Get More out of party season with our tried and tested hangover tips
With party season officially upon us, if there’s ever a time you need to Get More Vitamins it’s now! Obviously we would always encourage sensible drinking, and you if can manage it, try to alternate each alcoholic beverage with water to help keep you hydrated throughout the night, but realistically we know that even with the best intentions you can’t always avoid a hangover. So with that in mind here are our top tips to help you combat the morning after.
Eat eggs – Steer clear of a greasy fry up as tempting as it may be, fatty foods can be tricky for the body to digest while it’s dealing with all the alcohol and will probably leave you feeling worse. Instead try poached or scrambled eggs on wholegrain toast. Eggs are a source of choline which is a water-soluble vitamin and important for normal liver function. Eggs also contain the amino acid cysteine, which is a small protein that helps to support liver repair and encourage the production of an antioxidant called glutathione – crucial for helping your to break down acetaldehyde (a by-product of alcohol more toxic than alcohol itself). You can also find cysteine is in oats, dairy, garlic, onions and Brussels sprouts – hello Xmas leftovers.
Bitter greens – If you can face it, try adding bitter fibrous greens to your breakfast like kale or a handful of rocket which can help to stimulate bile flow from the liver and encourage detoxification, helping to your symptoms. Even better? Add artichoke, even if that means an extra topping on your pizza!
Magnesium – Many of us are low in this all essential mineral, involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, it is quickly depleted by alcohol. Magnesium has anti-inflammatory powers and as ‘nature’s relaxant’ may help to soothe headaches and calm anxiety. It can be helpful to top up with magnesium both pre and post party to ease your suffering. Have a bath in magnesium salts or a few squares of dark chocolate to help melt your troubles away.
Vitamin C – is an important antioxidant that is also rapidly used up in protecting your liver from ‘oxidative stress’ caused by alcohol. During the winter months it’s also vital to keep topped up with vitamin C for a healthy immune response and protection against colds and flu. Load up on fruit and veg, or on the go our orange flavoured Get More Vitamin C.
Antioxidants – generally speaking, the more brightly coloured your fruit and veg the higher the concentration of natural antioxidants for combatting excess toxins like alcohol. Try sipping on a smoothie of mixed berries with spinach and add fresh ginger, for its anti-nausea effects.
B vitamins – are crucial for clearing alcohol from the body, yet again are swiftly used up by alcohol so make sure you’re getting enough B vits either from foods such as meat, fish and wholegrains or you might like to add extra B Vits with a supplement or try our apple and raspberry Get More B Vitamins. Vitamin B1 is thought to enhance the effects of cysteine assisting the body with the break down of alcohol and B6 may also help to reduce hangover symptoms.
Order a curry! That’s good news right? Packed with curcumin – the compound responsible for the bright yellow colour of turmeric is a well-known anti-inflammatory with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
And last but not least… just in time for Christmas and New Year… We’ve launched our brand new Get More Recovery Range. Powered with a blend of magnesium, and electrolytes sodium and potassium that are typically disrupted by alcohol (causing dehydration) and boosted with B vits. Originally formulated to replace fluids lost during exercise… they also come in handy after a few festive tipples – trust us we’ve tried it. Available in Orange, Citrus and Cranberry at Tesco and Amazon.
The clocks going back might have brought us an extra hour in bed and a little more light in the mornings, but some research suggests that this twice-yearly event may have a damaging effect on our sleep in the long term.
One of the key ingredients for healthy sleep is the hormone melatonin which helps to regulate our sleep and wake cycles. Typically lowest during the day, melatonin rises at night to promote tiredness and the natural onset and maintenance of sleep. For a peaceful night’s rest it’s important not to disrupt the body’s production of this sleep hormone.
If you struggle to drop off or often wake during the night, now is a good time to review your sleeping habits:
Top 10 tips for better sleep
Natural light: try to get outdoors during the day – not only does this help to support a healthy circadian rhythm, it can improve energy levels and the quality and duration of your sleep. If you struggle to find time or work irregular hours, you might like to think about light therapy, there are various alarm clocks that replicate sunrise, waking you gradually rather than the sudden jolt experienced with traditional alarm clocks or your phone.
Avoid artificial light: blue light from laptops and phones have been proven to reduce melatonin production in the brain. Try to limit access to digital screens for at least an hour before bed, and if you have ‘night mode’ which dims blue light and changes it to a more amber glow, use it.
Exercise: is scientifically proven to improve the quality and length of sleep, so aim to factor in a workout at least 3 times per week. However, avoid high energy routines too close to bedtime or you might feel too wired to wind down in time for sleep, opt for swimming or yoga in the evenings instead.
Caffeine: the rate at which we process caffeine can be influenced by genetics however the average effect of caffeine lasts for approximately 4-6 hours. Drinking tea or coffee late in the day can stimulate the nervous system and prevent sleep, so switch for caffeine free herbal or fruit teas and before bed try calming camomile or valerian. If you’re particularly sensitive be mindful that green tea, chocolate and energy drinks contain caffeine as well as medications such as cold and flu remedies.
Alcohol: you might be tempted to have a ‘nightcap’, and while alcohol is a sedative which initially makes you feel drowsy the effects are short-lived. After a few hours the alcohol begins to wear off and we experience a ‘rebound’ effect causing lighter, less restful sleep and often waking earlier than usual. Alcohol also suppresses melatonin production and can block REM sleep (the most restorative form), so even if we sleep for the same length of time, the quality is affected making us feel tired and groggy. If you’re going to drink in the evening, the optimal window is between 5-7pm (happy hour!) allowing time to process the alcohol and limit the impact on sleep.
Dinner: avoid eating large meals too close to bed time. Feeling full can not only be uncomfortable but breaking down food can also drive up body temperature at a time when it should naturally drop to encourage sleep, the same goes for overly spicy food which can also cause sleep disrupting heartburn.
Instead, eat a small snack before bed: a balanced protein-rich snack helps to balance blood sugar. Sudden drops in blood sugar during the night can cause your adrenal glands to kick in and produce the stress hormone cortisol, stimulating us out of sleep. Try oatcakes with nut butter and banana which contain ‘tryptophan’ an amino acid (protein) which encourages the production of melatonin.
Relaxation: a warm bath an hour before bed slightly raises body temperature, which when it subsequently drops helps to send you to the land of slumber. Gentle yoga, meditation or breathing exercises are also helpful.
If you can’t sleep get up and try again: after 20 minutes tossing and turning, try getting out of bed and find a quiet spot to read a book or try a breathing exercise, but whatever you do – avoid bright lights.
Don’t clock watch! It will only stress you out and reinforce negative thoughts about not being able to sleep, it’s a vicious circle. Resist the urge to check your phone or even better invest in a regular alarm clock - just be sure to turn it away from you before getting your head down.
Fend off those spring sniffles' with some great advice from our resident nutritionist, The Healthy Hedonist, Becky Graham...
As winter turns into spring here in the UK, we can finally welcome lighter, longer days and warmer months. However, less welcome for many is the extra pollen in the air, so if you suffer with seasonal allergies it’s time to get ahead of the game and arm yourself against symptom flare ups with some nutritional know how.
Why do some of us suffer more than others?
Allergies occur for a variety of reasons, they can be inherited or linked to the way we were born, for example infants delivered by C-section are not exposed to the same antibodies from their mothers as those delivered naturally, and as a result the immune system can take longer to mature and defend itself appropriately.
We can also develop allergies in later life, this occurs when the immune system becomes hypersensitive to substances that are normally harmless like certain proteins in foods, pollen or dust mites. The onset of symptoms may be caused by compromised digestion, poor diet, climate or exposure to pollution. Unfortunately, if you are susceptible to one‘atopic’ condition like asthma, atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis or hay fever,you are often sensitive to others.
Hay fever is one of the most common allergies, the NHS estimates around 10 million sufferers in the UK, and that figure is on the up - within the next 20 years it’s expected torise to 30 million. Symptoms are generally brought on by inhaling pollen, which encourages the white blood cells of our immune system to respond by producing antibodies. This triggers the release of a hormone called histamine causing inflammation and manifesting in the classic runny nose, itchy watery eyes, and sneezing.
There are a few ways you can help to reduce the impact of annoying allergies. Follow these 10 practical tips and tricks to support your health during allergy season:
Keep your digestive system happy and healthy. 70-80% of the immune system is located in our gut, so feed friendly bacteria with pre and probiotic-rich foods like onions and garlic, leeks, artichoke, yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, miso and kombucha.
Eat foods high in quercetin. This antioxidant that has an anti-histamine effect. Apples, peppers, berries, cruciferous veg like broccoli and cabbage, leafy greens and lemons are all good sources.
Juice a pineapple. The tough core contains an enzyme called bromelain which can be effective for respiratory irritation and inflammation associated with allergies.
Limit foods that are high in histamine. Some foods are naturally high in histamine, so it may help to limit them to lower the load on your immune system. These include alcohol (particularly wine and beer), cured meats, vinegars, aged cheese and smoked fish.
Increase vitamin C fruit and vegetables. Pack your plate with an abundance of brightly coloured foods like spinach, kale, broccoli and red peppers, as well as citrus fruits and kiwi. If you struggle to get your 5 (or 10!) per day you may like to consider supplementing or stock up on GetMore Vitamin C for an extra boost.
Eat a rainbow to help manage flare ups, colourful foods contain protective antioxidants. The compound anthocyanin found in berries can help to manage inflammation in the skin and support natural defences. Beta-carotene, the orange pigment in carrots, squash and sweet potato is converted into Vitamin A, another essential skin nutrient.
Up your omega 3 for it’s natural anti-inflammatory properties. Include oily fish like mackerel or salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds several times a week.
Spend less time in damp environments. If you generally feel better in hotter, dryer climates, damp may be the problem. Check your home doesn’t have any mouldissues - it has been linked to the worsening of respiratory conditions like asthma.
Limit exposure to pollen. Simple tips like staying inside on windy days, keeping windows closed, taking a shower after being outside and removing shoes when you enter the house can be helpful at reducing contact with these problematic pollens
Top up with immune essential Vitamin D. Low levels are linked to the onset of allergies, and by February we are very much depleted in the UK. However, if spending time outdoors worsens your symptoms, you may want to think about adding a supplement, or get sipping our refreshing mango and passionfruit.
Finally, if you’re still struggling allergy testing can be helpful to determine foods or environmental allergens that may be causing an immune reaction, making your symptoms worse. Speak to your GP or a Nutritionist about blood tests that can measure IgE allergic reactions, which once identified and removed can reduce the burden on your immune system both during allergy season and beyond.
Every single cell in our body has receptors for vitamin D making it arguably the most important vitamin for overall health, and with shorter days as the nights draw in it's worth knowing how to keep levels topped up through winter.
Vitamin D is actually a hormone that is produced in our skin in response to sunlight and has a wide ranging effect on the body. Vitamin D helps to maintain bone density by encouraging the absorption of calcium, it supports the immune system and can have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect in autoimmune conditions like psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, it helps to protect nerve cells and support brain health, balance our sex hormones and plays a role in healthy digestion. However unlike most vitamins it is impossible to get enough through diet alone, here's some nutritionist know how to help maintain your levels.
Top 10 tips to get more vitamin D
Spend as much time as possible outdoors - not only is sunshine essential for vitamin D production but it helps to regulate our circadian rhythm and encourage healthy sleep. While it’s still light, walk the dog or go for a jog before breakfast, roll up your sleeves and eat lunch outside or enjoy an evening stroll before dinner.
Make a habit of including a food source at every meal - try eggs for breakfast, tuna for lunch and salmon for dinner.
Wild salmon - one fillet can contain up to 1000 IU (more than double our daily dose), although farmed salmon contains around half that.
Dairy – cow’s milk is often fortified with vitamin D, it’s also found in butter, yoghurt and cheese, especially ricotta. Some alternative milks such as soya and nut milks are now also fortified.
Eggs – you would need to eat around 20 per day(!) to achieve required levels but they also contain a wide range of other nutrients such as choline for a healthy brain and as a complete source of protein make a good addition to any diet.
Tuna – 1 tin contains around half your daily vitamin D requirement, tinned sardines, mackerel and herring are also good sources.
Meat – pork, lamb and offal contain the highest levels.
Mushrooms – are the only plant source of vitamin D, they absorb sunlight much as we do. Choose wild or those grown outdoors and leave on your windowsill or anywhere in direct sunlight to increase vitamin D content.
Fortified cereals – many cereals are fortified with vitamin D particularly those for children, but it’s important to be mindful of added sugars.
Supplement with vitamin D3 from October to March or try fortified drinks such as Get More Vitamin D which provides your recommended daily allowance of 400 IU.