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YULE BE SORRY.

Are you already overwhelmed by the thought of the looming party season: the excess alcohol, masses of food, fierce socialising and, at times, dubious pleasure?

Some yearn for Christmas to be confined to the two-day ritual; others have mixed feelings and recognise that all the December parties, feasting and sparkle provide a boost to keep us going through winter's darkest days.

However it is for you, here are survival tips to help you emerge from the festivities with sanity, waistline and merriment intact.

FRESHEN UP

Garlic, cheese and alcohol can linger, so chew sugar-free gum to get rid of unpleasant odours. Drops, such as Aveda Peppymint Breath Elixir, may be even better. Gargle with a mouthwash or drink lemon juice and water as soon as you get up. After meals, chew fresh parsley or suck Breathies - herbal breath-freshening capsules with spearmint and parsley seed oil (pounds 3.99 for 60).

Tongue scraping and conditioning reach bacteria missed by bushing. Some dentists carry out tongue scraping - and offer DIY lessons. Call the Fresh Breath Centre: 0171-722-1255.

TAKE HEART

Heartburn is usually the result of eating too much. Fatty foods, chocolate, smoking and alcohol make indigestion worse.

Soothe the pain and cut acidity with cranberry juice or sip hot water with half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Or try a cup of peppermint tea. Alternatively, take a remedy from the chemist.

WAIST NOT

Eat a large bowl of non-creamy soup about 30 minutes before a heavyweight dinner or party.

Eat slowly and off-set a feast by cutting back the day BEFORE. The day AFTER, your stomach expands and you feel hungrier.

Eat early. The later you eat, the more sluggish your metabolism.

Don't offer extra-large portions and put low-fat cheese on the cheeseboard.

POWER UP

If you take regular exercise, don't stop during the Christmas season. It strengthens immunity and may keep you going while others drop. Laughter, relaxation and socialising can help suppress the release of stress hormones that lower natural defences against infection.

Vitamin-packed fruit and vegetables can also boost your resistance - eat five to seven portions a day. Kiwi fruit is especially high in vitamin C, pomegranates are said to contain substances which might kill micro-organisms.

Zinc may help prevent colds and sore throats. So, take some capsules or eat seafood and nuts, which are high in zinc.

Liquid oxygen is a fad from Canada. You drink 20 drops of stabilised oxygen in a glass of water. The idea is to increase energy swiftly and, perhaps, to strengthen the immune

system; but Britain's scientific jury remains to be convinced. Aerobic Oxygen costs pounds 20.90 for a six-week supply (01303-248-664).

DIY DRINK TEST

Alco-screen is a simple saliva test to estimate blood alcohol levels. You saturate the pad end of a dipstick with saliva, wait for two minutes and then compare the colour of the reactive pad with a colour chart to estimate blood alcohol level.

Saliva levels of alcohol are similar to blood levels, but although the test is said to be accurate, both the manufacturers and police warn against using Alco Screen as a definitive guide. Cost: pounds 9.99 for a pack of five tests. For mail order details, phone Medical Innovations on 01204-842830.

BEFORE THE PARTIES...

If you're painting the town red, don't do it with cheap red wine. The congeners it contains - to give it colour - can make that morning-after feeling worse than it has to be.

Other drinks have them, too. The more colourful it is, the deadlier its effect the next day. Go for white wine or up-market reds. Champagne and vodka are usually a safe bet.

Congeners can be mopped up by charcoal tablets, which you can buy at chemist shops. Cabbage, in a salad or in soup, may help, too.

Eating before drinking gives your body a chance to handle the alcohol and a glass of full-fat milk or some virgin olive oil will line the stomach.

Drinking a pint of water first will help flush out the system. Re-stock your levels of vitamins B and C. Eat extra fruit and vegetables.

DURING ...

Ok, you've ignored the advice about eating first. But it's not yet too late.

You can maintain a much lower blood alcohol level if you eat something substantial now.

Make every second drink a fruit juice or mineral water - and go for long drinks like gin and tonic. But take no more than one an hour.

Exercise will pump more oxygen into the bloodstream. Walking home will help, but any vigorous activity will do - use your imagination.

At home, keep off alcohol and have a nice long drink of water. Then give your liver a chance to break down the alcohol before you turn in.

AND AFTER

SLEEP: The best remedy of all. Drink plenty of water when you can.

PAINKILLERS: Morning-after `cures' like Solpadeine can help. Alka Seltzer XS and Resolve have paracetamol and sodium bicarbonate to settle the stomach. Queasiness can be quelled with nux vom homeopathic tablets.

REHYDRATE: Diareze is said to work faster than water alone.

EXERCISE: Try a brisk walk. But DON'T drive - you may still be over the limit.

FOOD: Snacking helps some, while the full monty - even curries - help others. Fish is popular, too.

CAFFEINE: Small amounts may help, but caffein-free Lucozade Energy, may be better.

HERBAL "REVIVAL" DRINK: Lazarus is available by mail order from the Hale Clinic on: 0171-436-5122.

HAIR OF THE DOG: best resisted.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 17, 1997
Words:908
Previous Article:HEALTH BITES.
Next Article:OP OF THE WEEK: LUMPECTOMY.


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