Believe it or not, 20-30% of people may be resistant to hangovers, according to a study carried out by Boston University (1). If like most of us, you find you're not in this 'super human' category, the basic fact is that if you drink alcohol, getting a hangover is a potential risk to consider and be prepared for.
Hangover cures - do they really exist?
A systematic review about hangover cures published in the BMJ (2), which examined the results of all existing studies, concluded there is no evidence to show that any of them work.
Of course, that doesn't stop us from using them! If you're feeling fragile on the morning after the night before, it's highly likely you'll want to try something - absolutely anything - to stop the unwelcome, lingering after effects caused by your alcohol consumption.
A few sensible fixes you could try:
- Water - common wisdom recommends drinking a pint of water before going to bed and another one when you wake up in the morning
- Eating light - this is controversial point, as it goes against the well-loved tradition of having fried foods, such a Full English breakfast or similar 'stodgy' fare. But according to GP and health blogger, Dr Jessica Garner, it's best to keep your food intake light and simple when battling a hangover. Vitamin-rich bananas or kiwi fruits are sensible choices. Or opt for eggs, which contain high levels of cysteine, a substance which helps your liver break down toxins
- Gentle exercise - if you can manage a little workout it could improve your mental mood and alleviate some of your physical sufferings. But remember, you're likely to be dehydrated so go easy on yourself
- Sleep - it's an obvious one but resting while your body deals with the ill effects of the alcohol can only do you good.
And finally … some strange 'remedies ' from around the world:
- Pickled sheep eyeball Bloody Mary - this is supposedly a fix used by Mongolians, who drink tomato juice with pickled sheep eyeballs to banish their symptoms. Not one for the squeamish! (3)
- Tripe soup - a popular 'fix' in many countries, including Romania, Turkey and Mexico
- Umeboshi (ultra-sour pickled Japanese apricot) - these pickled fruits, common in Japan are extremely sour and salty. Your tastebuds are likely to get a wake-up call!
- 'Hair of the dog' - this is such a popular myth but there's no scientific proof that adding another dose of alcohol will do anything to help you beat your hangover. You may think it does, but that's your foggy head talking to you. Don't listen!