Jessica Carter looks past the paracetamol and raids the kitchen cupboards in search of a cure for the first hangover of 2013…

It’s mid-morning on January 1st, and despite keeping your dry, blood-shot eyes firmly closed, and your pounding head well and truly buried under your duvet, there is no denying that you’re not only now awake, but almost definitely still wearing your shoes…

After all that Auld Lang Syne-ing last night, your sore throat suddenly makes itself dreadfully apparent and you realise you’re going to have to get up at some point in the near future, in search of liquids to dampen the fire that rages beyond your tonsils. As 2013 slowly gets underway – in a rather painful fashion – you gingerly attempt to stand, and prepare to fully wake the sleeping demon that is this ferocious hangover.

It’s miserable to think that there’s absolutely nothing you can do about this first cracking headache of the year. Or is there?

Sorry, the answer’s still no. Apologies if I momentarily got your hopes up there, but I’m pretty sure that if a hangover cure had been found then we’d all know about it by now and become regular mid-week drinkers. However, some people have their own little ways of easing the morning-after anguish. I myself have watched fragile friends tentatively sip at half a pint of coke and half a pint of orange juice combined. Apparently, it’s called a Thames Water due to its murky brown appearance – and works a treat. Luckily, there are other ways to aid your sorry state and, as ever, I first look to the world of food for solutions.

Head-Friendly Fry-Up

If you can’t face the hair of the dog, there is, of course, the obvious fry-up. Even if you’re not generally a fan, its individual components are proven to help, so it’s only logical to get sizzling.

Eggs – these contain a substance called cysteine, which fights the acetaldehyde toxins that are produced by alcohol and result in that horrendous hung-over feeling. Our bodies do produce cysteine, but there’s by no means a bottomless supply. Help yourself out with a couple of eggs served sunny side-up.

Tomatoes – a superb source of vitamin C when your own stocks have been ravaged by drink. They also contain glutathione, a substance that works to neutralise your toxin-flooded blood vessels.

Beans – these may be small but don’t be fooled, each little guy is carrying the fibre, folic acid and protein your poor, tortured body is crying out for.

Mushrooms – these provide a channel through which we can receive the antioxidant selenium, as well as good old liver life-saver vitamin B.

Whole-grain bread – pick this to not only satisfy chronic carb cravings and sponge up the damage, but to bestow more of that precious vitamin B and essential fatty acids. Plus, it releases its energy slowly, avoiding that double dip hangover and afternoon crash.

Cocktail Cure

A full English can be a bit much for some, so perhaps a Prairie Oyster mixed up using some of the same ingredients will slide down easier. There are a few variations on this recipe, but mine involves:

Egg yolk
Tomato juice
A splash of Worcester sauce
Dash of Tabasco
Dribble of vinegar
Pinch of salt and pepper
25ml of brandy (optional)

Either shake together or mix with the yolk kept whole. It may seem like a mishmash of ingredients, topped off with the evil substance that got you into this mess, but as some of your symptoms are likely to be caused by alcohol withdrawal, it makes sense to slip a sneaky medicinal shot in there. Just down it in one if you can – you won’t want to draw out the process, believe me.

Smooth Operator

You need fruit and you need it fast. Lack of potassium is probably what’s causing that nauseous feeling and making you feel so darn tired that you can’t imagine ever breaking out of that 13-tog goose-down cocoon. Each of these smoothie ingredients are champion for getting you up and running after all that vodka chasing. Whizz all three up for a quick and easy remedy.

Banana – medicinal gold, sent down from the gods to restock potassium levels and help us on the road to recovery on New Year’s Day.

Honey – contains fructose, which science buffs reckon naturally breaks down alcohol in the body.

Milk – admittedly, this would have been more use before you started drinking, but like eggs, it contains that much-needed cysteine.

Stir-Fry Savvy

A nice light meal for later on, packed with veg and right on the money for both mental and physical repair. Ginger puts up a decent fight against nausea, settling your unfortunate tummy and acting as an anti-inflammatory for your insides. The noodles or rice will feed your hung-over carb hankerings, while garlic and olive oil slow the absorption of alcohol. Hmm, perhaps you should have had the stir fry before the drinking sesh…

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