We often get asked, quite sheepishly, from friends and family this time of year, “if there is a natural way to get over a hangover?”
Now the goal is ALWAYS prevention, and to drink in moderation, but we thought we would share some tips and tricks to help you should you choose to indulge at all those holiday parties.
To really understand the importance of some of these tips, I thought it was important to explain some of the physiology behind a hangover. The dehydration, fatigue, headache, tremors, body aches and pains, irritability, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, anxiety, depression, sensitivity to light and noise all occur due to various metabolic changes that alcohol causes within our system. The dehydration is due to alcohol’s ability to inhibit an anti-diuretic hormone within the kidney which causes the body to lose more water. Another factor that leads to all the symptoms of a hangover is due to the breakdown of ethanol (alcohol) by the liver. Ethanol is broken down by enzymes within the liver to acetaldehyde which is actually more toxic to the body than alcohol itself. The body then has to catch up and get rid of all the acetaldehyde within our body. Below are some tricks you can take to help prevent a hangover.
1. WATER, WATER, WATER! Be sure to have a glass of water after every drink as this will go a long way in terms of keeping you hydrated.
2. Choose Your Drinks Wisely: Avoid sugary-filled sugary filled drinks which will further dehydrate you. Choose spirits with soda water or Perrier and a lime instead of sugary filled sodas, juices and mixed drinks.
3. 1 Drink per hour: Choose one drink for the evening and sip it slowly. It takes about one hour to metabolize and alcoholic beverage.
4. B vitamins: B vitamins are essential for the detoxification process that must occur after having alcohol. If your body is deficient in B vitamins you will detoxify slower and the effects of the hangover could last longer. Be sure to take your B vitamins with food as they can sometimes make people feel a bit nauseous if taken on an empty stomac
5. Drink up those Electrolytes: With all the dehydration that occurs there is inevitably a significant loss of electrolytes. Be sure to replenish your electrolytes (tip – go to your local health food store to find one that is free of added food dyes and colorings. You can often find them in a powder form that can be added to water.
6. Eat cooling foods: With the increased temperature that most people experience you want to focus on eating cooling foods such as cucumbers, persimmons, grapefruit, pears, strawberries, watermelon and avoid warm foods like coffee, cinnamon and spicy foods.
7. Eat your Eggs: Eggs contain a large amount of cysteine an amino acid essential for the breakdown of acetaldehyde. Cysteine also helps to increase the body’s most powerful antioxidant, glutathione, which is easily depleted in the liver from drinking.
Hopefully with these tips you will be able to stick to all your healthy habits and routines throughout the holiday season. And please remember to always drink responsibly and to never drink and drive. There are plenty of options to get you home safely from a holiday party. Happy holidays!