite hard on the stomach and may make you feel ill."

Hitting the gym is probably the last thing you want to do when you're dying a slow and painful death. But breaking a sweat is one of the best cures for helping people kick headaches, bloat, and fatigue. It will even help speed up your metabolism so that it processes the alcohol more quickly.

Likewise, sex may be the last thing on your mind but it could make you bounce back from your hangover quicker. Getting hot and heavy between the sheets releases endorphins and the hormone oxytocin, which act as natural painkillers.

And as for hair of the dog? Well, it's Monday isn't it, that alone means you deserve a drink.

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