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Myths busted: Hangover Helpers

Along with parties, pressies and warm weather, hangovers can be a common feature of the holiday season. Nutrition director from the Australian Healthy Food Guide, Catherine Saxelby, checks out popular hangover cures to reveal what works best.

You probably know that too many wines cause dehydration, resulting in all sorts of nasty side effects – but there’s more to the story than that. When your body attempts to flush out the alcohol you’ve consumed, you not only lose fluid from the body (causing the headache and dizziness), you lose vitamins and minerals as well. As for the nausea and vomiting, they’re a direct result of the alcohol irritating the lining of the digestive tract. Not so festive-sounding when you put it that way! Given the amount of damage that occurs, what ‘cures’ really work to speed up the recovery process?

The big breakfast
Ah, the greasy bacon and egg roll. Who hasn’t tried this one? Surprisingly, there is some evidence to suggest that eggs might not be such a bad choice the morning after – the yolks are rich in cysteine, a component of protein that scientists believe can break down one of the major end-products of alcohol metabolism, acetaldehyde, which is believed to ‘cause’ hangovers. (You can buy cysteine supplements at pharmacies for this reason). Likewise, if you’ve been dancing or have otherwise burned off heaps of energy, a big brekkie will help refuel you. But it’s wise to hold off on the grease if you are nauseous or vomiting. Light fare, such as toast, stewed fruit, flat lemonade, black tea with sugar, clear broth or boiled rice go down better on a delicate stomach.

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