Hangover cures

Caroline Cassidy

What with the excesses of the festive season, it's no wonder we can feel a little the worse for wear. We all have our fall-back hangover cures for the morning after but how many of them actually work? We take a look at a few old favourites and find out whether they're doing more harm than good.

Woman party hungover
Woman party hungover

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A strong coffee
Wake up with a fuzzy head and eyes half shut and you'll probably head straight for the coffee. A hit of caffeine might feel like a quick fix - you may even feel instantly better - but you're pounding headache is destined for a fast return. The symptoms of a hangover are largely due to dehydration and caffeine is only adding to the problem.

Fruit juice
A better choice, especially if you can manage the freshly squeezed variety as it contains a host of helpful vitamins that can replace those the alcohol knocked out. The natural sugar may also help to ease a shaky start to the day but the high acidity levels can play havoc with your fragile stomach. Try combining juice with an energy-boosting banana or yoghurt, or consider vegetable juice or a vegetable-based broth - your stomach will thank you for it!

Hair of the dog
We've all tried it and on days when you can stomach more alcohol, it does appear to perk you up. The bad news is you're merely masking the symptoms and there's a good chance the hangover will just hit you again later. The NHS advises waiting 48 hours before drinking any more alcohol to give your body time to recover. Helpfully nausea and headaches often means that's the preferred option.

It's a no-brainer - alcohol dehydrates, water rehydrates. Dehydration is what causes most of the symptoms of a hangover and the quickest way to a bright eye and a bushy tail is plain old H2O. For that pounding headache add a couple of paracetamol (aspirin may irritate your stomach).

The bacon sandwich
Just the smell of bacon sizzling in the pan can work wonders and research suggests there may be something in the bacon sandwich cure. A 2009 study at Newcastle University found that carb-heavy bread and protein-packed bacon are packed with amino acids which top up the neurotransmitters that heavy night knocked out of you, essentially giving you a clearer head. The researchers also suggested that by boosting your metabolism, your body will be able to get rid of the booze quicker.

Sleep it off
No pressing engagements the following day? Then avoid the hangover horror altogether by staying in bed. In order to deal with the effects of alcohol, your body has to work extra hard which can leave you with a foggy head and limbs of lead. The more sleep you get, the easier it will be for your body to recover.

Do you swear by a particular hangover cure? Tell us what works for you...