March. April. May. June. What have these four months got in common? They each contain a bank holiday – hallelujah! And what does each bank holiday come with? The temptation to have a night out and, in many cases, the dreaded hangover.
One of the main ways alcohol causes a hangover is through dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Alcohol is a diuretic meaning it encourages urination by preventing the kidneys from holding on to water. Sweating and sickness, commonly associated with nights out and hangovers (your-asthma-info.com), are other factors that can lead to dehydration. Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration commonly experienced the morning-after include thirst, weakness, dry mouth and dizziness/light-headedness.
Adequate hydration is important for a variety of internal processes including digestion of food, regulation of blood pressure and regulation of body temperate. Your skin, mood, energy levels and overall well-being will also benefit.
Keeping hydrated is as simple as 1-2-3
1. Know your requirements
It is recommended that we drink 6-8 glasses of fluids per day which is equivalent to approximately 2 litres. Alternatively you can work out the exact amount of fluid you require by the following equation:
“Weight (kg) X 35ml = Ideal fluid consumption (ml)
2. Know the sources
Find it difficult to consume 6-8 glasses of fluid? Chill out! It’s believed that approximately 20% of our fluid intake comes from food. Here are some hydrating foods to help you on your way:
Have you tried a Drop Chef salad? Its perfect to keep you hydrated 🙂
Vegetarian Cobb Salad by DropChef packed full of hydrating greens!
“Fluids” include water, diluted drinks, juices, smoothies, milk, tea and coffee. Sugar-sweetened beverages can be included but it is important to remember that they contribute “empty calories,” i.e. calories with no protein, vitamins or minerals and therefore, should be consumed sparingly.
3. Know some tricks
✔ Use an app to track fluid intake, e.g. Fit Bit or My Fitness Pal.
✔ Treat yourself to a funky water bottle. With many supermarkets, sports shops and clothes shops now stocking a range of colours, shapes and sizes, you’re bound to find one that suits you.
✔ Keep a water bottle at your desk, in the kitchen and in your car. Subtle reminders can act as a prompt to drink up.
✔ To help ease the effects of any hangover that may develop (1) Drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages before you go out (2) Try to match every alcoholic drink with some water (3) Drink water before bed and leave a bottle at arm’s reach – you’ll thank yourself in the morning when you wake up feeling like the Sahara.
- Amy Meegan, BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition, UCD
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