When you’re feeling hungover, the siren song of a large Big Mac meal may be almost impossible to resist. But if you’re really honest with yourself, you know as well as we do, any greasy respite will be short lived.
That’s why we decided to ask some of our favourite health experts for their top tips on how to cope with a sore head. Of course, their first response was to avoid overdoing it in the first place. So we asked again, ‘You know, theoretically, what could one do if one did overdo it?’ Here’s what they had to say.
To soothe a sore head, Dr Emma Quine recommends targeting the liver, large intestine and pericardium (the sac of tissue around your heart) with some DIY acupressure. “This can help calm nausea, headaches and soothe a strung-out nervous system,” Dr Emma says. “Apply firm pressure to these areas for two to three minutes whilst concentrating on taking slow, deep breaths.”
1. For the liver: “This point is located on the top of your foot about two finger widths above the space where your big toe and the second toe join. It can help release toxins, stress, tension and feelings of anger or irritability and may be tender to the touch,” says Dr Emma. “Follow it up by drinking warm water with lemon to help harmonise the liver organ system which, in Chinese medicine, correlates to a sour flavour.”
2. For the large intestine: “Target the large intestine by applying pressure to the webbing between the thumb and forefinger. This point is thought to reduce headaches and release natural endorphins,” says Dr Emma. “Find the spot by locating the highest point on the fleshy mound of skin when your thumb and index finger are pressed together. Use a pincer grip to hold this point which should feel about 1cm – give or take – in diameter.”
3. For the pericardium (the sac of tissue around the heart): “This one is easier to find if you lightly clench your hand and roll your fist inwards. Apply pressure approximately three finger breadths up from the inner wrist crease, in between the two tendons,” says Emma. “Hold the point with opposing thumb and take deep breaths for 2-3 minutes. This point helps to reduce nausea and anxiety, just the ticket after a big night!”
“After a night out on the bubbles, most likely with little to no sleep, the body needs time to rest and recuperate,” says Christina Sternberg. “Your brain goes under extreme effects from alcohol so giving it some love and attention is a great place to start.” Suhkasana (aka easy pose) works at treat to relax a jittery, brain and restore a body hurting from having too much fun.
“Sit up with your legs out in from of you. Then cross your shins, widen your knees and place each foot under the opposite knee as you bend your knees and fold your legs,” explains Christina. “You want the outer edges of your feet on the floor and your hands resting in your lap or on your knees. Reach up through the crown of your head as you lengthen the spine and draw your tailbone towards the floor. Try to hold the pose for a couple of minutes.”
If by some chance you’re reading this before you go out, Zoe Bingley-Pullin recommends eating a nutrient-rich meal pre-party. “Having a meal or snack, which contains healthy fats, will especially slow the absorption of alcohol,” Zoe says. “The meal should also contain some protein and complex carbs to help stabilise blood sugar and vegetables as the alcohol will be depleting vitamins and minerals.” If it’s too late for preventative snacking, try these carefully considered meals to help bring you back to life.
1. Beef, red capsicum brown rice stir-fry with pumpkin seeds: “This meal is high in zinc, a mineral required to help metabolise alcohol, and is also rich in complex carbohydrates and protein, which helps to stabilise blood sugar levels and provide a sustained release of energy,” says Zoe.
2. Salmon and sweet potato salad: “Alcohol has been shown to increase inflammation in the body, which may contribute to hangover symptoms. Therefore, by eating anti-inflammatory foods, symptoms of excessive alcohol intake may be relieved. In addition, salmon contains protein and sweet potato provides complex carbs and fibre, both of which help to stabilise appetite and provide energy,” Zoe says. “Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and sweet potato contains beta-carotene, which exerts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.”