If you’re looking at a packed diary over the festive season, from the office party to drinks with friends, chances are you’ve thought ahead. Everyone has their own favourite ‘hangover cure’, from orange juice to a fry up, but is there anything proactive rather than reactive we could be doing to minimise the effects of a night on the town?
Many people find that wine is the most common culprit for causing hangovers, and for a long time it was thought that sulphites were the culprit. Experts no longer agree with this theory (although sulphites can cause asthma symptoms), and now blame three other ingredients – namely tannins, sugar and histamines. The tannins in red wine can trigger headaches in some people, though by no means in everyone. Your body is more likely to be struggling to process the mixture of sugar and alcohol, a process which requires good hydration – so drinking a lot of water to help prevent headaches isn’t just an old wives’ tale!
American doctor Seymour Diamond, who’s the chairman of Chicago organisation the National Headache Foundation, has his own theory about how we can feel better the morning after. He suggests that drinking two strong cups of coffee before you start knocking back the red wine can help to minimise unwanted side effects. This is because caffeine constricts
According to Dr Seymour Diamond, executive chairman of the National Headache Foundation, drinking two strong cups of coffee before you start on the red wine can limit the unwanted after effects. Caffeine constricts blood vessels, inhibiting vasorelaxation (a reduction in tension of the blood vessel walls, which allows a greater quantity of alcohol into the blood). Talking to the Chicago Tribune, he also recommends adding a little honey to coffee, as the fructose (which differs from the glucose found in sugar) can help you to process the alcohol more quickly.
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