A bull’s genitalia served a totally different purpose in Sicily, Italy once. Chewing on to it was supposed to be the cure of hangover.
Hangover is as old as the ‘sura’ itself. In Indian mythology, ‘sura’ referred to strong alcoholic beverage. Atharvaveda describes its method of preparation. And it was treated as anesthesia during medical processes. That means ancient Indians were very much familiar with its effects.
It takes a different meaning altogether during the festive season, especially when the New Year is around. Clinical psychologist Dr Pulkit Sharma explains why people like to get drunk at such parties, “It’s mostly about conditioned expectation. People get drunk because they believe this is the only way to enjoy, they see others doing it. However the opposite is true. You also need to cope up with bad aftereffects like hangover and brawl.”
He adds, “Social drinking is mostly about looking cool. When you drink a lot, it makes you numb about pressing issues. People don’t like to feel the pain all the time, especially during New Year parties.”
Overnight partying takes a toll on us the next day, maybe the day after as well. For many, it’s that one day to get spoiled. But nobody likes a bad hangover.
Dr Romel Tickoo, Senior consultant of internal medicine, Max Hospital, Saket, says, “See, hangover is the after effect of too much drinking. Normally, it doesn’t happen after just one or two drinks. Binge drinking does it for you. You start nauseating, your body aches and you feel fatigued. That’s a very simple description for it, but hangover can cause worse than this sometimes.”
“Ideally one should drink well within limits. But if that hasn’t happened and you have started feeling symptoms of a heavy hangover then drink as much fluid as you can. The idea is to keep the body hydrated. Just don’t let it go out of hands,” adds Dr Tickoo.
But what if hangover is unavoidable? “Then try to avoid drinking on empty stomach. Prevention is better than the cure in this regard. Avoid spicy food and combat it before it sets in. The idea is to push alcohol out of the system. If the headache is still there then try a paracetamol,” says Dr Tickoo.
Neha Garg, nutritionist and founder of Nutriguru diet clinic, puts emphasis on home remedies. “Ideally one should drink a lot of water beforehand. Then eat plenty of fruits like banana and guava. Juices too can help. Sometimes people do avoid meals due to hangover, but that’s not advisable.”
She further says, “Sometimes you also need to avoid your daily exercise because that can harm the dehydrated body even more. This can lead to loss of muscles. Also avoid drinking under stressful condition. Green tea or drinks full of antioxidants can also help. If you feel severe headache then cold milk may soothe your mood.”
Dr Pulkit Sharma gives a philosophical answer to the problem of hangover. “People should tell themselves that I can deal with any problem without any help from drinks.”
Precautions before a party
1. Drink a lot of water before the party: Remain hydrated
2. Avoid drinking on an empty stomach: Food prevents acetaldehyde formation
3. Eat high on carbs food before drinking: Fibre keeps your digestive system efficient
4. Stay away from carbonated drinks: They increase the amount of alcohol getting into the blood
5. Avoid spicy food: Excessive gas can cause nausea
How to combat hangover
1. Munching fruits: Banana, Gauva refill body’s potassium needs
2. Take antioxidants: Green tea and coffee can reduce gastrointestinal problems
3. Don’t avoid regular meals: Your body needs to produce fresh juices
4. Cold milk: It raises the blood sugar level
5. Take paracetamol: It can soothe headache