CAUSES OF A HANGOVER
A hangover, characterised by a headache, fatigue and sometimes vomiting, affects different people in different ways and at varying speeds.
This is due to a number of reasons including what the person drank, their genetics and how well their metabolism breaks down alcohol.
When ethanol (alcohol) is poured into the body, it gets converted into acetaldehyde, the team of researchers at the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai explained.
A build-up of acetaldehyde is what causes the hangover, and the body can’t fully recover until this has been destroyed and digested.
HOW TO TREAT A HANGOVER
The naturally-occurring enzymes alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), found in the liver, and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), found in the liver, kidneys, and lung, have the ability to wipe out acetaldehyde – but don’t always act fast enough.
So Dr Srinivasan and the team at the Institute of Chemical Technology tested a variety of foods in a lab to see how they affected the action of the two enzymes.
They tested fruits, vegetables, cereals, spices, dairy and random items like coffee.
THE PERFECT BALANCE
Pear, limes, coconut water, cheese, tomato and cucumber came out top. However, it was not realistic to blend these together in a drink so the researchers used taste testers to help them create a realistic, usable cure.
Using the preferences of a panel of 15 people and the considering the scientific benefits of each food, they decided the best formula.
This product was able to boost the activity of the ADH and ALDH enzymes by 23per cent and 70 per cent, respectively, they found – speeding up the hangover process.
THE BEST AND WORST FOODS FOR A HANGOVER
The Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai found pears, lime, cheese, tomato, cucumber, black tea and green tea boosted both enzymes.
The following boosted one enzyme:
- Dairy: Buttermilk, probiotic drink
- Cereals: Wheat
- Spices: Mace, turmeric, ginger
- Miscellaneous: Coconut water, dates, cocoa
The following foods were found to decrease the activity of both enzymes, and therefore are best to be avoided when you have a hangover:
- Dairy: Milk
- Cereals: Oats, peanuts, millet, sorghum, maize
- Spice: Pepper, cloves, nutmeg, cumin, cinnamon, cassia
- Miscellaneous: Vitamin C, coffee, eggs, commercial anti-hangover product
The study was published in the journal Current Research in Food Science.