To reduce a horrible hangover, try the tips below. As for brave resolution… Well, if you do drink again, take steps to limit the alcohol's impact on your system.

 

Getting Rid of the Dreaded Hangover

For anyone who has ever woken up with a hammering headache and waves of nausea, the first piece of advice is, if you feel like being sick, do it. Vomiting is the body's way of ridding itself of toxins. If you can't survive without a pain-killer, then choose aspirin or ibuprofen. Avoid paracetamol, which can harm your liver if you've been drinking too much alcohol.

 

Severe hangovers

Even without treatment, a hangover should last for no more than 24 hours. If you're still feeling bad after that, call a doctor. Of course, if you can't remember what happened while you were drinking, or if you get hangovers on a regular basis, you may have a drinking problem. Call your doctor to discuss your options.

 

Initial hangover remedies

Drink 2 large glasses of water when you wake up, as alcohol causes dehydration.

Have a large glass of fruit juice. This contains fructose, which speeds up the metabolism of alcohol.

Drinking a cup of coffee will help to narrow the swollen blood vessels in your head. But be careful as if you drink too much you'll become even more dehydrated.

Kudzu is a traditional Chinese remedy used to ease hangovers. You can buy kudzu tincture at some Asian food shops or from a medical herbalist or a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine, though it's hard to find. You can also buy it online but would need to do so in anticipation… Follow the manufacturer's instructions.

 

Food to help hangovers

Hot chicken soup or stock will help to replace the salt and potassium the body loses when you've been drinking.

Bananas are also effective at replacing potassium and other nutrients lost after heavy drinking. Mix 100ml milk with a banana and 2 teaspoons of honey in a blender and drink up. Banana is a good source of potassium, which is lost in urine. And honey is rich in fructose.

Rather than having a fry-up, try fresh fruit, toast and honey. Fruit and honey are good sources of fructose.

 

Natural hangover cures

Although you might want to hibernate, going for a brisk walk or run will boost your production of endorphins, the body's natural pain-killers, which can be lowered after drinking.

The homeopathic remedy Nux vomica is considered an effective cure for hangovers. Dissolve 3-5 pellets of the 30°C potency on the tongue every 4 hours.

Try ‘nature's aspirin’, or white willow bark. This herb contains a natural form of salicylate, the active ingredient in regular aspirin. The tablets and capsules are available from health food shops; take according to manufacturer's instructions.

 

And a hangover cure that won’t work…

The sixteenth-century English dramatist John Heywood suggested that the best way to recover from a hangover was to have the ‘hair of the dog that bit you’ – meaning another alcoholic drink. The expression is a spin-off from the misguided notion that you could recover from a dog bite by plucking a hair from the dog and holding it to the wound. Unfortunately, this advice doesn't work any better for hangovers than it does for dog bites. Drinking your way out of a hangover will only postpone and prolong your misery.

 

Hangover prevention

If you're off to a social occasion where alcohol will be served, eat something – ideally something a bit greasy – before you go. Fatty substances help to coat the intestines, slowing down the absorption of alcohol. Slow absorption means less chance of inebriation – and a smaller chance of developing a hangover the following day.

If you drink spirits, choose vodka or gin over whiskey, rum or brandy, and white wine over red. Clear spirits such as vodka don't contain congeners – naturally occurring compounds that contribute to morning-after nausea and headache. White wine contains fewer congeners than red wine.

Drink slowly. Your body burns alcohol at a regular rate of roughly 30ml an hour. Give it more time to burn that alcohol and less will reach your brain.

Alternate alcoholic drinks with sparkling water, fruit juice or other alcohol-free drinks.

Avoid champagne or any other alcoholic drink with bubbles in it (gin and tonic or rum and cola, say). Fizz puts alcohol into your bloodstream more quickly.

Make sure you have more of the good stuff in you to counter that hangover with A Change of Appetite: Where Delicious Meets Healthy, magical dishes in this book are bursting with flavour, goodness and colour.