Celebrate without suffering when you welcome in the New Year
30th December 2013
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Watford resident, Jacqui Bryson shares her top tips for avoiding that dreaded New Year's Day hangover...

Well I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one to have woken up at least once this past week feeling like the previous night must at some point have included doing twelve rounds with Mike Tyson… and promising myself a future devoid of any alcohol consumption whatsoever.

And while the memory of that suffering is still far from distant, I remain confident that today I will keep that promise. But, come New Year's Eve, the memory will fade and I will adjust my promise to suit. Obviously I won’t go mad, but not joining in with the celebrations at all is positively rude… surely a couple of drinks out and about in Watford won't hurt too much... and so history repeats itself.

Therefore the only solution is to be prepared. And to this end I have read, researched and asked of more sensible friends what tips can be offered to avoid the dreaded hangover. Here is a selection of the best.

Do not drink on an empty stomach.

Alcohol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and the rate at which this happens depends on the type of food that is in your system. Carbohydrates and foods with a high fat percentage slow the absorption down.

Try to avoid sweet drinks.

Alcopops can be very deceiving in that their sweetness not only masks the taste of alcohol, which easily fools you into thinking you haven't had as much to drink as you actually have, but as these are predominantly carbonated drinks, the carbon dioxide will speed the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.

Alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.

We all know this one but few of us actually put it into practice. It basically halves your alcohol consumption, and can make a decent saving in your wallet as well! If you feel as if you’re being left out, make every alcoholic drink a long one…and remember, shots are the work of the devil!

Take your vitamins.

After you come home from a night out, take a good multivitamin that contains Vitamin C which will help your body break the alcohol down. Try to eat something before jumping (crawling?!) into bed – and no, we are not talking about a kebab. Try a banana, which contains B-6 and potassium. B-6 is claimed to be a good hangover killer, and your body needs to replace potassium lost through the diuretic effects of the alcohol.

Water, water and more water.

The main cause of that hangover is dehydration (which also has a hand in those massive hangover headaches. I absolutely swear by a full pint of water and two paracetamol before hitting the sack. Keep a large bottle of water on the bedside table and steer clear of that late night coffee, not only is the caffeine a stimulant, it is also a diuretic which will dehydrate you.

So, what if your prevention methods failed?

You went out full of good intentions, having popped a vitamin pill, had a nice bowl of pasta and ordered a refreshing white wine spritzer. But somewhere along the line you got led astray…

Fresh fruit juice rehydrates your body, fills your vitamin supply right back up, and energises you. Peppermint or ginger tea will help settle your stomach as well as replacing fluids, ginseng, Lucozade and flat lemonade all came up more than once when canvassing friends, as did sports/energy drinks.

Many people swear by the great British fry up as an essential element of hangover recovery. Whilst it might leave you feeling slightly better, this is temporary and I guarantee within an hour you will feel worse than when you woke up. Heavy fried food will just weigh you down, and when it contains salt, will further dehydrate you.

What your body needs now are light, healthy foods. Eggs by all means – they contain cysteine, a substance that breaks down the toxins caused by a hangover. Boiled or scrambled on toast is a good option. If you’re up to it, a raw egg whisked into a glass of tomato juice (you can’t taste it, honest!) combines the benefits of the egg with those of tomatoes which some researchers believe contain oxidants which actually absorb the alcohol content in the blood. Now I cannot swear to this as fact, but it is definitely a remedy which has been around for a long time.

Get some exercise and fresh air. You might not feel like it, but a brisk walk, ideally somewhere peaceful, will benefit both your mind and your body

And if all else fails try the Irish remedy where it was said that the cure for a hangover is to bury the ailing person up to the neck in moist river sand. Now this may be folklore but there have been times where I would have been prepared to try anything...

These tips should help you on your way to a bearable morning after a New Year's Eve in Watford. And if not, well… it’s only once a year!

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