Guilty pleasures: Can you ease the effects of drinking too much?
By Sean O'Neill Make it a half (Image: Polfoto/PYMCA) If you like to end the night with tequila slammers, a pounding head could be the least of your worries. In the long run, drinking to excess risks harming your liver and other organs, various cancers and raised blood pressure. Moderate drinking was thought to offer some protection against cardiovascular disease. One study found that a small drink every other day can reduce the risk of heart attack by a third, possibly because alcohol helps thin the blood. That study was in men, and more recent research suggests that the only people who might stand to benefit from light drinking are women over 65. Even so, there are things you can do to maximise the pleasure and nix the pain. If you wake up with the start of a hangover, trust your instinct and keep the curtains tightly closed. Analía Karadayian and her colleagues at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina gave mice alcohol and then monitored their hangovers. Under normal day/night conditions, the animals took about 20 hours to get back to their normal levels of activity and coordination. But mice left to recover in total darkness were fighting fit in just 8 hours. “Hangovers can break the operation of our internal clock, so darkness could encourage recovery,” says Karadayian. If you find yourself dragged into a drinking game and want to keep your head while all about are losing theirs, is there anything you can do to ward off intoxication? There’s nothing proven to help yet, but there’s promise in a traditional Chinese remedy: