Hangover Cures: The Best Ways to Ease Your Symptoms
Oh good morning, sunshine! Feeling a little under the weather, are we? Partied a little too merrily last night? Got that room-spinning, stomach-heaving, sun-hating feeling as soon as you woke up? Well, my friend, I think we both know what’s going on here: you’ve got a wicked hangover. Good job! How’d that happen?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the way that alcohol affects your body, and how much you need to drink to experience a hangover, varies from person to person.
Some factors that can cause hangovers:
- Alcohol causes us to urinate more, which can lead to dehydration.
- It can cause the blood sugar to drop, which can lead to fatigue, weakness, and shakiness.
- Alcohol increases the production of stomach acid, and delays the stomach emptying, which can cause abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
- It causes your blood vessels to expand, which leads to headaches.
- Alcohol triggers an inflammatory response from the immune system. Your immune system in turn may trigger certain agents that commonly produce symptoms like the inability to concentrate, and memory problems.
You could have avoided this whole mess by drinking less. Or by not drinking on an empty stomach. Or by not combining alcohol with cigarettes. Or by sleeping better afterwards. Or by not drinking such dark alcohols, which often contain a high volume of congeners, which are more likely to produce a hangover.
But you didn’t avoid it and now here we are, so what are some things we can do to get you out of this mess?
This one is simple, but crucial. Alcohol is a major diuretic, so it’s been hard at working pushing liquids out of your body. This means that your brain will start pulling water out of other parts of your body, like your stomach, which is part of why your stomach hurts. Hopefully you drank a big glass of water before bed last night, but regardless, get to chugging it pronto.
And if you didn’t drink water while you were drinking alcohol last night, change your plans next time. Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D., a consultant in addiction psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic, told Men’s Health he recommends ordering a glass of water with every beer when you’re out drinking. Alternate between the two to replace lost fluids as you go.
I know the very thought of eating right now is enough to raise the bile. I also know that a lot of people swear by the big greasy breakfast as a hangover cure. Both extremes are bad ideas (eat the greasy breakfast if you want to feel festive about your hangover, but all it’s going to do is give you heartburn). Simple carbs are our friends, so pick foods like the ones your mom would give you when you were little and had a stomach virus.
The thing to do is bring your blood sugar back up gently. Normally, when blood sugar levels dip, your liver reacts by producing more glucose from stored carbs. But if you’ve been drinking too much, your liver is way too busy metabolizing the alcohol to help you out. Until your blood sugar levels get back up to normal, you will feel irritable and tired. Toast, crackers, rice, potatoes. Get on it.
Like we needed another reason to love these little bundles of nutrients. Eggs contain amino acids like taurine, which boosts your liver function, and cysteine which blasts the headache-causing chemical acetaldehyde. Poach, scramble, or fry a couple, and have them with your toast!
Potassium and Sodium.
You’re going to want to restock on both of these electrolytes, because they’re vulnerable to depletion when we drink as a result of fluid loss.
Nutritionist Alyssa Cellini talked about the importance of electrolytes in an interview with Medical Daily: “[B]oth salt and potassium are electrolytes, that hold onto water to decrease dehydration. [A]dding in natural electrolytes that ALSO come with carbohydrates (which are depleted during the liver-detoxing) will make for one less step to feeling better.”
Any foods that contain potassium or salt will help bring those levels back up. We suggest bananas, dates, or yogurt to regain potassium, and pretzels or miso soup for the salt.
Ginger is a generally great food for helping upset stomachs, nausea, and vomiting. The National Institute of Health conducted research that showed eating a combination of ginger, brown sugar, and tangerine pith before drinking can reduce hangover symptoms the next day.
Try making tea from fresh ginger and sipping on it throughout the day. A study in the American Journal of Physiology found that teas can reduce nausea and motion sickness. You could also consider green tea, which can be helpful in liver detoxification.
If your head is pounding so hard you swear you can almost see it, go ahead and take a couple of painkillers. But if you do, make sure they’re anti-inflammatories, like Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, not acetaminophen (such as Tylenol). “While it’s OK for a headache, when combined with a liver that’s working overtime to metabolize alcohol, it can cause liver damage or be deadly,” Dena Davidson, Ph.D., former associate professor of psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine, told Men’s Health.
Sleep is your body’s time to restore, repair, recharge. Hopefully you did your revelling on a weekend night, and you have all day to rest up.
While a lack of sleep doesn’t actually cause hangover symptoms, it can make your symptoms worse. And higher amounts of alcohol can disrupt your sleeping patterns, so chances are good you did not have a solid eight hours after your night of drinking.
You hereby have permission to get back into bed and nap the day away. You’ll feel better soon.
Love your liver.
If you are hungover today, you were unkind to your liver yesterday. Your liver is responsible for processing and removing toxins from your body, and alcohol abuse is one of the major causes of liver problems. So show your liver some love before and after drinking.
There are plenty of foods you can eat to boost your liver health. For starters, eating fresh organic fruits and vegetables (especially leafy greens) is great for you. Limiting your sugar intake is another important step.
Certain herbs are also beneficial for liver health. Milk thistle is among the most effective and popular natural remedies for promoting good liver health.
According to Liver Support, milk thistle seeds “contain a bioflavonoid complex known as silymarin. Silymarin, which is the active ingredient in milk thistle, is simply the purified extract of the fruits (seeds) of the milk thistle plant. […] Double-blind studies on the effect of milk thistle on toxic liver damage (mostly alcohol-related), chronic liver disease and disease caused by certain drugs have been reviewed by medical experts. The experts all concluded that milk thistle is an extremely therapeutically useful medicinal plant product that stabilizes the cell membrane and stimulates protein synthesis while accelerating the process of regeneration in damaged liver tissue.”
Our Milk Thistle Oil is pressed from organic, non-GMO milk thistle seeds, ensuring the best quality milk thistle oil. We also refrain from using heat during our pressing process in order to extract every drop of oil out of each seed without causing any damage to the fatty acid chains or any other nutritional compounds found inside.
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