Dull, dry skin, puffy face and weight gain. If your face looks like such a mess after a round of fierce partying, just imagine what your insides must be like. "Excessive alcohol messes up your innards, particularly the liver," says Dr Rajesh Upadhyay, who chairs the department of gastroenterology at Jaipur Golden Hospital. "And the results, even if not so apparent now, will surface in time. Unless you take corrective measures right away." We show you what you should really do, after you’ve downed your trusted hangover cure, of course.
For your face damage: Dehydrated and cracked skin, stripped of its natural oils, dilated blood vessels, puffy face and sunken, bloodshot eyes.
Dr Sachin Dhawan, director at the department of clinical and aesthetic dermatology at the Artemis Health Institute, recommends foods that are good sources of Vitamin A, B3, B6, B12 and iron since they get depleted with alcohol intake, making the skin dry and lifeless.
Start with a cleansing diet of antioxidant-rich fruits like apples, tomatoes, amla, strawberries, carrots and papaya. Lower your salt intake to counter the puffiness.
Also pop omega 3 and 6 fatty-acid supplements to rehydrate the skin.
Apply natural oils like a combination of almond, avocado and olive oil or slather on a good moisturiser that is devoid of
artificial fragrance and colour.
A byproduct of alcohol metabolism is aldehyde, which may cause temporary flushing and rosacea. UV radiations worsen skin damage, so always use sunscreen.
If the damage is extreme, get professional help. Electroporation, jet-spray-based vitamin infusion and MesoGlow (which involves tiny injections of vitamins in the skin) are good options. Microcurrent-based treatments improve blood circulation and reduce puffiness around the eyes. And if you’ve lost sleep partying, just take a nap and don’t over exert your body with excessive workouts and long working hours. Alcohol-induced damage is self-healing to a certain extent, only if you stay off the booze.
Cut the bloating damage: Puffy eyes, swollen fingers, plump ankles and a bloated belly. These are clues that your body is retaining more than the usual amount of water. And the dehydrating effect of alcohol is the culprit. When the body is dehydrated, it tends to retain water to make up for the loss. Hence the bloating.
Cut down on salt. No sachets of soup, no ready-to-eat foods, papad or pickle. And no cheap Chinese food (or any food with monosodium glutamate).
Instead, increase your potassium and magnesium intake. Eat at least five servings of fruit and green vegetables for potassium. Fish, meat, pulses, nuts and seeds are good sources too.
For magnesium chomp on nuts (especially almonds), legumes, wheat grains, green vegetables, potatoes, apples, jamun, berries, mangoes, amla, guava and bananas. For the liver damage: Alcohol doesn’t just damage your liver. "It causes gut toxins to reach the liver via the blood stream. These toxins damage the liver cells by allowing fat to accumulate inside the cells," says Dr Upadhyay. Continuing alcohol intake leads to liver cell damage and fibrosis, subsequently causing cirrhosis. "In case there is a pre-existing liver disease, binge drinking may lead to inflammation causing pain, jaundice and accumulation of fluid in the abdomen. Often this surfaces as altered sleep patterns and a state of confusion," he adds.
Stay away from the bottle. The liver is a self-healing organ, but it needs a good length of alcohol-free time to repair itself. Begin a
balanced diet, preferably vegetarian to help its regeneration.
Avoid full-cream dairy products, margarine, processed vegetable oils like vanaspati, fried foods, preserved and fatty meats. Eat good fats like cold-pressed vegetable and seed oils, avocados, oily fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, raw nuts, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, alfalfa seeds, pumpkin seeds and legumes.
Tank up on fruits and vegetables as they provide the essential micronutrients for liver repair. Raw juices are a powerful healing tool. They increase the elimination of toxins from the body.
Try citrus cleansing. Have half a lemon, freshly squeezed, in 500ml warm water every morning.
Drink water, raw juices and teas. Aim for two litres of fluid daily to help your kidneys eliminate toxins that the liver has broken down.
Cut down caffeine intake as it increases liver stress.
Incorporate barley grass and alfalfa in your diet as they act as a liver tonic as well as a liver cleanser.
Oxygenate your blood and liver with gentle yoga, deep breathing.
And quit smoking. It damages your health the most.
From HT Brunch, January 13
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