Top Five Remedies to Preventing a Hangover
It’s no secret that intoxication has a number of immediate negative consequences like impairing our judgment and the ability to do most things. But even after a drinker has sobered up, alcohol can still be causing some harm to our body. The most common symptoms are headache, nausea, fatigue and dehydration. The severity and number of symptoms varies from person to person; however, it is generally true that the more alcohol a drinker consumes, the worse the hangover will be. Hangover remedies range from drinking a little more alcohol the next morning, to burnt toast and black coffee to an over-the-counter product like Chaser. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Drinking Plenty of Water
Alcohol is a diuretic and causes dehydration. By replenishing the body’s water supply after a night of drinking helps dilute the leftover byproducts in the stomach. As a prevention method, drinking a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage slows down the process by providing more time for the body to deal with the alcohol (the body can only process about three-quarters of an ounce of alcohol per hour.
2. Replenishing with Electrolytes
Besides drinking water, drinking sports drinks is very beneficial. Sports drinks have balanced electrolyte content and are usually the first choice for re-hydration. One of the most well-known brands is the Gatorade that has 50 calories and includes 14 g of sugar in an 8 oz serving. Another top choice to keep in mind is Pedialyte which contains electrolytes, sugar and water. It is designed to promote quick fluid and electrolyte absorption while controlling the ratio of sugars, dextrose and fructose, with the amount of electrolytes recommended.
One of the healthiest electrolyte drinks available is coconut water, as it naturally contains sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Besides hydrating you, it provides five essential electrolytes and, for the health conscious, is low in carbs, and does not contain any cholesterol or fat. If you prefer to use plain water to rehydrate, it is recommended to add salt and sugar to the water which helps replace the sodium and glycogen lost the night before or consume a banana which helps in replenishing the potassium.
Here are some other healthy electrolyte options:
- Kale or kale chips – Potassium
- Avocado – Potassium
- Banana – Potassium
- Dulse (seaweed) – Sodium
- Himalayan Salt – Sodium
- Smoked salmon – Magnesium Chloride
- Almonds, Walnuts or cashews – Magnesium Chloride
- Organic peanut butter – Magnesium Chloride
- Yogurt – Calcium
- Glass of organic milk – Calcium
- A handful of almonds – Calcium
- Tahini butter – Calcium
3. Avoid Drinking Alcohol on an Empty Stomach
A full stomach slows down the absorption of alcohol, giving the body more time to process the toxins. Having food in the stomach also decreases stomach irritation, in turn reducing the likelihood that a drinker will vomit. A Mediterranean folk tactic is to take a spoonful of olive oil before drinking alcohol because the oil sticks to the stomach lining longer and therefore slows down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. While that might make it take longer to feel the alcohol’s effects, it also gives the body more time to process the byproducts and will decrease a drinker’s chances of having a hangover.
4. Avoid Mixing Types of Alcohol
All forms of alcohol can give you a nasty hangover; however, some types of alcohol can be meaner than others. When mixing drinks, many people tend to drink their drinks faster which could cause hangovers simply due to the large amount of alcohol being consumed in shorter periods of time. Mixing carbonated drinks with non-carbonated drinks can cause more problems due to the carbonation which tends to speed up the metabolism process. Hard liquor takes a bit longer to metabolize and break down as opposed to say a light beer. The harder spirits will be metabolized at the same speed at the light beer. Our bodies require time to slowly adjust to the change needed to readjust to the new form of alcohol needing to be broken down and processed.
5. Be Physically Active
Mild exercise such as yoga stretches or walking can help you to work a hangover out of your system. It is very important to remain adequately hydrated and replenish electrolytes if you are exercising with a hangover since your body is already dehydrated.
The Ultimate Hangover Cure? BBC News. December 2005