Handling your hangovers

SINGAPORE - It is that time of the year.

That means it's time to party.

Some will overindulge in the drinks department.

If that is the case, you can expect some agony in the morning.

Here are various ways you can prevent and cure that horrible hangover.

THE CURE

There is always simple medication. Dr Tan advises taking paracetamol for headaches and antacids for gastric pain and heartburn. If all else fails, go see a doctor.

Legendary author and drinker Ernest Hemingway took the "hair of the dog" method rather seriously.

The writer had many hangover remedies. He suggested mixing tomato juice and beer.

But he also recommended Death In The Afternoon - a drink that mixes five glasses of absinthe and champagne together.

The cure - Singapore style

But this can be extreme and sounds powerful enough to make the drinker miss more than just Jan1.

According to the book 50 Ways To Cure A Hangover, an ancient remedy of the Irish people is to bury themselves up to their necks in sand.

Possible if you happen to be at the Siloso Beach Party.

But considering the blistering Singapore sun, it is not something we would recommend.

If your motto is "you only live once" and are up for something extreme, there is a method from Italy.

The Sicilians believed that eating a dried bull penis is the best cure. Not really an over-the-counter remedy.

Of course, you could go for that other traditional Italian recipe and have a strong black coffee.

Try something with a local flavour instead. Spize restaurant, located at River Valley Road, is popular with clubbers as it is open till 6am.

Its drink, The Herbal Mix - consisting of honey, lime juice and fresh ginger - is referred to by customers as "the hangover cure".

If you are up for cooking despite the pounding headache, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver recommends double eggs and bacon - a classic British hangover remedy. That is, if you're in any fit state to even look at food.

A traditional German cure is herring pickled with garlic and onion. These are also called roll mops.

Prevention better than cure?

It is not going to give you the sweetest breath, but you won't regret it come the morning after.

Two healthier options come from Russia and China. The Chinese use strong green tea, while the Russians like to sweat out the toxins in a sauna, complete with whipping themselves with leafy birch branches to stimulate blood flow.

THE PREVENTION

The common line is that you should never drink on an empty stomach. Mr Sam Andros, bartender at Loco Modern Tapas Bar at Boat Quay, suggests eating fatty and greasy food like pasta and cheese before you start your year-end festivities.

It helps to slow the absorption of alcohol.

Dr Tan Chi Chiu, consultant gastroenterologist at Gleneagles Medical Centre, suggests balancing the amount of alcohol you drink with water or fruit punch to prevent dehydration - one of the main reasons for a hangover.

It's hard to do it when the party is in full swing, but it's something you will appreciate in the morning.

If you want to try something more exotic, then tripe, otherwise known as cow stomach, is an Eastern European favourite.

Boiled and eaten with garlic, cream and vinegar, it is meant to prevent you from feeling ill.

But if offal turns you off, it will probably make you throw up even before anything happens.

Drink vodka to prevent hangovers

When drinking, there is less chance of a hangover if you stick to clear liquor such as vodka and gin, and avoid dark ones like brandy, whiskey and red wine.

According to the Mayo Clinic, this is because darker liquids contain more congeners, which your body breaks down into toxins and worsens the hangover.

So even if you are in the dark, be careful what drinks you are accepting. If you have not been pacing yourself, the trouble can start when you stop drinking suddenly.

Doctors tell Esquire magazine that once you are drunk, alcohol is in your bloodstream. As soon as you stop drinking, the alcohol concentrates, making it reach your brain more quickly.

Then the trouble really starts.


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