Had too much to drink last night and you are looking for a quick cure? You’ll find some suggestions of a few foods to eat and drink here. But before we get to the remedies, grab yourself a Sprite and let’s look at a bit of science.
The Mechanics of a Hangover
Alcohol is essentially a poison and drinking too much is actively poisoning yourself. Your body does its best to rid the poison and that can be very hard on your liver.
Drinking too much leads to unpleasant symptoms – headache, nausea, vomiting, thirst and dryness of mouth, tremors, dizziness, fatigue and muscle cramps. It can also lead to death. Hangovers are thought to be an early stage of alcohol withdrawal.
In addition, elevated levels of certain hormones are found in people suffering hangovers. These may contribute to excessive urination and dehydration. Dehydration can trigger migraines in some people and nasty headaches in the rest.
Some of effects of drinking that lead to hangovers include excessive urination, dehydration, headaches, inflamed immune system, increased stomach acid, drop in blood sugar, and dilated blood vessels.
In addition, as your body metabolizes alcohol, there are toxins released that add to the misery of a hangover. Helping your body flush these toxins is vitally important to feeling better.
Avoiding a Hangover in the First Place
The first step to not getting a hangover is not too drink too much. The second is to choose your poison carefully!
Dark liquors like brandy, wine, tequila, whiskey seem to cause hangovers more frequently than do light liquors like white rum, vodka, and gin. Eat food, drink slowly, and in moderation, don’t mix your liquor, and remember that smoking, loud music, and flashing lights make hangovers worse.
Curing the Hangover
There is no one cure for hangover. Unfortunately, only time will get rid of a hangover. However, you can help yourself feel better by drinking water and eating carefully.
Replacing all the water lost from urinating and vomiting is very important. Take pain killers with caution as some like acetaminophen are hard on the liver (as is alcohol). Enough lecture. Now for the good stuff.
Because you have dehydrated yourself, you need to replace the water in your system. The hair of the dog (a morning drink) is not a good remedy and will only make your hangover hang on longer.
Instead try coconut water. It is very high in electrolytes and has a flavor that might make it easier to stomach if you are at the vomiting stage of a hangover.
Tomato juice may boost liver function and thus speeding up alcohol digestion, and all the antioxidants and vitamins will replace those you lost.
Lemon water helps detoxify your overworked liver. It will also help tame the cellular inflammation that comes with drinking alcohol.
Sprite helps your body turn acetaldehyde (a byproduct of metabolizing alcohol) into acetate more quickly and helps gets rid of hangovers faster. Sprite may be the closest thing to a hangover cure.
If you prefer something hot, try ginger tea, made from real ginger root. It will help with nausea when grated into hot water and steeped. Green tea is another excellent source of antioxidants and will help with liver detoxification.
Coffee, the standby of drunks, dilates blood vessels and helps get rid of headaches. It can upset a tender stomach, so drink with care. Add a bit of honey to sweeten it. Honey is great at helping hangovers feel better.
It’s also full of vitamins that will help you feel better. Make an omelet or a scrambled egg to help – they are full of an amino acid, cysteine, that breaks down acetaldehyde.
Bananas are full of potassium that helps calm the shakes. Plus, you can turn them into a smoothie if chewing is too much effort. Other fruits are good as well because of the fiber, nutrients and vitamins.
Cayenne pepper and spicy food help you sweat and make you drink more, so a spicy meal can help clean out toxins. And finally, a spoonful of honey can help the hangovers go away.
The easiest way to cure a hangover is not to get one. While it takes time for a hangover to go away, you can support your body and help regain some of the vitamins, minerals, and water that you lost.
Your liver must work very hard to get rid of all the alcohol, so do your best to support it with lots of good quality liquids like water; foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants; and try not to add to the abuse by overdoing liver-unfriendly pain killers.