Whether you choose to party with wine, champagne, gin, prosecco, vodka, tequila, or something completely different (yet equally boozy), you’re guaranteed of one thing the morning after: a splitting headache, a dodgy tummy, and a mouth like sandpaper.
Everyone has their own tried-and-tested cure for the dreaded hangover. Some favour a bacon sandwich, while others opt for a “hair of the dog”. Many claim that cheesy pasta, salty chips, pizza, or, y’know, beautiful, beautiful carbs in general hold the secret to busting those morning-after-the-night-before blues. And, of course, a few prefer to crawl back under their duvet and sob/chug lukewarm Lucozade until they start to feel more human again.
However, it turns out that we’re all missing a trick. Because, if we want to nip our hangovers in the bud once and for all, we need to look to an unlikely store-cupboard hero for help.
That’s right: pickles – or, more specifically – pickle juice may be an acquired taste, but all of that piquant goodness is scientifically proven to nip hangovers in the bud.
How? Well, let us explain…
Alcohol causes dehydration in a variety of ways. Sure, you’re consuming a lot of liquid when you knock back those G&Ts after work, but the alcohol inside them decreases the body's production of anti-diuretic hormone, which is used by the body to reabsorb water.
With less anti-diuretic hormone available, your body loses more fluid than normal through increased urination.
In fact for every 1g of alcohol drunk, urine excretion increases by 10ml1. Which explains all of those frantic pub toilet breaks, we guess.
Professor Oliver James, Head of Clinical Medical Sciences at Newcastle University, tells drinkaware.co.uk: “Suppose you have a pint at lunchtime. At some point you'll need to go to the toilet and get rid of the pint of liquid you've just drunk.
“Then, an hour later, you'll have to pee again because of the added diuretic effect.”
So how does pickle juice play into all of this?
Health expert Dr. Mehmet Oz explains: “A fter a long night of drinking your body is zapped of water and electrolytes, which is why you get headaches, dizziness and cramping.
“The salts in pickle juice will help replenish your electrolytes and put your body back in balance.”
He recommends tossing back a ¼ cup of the stuff either right before you hit the sheets, or first thing when you wake up in the morning. And, yeah, we imagine chowing down on pickled treats is also a good idea, too: thanks to the fermentation process they undergo, they contain “good bacteria” called probiotics – which literally means “for life” because of the job they do.
Professor Tim Spector tells the BBC that fermented foods “can allow production of chemicals called short-chain fatty acids, which improve the immune system, by keeping it balanced and stopping it over-reacting”.
So, if you’ll excuse us, we’re just nipping down the shops for a jar of cornichons… don’t wait up!
Image: Vladislav Muslakov