It’s party time! You're all dressed up and ready to go. But beware – if you overindulge, you’ll be feeling and looking pretty grim in the morning. Hallo hangover!
Although some hangover remedies are myths, some actually help you to kick the hangover. Here’s the naturopathic guide to cheating the hangover, and feeling healthier the next day.
Over-drinking leads to hangovers, we all know that. So what is actually going on in your body?
Alcohol is a drug that increases urination and flushes fluids from the body. Drinking coffee the next morning may increase this problem as coffee is also a diuretic.
“The cells in your brain physically change in response to the alcohol’s presence; when the alcohol is gone, you go through withdrawal until those cells get used to doing without the alcohol”, says Mack Mitchell, M.D., vice president of the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation in Baltimore, and assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University.
The sudden depletion of vitamins in your body, as a result of drinking, is one of the causes of hangover jitters.
Here are some tips for avoiding the physical repercussions of overindulging.
Before going out
Eat a light meal before heading out, or at least, some raw almonds or a few spoonfuls of peanut butter. Besides slowing down the effects of alcohol, they are a natural antacid, so they'll prevent you from feeling queasy. Their magnesium content helps ease hangover headaches and their healthy fat content may help prevent some of the alcohol getting absorbed. Having a full stomach also helps to replace the loss of essential nutrients.
During the party
Be kind to your liver by having no more than one alcoholic drink per hour, and stick to the same type of drink throughout the night.
“You're still going to get a hangover, but it will be less bad with a couple of gins or vodkas than with bourbon,” says Rollin Riggs, publisher of The Hangover Handbook: 101 Cures for Humanity's Oldest Malady (Ingram, 1997).
Water it down
A hangover begins with dehydration, so the more water you put into your system, the better. Avoid anything with bubbles in it. Cuba Libre is just as bad as champagne and is a special hazard. The bubbles put the alcohol into your bloodstream much more quickly. Avoid sweet cocktails and sugary foods that encourage you to drink more than you realise.
You had fun and you're ready for bed. Not so fast. Grab another big glass of water or a sports drink to replace lost fluids as well as electrolytes and glucose. And don't pop any pills with it. Several studies have shown that acetaminophen and ibuprofen can irritate your spent liver. If you suffer from migraines, sickness or nausea, take a couple of herbal remedies in the form of tablets. Skullcap (Scutllaria Lateriflora) or Milk Thistle (Silybum Marianum) are natural pain relievers and help the liver to flush out toxins. A vitamin B complex calms nerves and has other overall positive effects on your body such as countering bloodshot eyes. Nux Vomica 30ch is another homeopathic option that helps with nausea.
If you’re going to damage your body by combining the destructive forces of alcohol and nicotine, you will need vitamin A to protect your mouth, throat, nose and lungs.
If you vomit repeatedly or pass out, get to the hospital. If you're lucky, you're just dehydrated. Otherwise, you may have alcohol poisoning which can lead to brain and liver damage. If you throw up, this can decrease the effectiveness of your oral contraceptives, so be careful.
The morning after
Drink ginger tea or green tea instead of coffee. An apple should settle your stomach and help you replenish nutrients. Drink plenty of fruit juices to increase the level of energy and help the body to get rid of alcoholic toxins faster. For a larger hangover breakfast, try a banana pancake and kiwi yoghurt-shake. Bananas and kiwi are high in potassium and their magnesium content helps ease hangover headaches. Yoghurt is rich in digestive enzymes and lighter than milk. Add honey and Royal Jelly for a healthier twist.
Indonesian Chicken soup is thought to work on hangovers as well as on colds, so a bowl or two may help you to get you going in the day. It contains ginger root and boiled eggs. Both are commonly used to treat hangover efficiently.
Try some other liver-loving foods such as carrots, beets, dandelions, avocado or artichokes to help your liver recover from the abuse. Or chomp on a tomato; great for replenishing lost nutrients, especially if you've been throwing up.
So drink if you must, but be informed about the choices you make so that you can not only enjoy your drinking, but prevent nasty hangovers.
Barbara Reale is a Nutrition Practitioner from the Italian College of Naturopathic Iridology in Turin. Her global travels as an accompanying spouse, particularly a two-year stop-off in Jakarta, gave her plenty of time to write articles about living a healthy life style. Barbara now practises in the Netherlands. “Educating about Nutrition is very rewarding and challenging, because my field is still very new here,” she says.
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