Chances are, if you’re going to drink a bit too much, this is the time of year you’ll do so. There is no proven cure for treating or preventing a hangover except to not drink. According to the Mayo Clinic, “drinking large amounts of alcohol can cause dehydration, low-blood sugar, digestive irritation and disturbed sleep-all factors that lead to hangover symptoms. The ONLY sure way to prevent a hangover is to drink in moderation or not at all. Moderate drinking is considered 2 drinks a day if you’re a man and 1 drink a day if you’re a woman. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled wines.”
And while there is no cure, here’s some suggestions on how to help prevent a hangover or treat it the next day. And even though I like doing my research (taste-testing especially), I couldn’t test each of these suggestions AND function for the month!
You might notice some of these suggestions are similar and some contradict each other…..some might work for one person and not others, and vice-versa.
BEFORE DRINKING -
- Drink plenty of water so you’ll stay hydrated, and to dilute any alcohol you’ll be drinking.
- Eat a spicy dinner with protein, vegetables, and a complex carb, such as curry with brown rice. The heat will have you guzzling water, so you’ll start the night hydrated, and food slows alcohol absorption, buffering the liver from ethanol onslaught.
- Eat something with fat to help slow your body’s absorption of alcohol.
- Decide how many drinks you’ll have and how slowly you’ll drink each one. And know when to stop….of course if you do this, you won’t have to worry about a hangover!
WHILE DRINKING -
- Drink a glass of water between each drink to dilute the alcohol in your system.
- Choose beer and clear liquors (like vodka, white rum or gin). Red wine and malt liquors tend to produce headaches.
- Skip caffeine mixed drinks (sodas and coffee)…which can make you underestimate your inebriation and tax the liver.
- Eat small bites between drinks..
BEFORE BED -
- Drink a glass of orange juice….because vitamin C speeds up the metabolism of the alcohol by the liver.
- Take B vitamins.
- Drink lots of water.
THE DAY AFTER -
- Take a walk….exercise helps you feel better fast.
- Eat chicken soup.
- Eat apples on an empty stomach.
- Take B vitamin.
- Foods and drinks that contain fructose (fruits and juices), might make you feel better. It eases the metabolic effects of alcohol.
- Consider 1,600 IU of prickly pear-it halved the likelihood of severe hangover in a study (funded by the pills’ manufacturer). Holly Lucille, a naturopathic doctor in L.A. also recommends 2 g of curcumin (available at GNC) and 175 mg of milk thistle (available at Wal-Mart) to help bullet-proof the body.
- Sleep as much as possible. Drink a ton of water when you wake up and then go back to sleep. Every time you wake up, drink another glass of water and then try to sleep again. (Not a good think if you’re at work!)
- If your stomach hurts, take an antacid and 10-20 billion CFU of probiotics. Lactobacillus bacteria can speed up ethanol metabolization.
- Take a non-acetaminophen, over the counter painkiller like aspirin or ibuprofen. *Alcohol disrupts how the liver processes acetaminophen, so taking that can lead to liver inflammation.
- Drink plenty of water and/or electrolyte replenishing sports drinks which will help with dehydration symptoms.
- Raw cabbage can help with headaches.
- Stay away from coffee and energy drinks.
- Eat a bacon sandwich. The bread helps raise your blood sugar and the protein in bacon breaks down to amino acids to help replenish brain neurotransmitters that have been depleted by the alcohol.
- Eat burnt toast…the carbon in the burnt part helps filter impurities. *When people are hospitalized for alcohol poisoning they get a potent carbon slurry pumped into their stomachs.
- Put a chilled eye mask on while squeezing the flesh between your thumb and pointer for five minutes. (Can help with a pounding headache.)
- Eat a banana which helps restore potassium and magnesium.
- Drink a banana milkshake with honey. The banana, along with replenishing potassium, helps calm the stomach. The honey builds up the depleted blood sugar levels and the milk soothes the stomach and rehydrates your system.
- Take 500 mg of ginger capsules every couple of hours or drink ginger tea, which will help soothe your stomach.
- Eat bland foods like crackers or cereal or bread…complex carbs are good choices because alcohol prevents your body from maintaining normal blood sugar, and low blood sugar levels lead to weakness and fatigue.
- When you wake up, drink a glass of 8 ounces of water with 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice and a teaspoon of sugar. Drink it slowly.
- Have a drink.
- Drink tomato juice.
- Drink a bloody mary.
If you have any hangover “cures” that work for you, we’d love for you to share them! Oh, and CHEERS!