4 Ways to Beat a Hangover
A hangover is more than an awful feeling, it’s a combination of nausea, aches, and that general hit-by-a-truck feeling. Of course, the best way to beat a hangover is to avoid one altogether, but sometimes these things just sneak up on you when you are having too much fun. I’m certainly not going to tell you not to drink, you’re an adult and you can decide that for yourself, but knowing what to do when you get one is a key in your road to recovery.
The solution to pollution is dilution. Alcohol has a natural diuretic effect on the body, and dehydration from drinking can lead to headaches, fatigue, dizziness, etc.. sound familiar? The morning after, drinking plenty of fluids can help to re-hydrate the body and replace the minerals and electrolytes lost from alcohol. It is best to avoid store-bought sports drinks such as Gatorade, Powerade or Vitamin Waters as these actually contain high amounts of sugar which can lead to greater dehydration and also contain less than ideal ingredients. It is best to focus on drinking filtered water, coconut water, or making a simple homemade sports drink. (So simple even your hungover-self can manage.)
2. Give your Liver some Love
The liver is your master detoxification organ, so it’s no surprise alcohol places extra stress on your liver. The liver is a major storage depot for vitamins and alcohol acts as an antagonist to several vitamins including; vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin K and vitamin E. Essentially, the morning after a big night out, your liver is being asked to play in the biggest game of its life with only half of its squad, so it is in need of a little added support, to say the least. Foods rich in B vitamins, sulfur-rich foods and brassica vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts) can help to support liver function. Additionally, specific supplements, such as milk thistle and activated charcoal, can also help support you on your road to recovery.
Taking milk thistle the morning after can help to support your liver function as it has been shown to protect the liver from ethanol toxicity. Milk thistle is a natural herb and can be purchased capsule, tincture or tea form. While activated charcoal is a potent natural treatment used to trap toxins and chemicals in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so the body doesn’t reabsorb them, and it can help to lessen the effect of digestive upset and nausea. Activated charcoal can also be purchased in capsule or powder form, however, should not be used in excess.
3. Boost your B Vitamins
B vitamins are needed for the efficient phase I of your liver detox pathway and needed for the proper breakdown and elimination of alcohol. B vitamins can be taken in supplement form the night before and/or after drinking, however, they can also be consumed in food form the morning after. Consuming any food rich in B vitamins will help, but specifically those rich in vitamin B1 and B3 are most beneficial, so consider adding some tuna, chicken or salmon, and some sunflower seeds and beans to your morning-after diet.
4. Just Eat Real Food
Although it may seem appealing to down the heaviest and greasiest meal you can find, it often feels good in the moment and eventually worsens the effects of the hangover. Remember, the liver is already overburdened by alcohol consumption so adding more fuel to the fire by asking it to process more toxins will only make the process take longer. Think about eating whole foods, and focusing on good protein, fats and vegetables. Waking up and starting your day with a good breakfast will help get you back on track, and if you can’t stomach a whole meal, try a simple smoothie to at least get some nutrition down the hatch. Bananas are a great easily digested fruit that are also rich in electrolytes which need to be replenished. Or try my personal favourite, a breakfast of spicy eggs, like my spicy potato and chorizo hash, as they are rich in cysteine and B vitamins which are needed for liver support and detoxification.