The holiday season signals the start of many, many parties. But as we all know, the typical downside of partying hard is the hangover that follows it. From throbbing headaches to stomach pain, the symptoms of a hangover remind us that overindulgence does have its consequences. While hangovers can be generally attributed to excessive alcohol intake, there are factors that may affect the length and intensity of hangovers such as the alcohol content in your drink, body type, age, and your unique genetic makeup.
Though we may experience hangovers differently, there are tried and tested ways to remedy hangovers so your body stays refreshed after a night of heavy drinking. This article will discuss what these remedies are to help you get through the season of endless parties—and all the other liquor-filled celebrations ahead.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Dehydration is the biggest contributor to some of the most common symptoms of a hangover, including dizziness, fatigue, and thirst. If you start to feel any of these symptoms, it might be because you’re dehydrated from too much liquor. Alcohol is considered a diuretic, which means your body inhibits the release of vasopressin—the hormone responsible for regulating urine production in your kidneys. As a result, you tend to urinate more frequently.
Paired with other hangover symptoms such as vomiting, sweating, and diarrhea, you might experience heightened dehydration after drinking heavily. As such, it’s best to follow age-old health advice and drink lots of water throughout the day to replenish your body with fluids.
Take Some Medications
With the way they weaken our bodies, hangovers can sometimes feel like getting afflicted with a light fever. As with mild fevers, having a few over-the-counter (OTC) medications in hand might help relieve some of the symptoms. Pain relievers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are readily available at your local drugstore, but you can also buy online medicine if you want to stay at home and focus on nursing a hangover.
Generally, NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen can help minimize aches and pains caused by a hangover. However, it would be ideal to avoid NSAIDs that can cause side effects when taken with alcohol in your system. This includes acetaminophen, which can affect your liver when you take it with alcohol.
In addition to NSAIDs, you may want to consider keeping antacids around if you often experience stomach issues after drinking alcohol. Essentially, antacids work by neutralizing the acids in your stomach to relieve indigestion, heartburn, and nausea. Of course, if you’re regularly taking prescription medications, it’s best to consult your doctor first before taking other OTC drugs.
Eat a Nutrient-Rich Breakfast
Getting your body the nutrients that it needs is a great way to get yourself back up and running after a hangover. Make sure that you eat food rich in carbohydrates, which can increase your blood sugar levels and give you that much-needed energy boost. Examples of healthy, carbohydrate-rich foods include quinoa, oats, bananas, sweet potatoes, beets, oranges, grapefruit, apples, and kidney beans. In addition to carbo-loading, you may want to get your fill of zinc through foods such as nuts, dairy products, eggs, and whole grains.
Because alcohol intake can cause oxidative stress, it may be ideal to fill your breakfast with antioxidant-rich foods as well. Good sources of antioxidants include berries, grapes, pomegranates, spinach, carrot, dark chocolate, and green or black tea.
On a related note, tea can be a great hangover cure because of its stimulating effects. However, if you’re not a tea person, you can opt for caffeine products such as coffee to eliminate hangover grogginess. It would be wise to consume caffeine in moderation, though, as it also has a diuretic effect that can cause more bathroom trips.
Get Adequate Rest
When discussing hangover cures, one would be remiss not to mention one of the simplest and most important remedies: getting enough sleep. Some studies suggest that high alcohol intake can disrupt sleep, so it’s best to take some time off your schedule to rest. In general, sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your health and wellness since it worsens symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and irritability.
Preventing Intense Hangovers
Taking all these remedies aside, there are also ways to prevent severe hangovers from happening in the first place. For one, eating before drinking is known to minimize hangovers since food delays your body’s absorption of alcohol through the bloodstream. Some studies even suggest eating asparagus before consuming alcohol, with the vegetable containing lots of minerals and amino acids along with other nutrients that protect your liver.
It’s also ideal to avoid high-congener liquors such as tequila, whiskey, and cognac if you don’t want to risk intense hangovers. Methanol, for example, is a congener that results in chemicals such as formaldehyde and formic acid when broken down, which can worsen your hangover. Additionally, you may want to avoid alcoholic beverages of a darker color, which usually signify high levels of chemical compounds, including congeners. You could instead go for clear liquors such as vodka, gin, light rum, and white wine which are less likely to cause hangovers.
In the end, though, the wisest choice would be to avoid getting wasted and drink moderately to stave off the effects of drunken revelry.