Most people will do almost anything in their power to avoid these common hangover symptoms:
- Headache – because alcohol causes the blood vessels in your head to expand and pulsate — which results in a pounding feeling inside your head.
- Nausea – because alcohol stimulates stomach acids, irritates your stomach lining, and delays stomach emptying — which causes discomfort, nausea, and vomiting.
- Weakness – because alcohol causes your blood sugar to drop — which triggers fatigue, shakiness, and weakness.
- Exhaustion –
- Dizziness – because alcohol is a diuretic, so it stimulates urine production. As you urinate more, you become dehydrated — which causes thirst, lightheadedness, and dizziness.
- Inability to concentrate – because alcohol triggers an inflammatory response from your immune system — which results in an inability to concentrate, memory problems, decreased appetite, and loss of interest in usual activities.
There are a lot of popular hangover myths out there.
Unfortunately, most of them are dead wrong!
Following are some solid tips for curing your hangover, plus some things you can do to prevent a hangover from occurring in the first place.
How To Prevent A Hangover:
#1 Have a big meal before you drink — which will slow your body’s absorption of alcohol. Also slightly helpful: eating and drinking at the same time.
Having food in your system means the alcohol is delivered to your bloodstream more slowly, giving it less of a chance to reach high levels. All food slows digestion but fatty meals work best, so eat a steak or pizza, for example. Source
#2 Take 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil before you start drinking — it helps to reduce the absorption of alcohol in your body.
It’s key to take the olive oil before you start drinking, so it will coat the stomach and help prevent alcohol from being absorbed into the bloodstream — the normal cause for “morning-after” headaches. Source
#3 Drink no more than 1 drink per hour — that means: a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine, or a 1½-ounce shot of liquor. In addition to drinking slowly, consider diluting your drinks with ice cubes, water, or fruit juice.
Eating fruits and drinking fruit juices help to decrease the intensity of hangovers. Source
#4 Stick to clear drinks (like white wine, vodka, and gin) rather than dark ones (like red wine, rum, and whiskey) — because clear liquors have fewer congeners (ingredients that give drinks their flavor). Likewise, more expensive alcohol contains fewer congeners, because it undergoes a more rigorous distillation process and filters out a higher percentage.
The British Medical Journal did tests that showed drinking bourbon whiskey is twice as likely to cause a hangover than the same amount of vodka. Source
Red wine contains tannins, which are compounds that are known to trigger headaches in some people. Malt liquors, like whiskey, also tend to produce more severe hangovers. Source
#5 Alternate with non-alcoholic beverages — which will also help to reduce dehydration. It’s a good idea to drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink, if possible.
If you don’t drink water while drinking alcohol, your body will use the water needed by other vital organs, including the brain. This is one reason why you experience headaches. Source
#6 Drink a full glass of water before bedtime — which will help to slow your body’s absorption of alcohol.
Down a tall glass of water (or several) before falling asleep and wake up feeling at least a bit better. Source
How To Cure A Hangover:
#1 Drink water or fruit juice — alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it causes you to lose water. It acts on the pituitary gland in the brain and stops the production of a hormone that controls the re-absorption of water by the kidneys. With this hormone switched off, your bladder fills up with water and you expel more water than you take in.
You might not be facing a hangover if you’d paid more attention to your best friend, water, the night before and alternated a glass of H20 in between every alcoholic beverage. But you didn’t and now you’re in massive, stomach-writhing, head-pounding pain. Alcohol dehydrates your body of fluids, so the more water you drink, the more fluids you replace and the better you will feel. While nursing a bottle of water the next morning will certainly help your hangover, this method is best used preventatively. Source
#2 Eat bland foods & proteins — like crackers, toast, bananas, or eggs which will raise your blood sugar and help with nausea. Eggs contain cysteine, which may help the liver break down one of the toxic metabolites of alcohol. Bananas provide lost electrolytes and replenish the potassium lost due to alcohol’s diuretic (producing urine) properties. Your best bet is to replenish your body’s deficiency of important minerals like magnesium and potassium, which become depleted when you’re dehydrated.
Any food you put in your stomach will slow your body’s absorption of alcohol. But solid food works better than liquid foods, like soup, and carbs and high-protein foods may be a better choice than fatty foods. Source
#3 Avoid tasks that require a lot of concentration — a hangover impairs your concentration and visual-spatial skills (i.e., the ability to orient objects in space around you).
The ethanol content in an alcoholic beverage is the main culprit, as it causes the body to dehydrate. Also, the body must break down the ethanol with enzymes from the liver. This process keeps the brain from getting its normal amount of glucose, which leads to a lack of concentration, fatigue and mood swings. Source
#4 Take Ibuprofen — taking Ibuprofen while you are drinking is not advised because it may increase the risk of liver damage when combined with large amounts of alcohol, however taking Ibuprofen the next day (about an hour before you need to be functional) will help. It’s recommended that you take 800 mg of Ibuprofen.
Over-the-counter painkillers peak in about 4 hours, so the effect of a bedtime dose will be gone by morning. A better plan is to take the pills when you first wake up. Source
#5 Take vitamins B6 and B12 — lower levels of vitamins B6 and B12 can intensify a hangover because alcohol inhibits absorption of these compounds.
Supplements taken the next day can speed your recovery–but don’t take them all the time, he warns, as excessive amounts have been linked to long-term nerve damage. Source
#6 Take prickly pear extract — it lessens some hangover symptoms including nausea, dry mouth, and loss of appetite.
Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus indica) extract has been found to relieve hangover nausea and dry mouth according to researchers at Tulane University and the University of California, San Francisco. Prickly pear is known to reduce inflammation, and hangover symptoms are due to an increase in inflammation. Researchers found that C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation, was 40% higher in the group that took a placebo. The extract was taken 5 hours before alcohol consumption. Source
#7 Drink peppermint tea or chamomile tea — to ease the headache and nausea that’s often associated with a hangover and get some fluids back into your body.
Chamomile tea is great for general soothing and relaxation, but as a hangover remedy, it works wonders on headaches and indigestion, especially when sweetened with honey. Peppermint eases headaches, indigestion and nausea. Drink a cup of peppermint tea or chew on a fresh leaf to calm the stomach and improve stale breath. Source
#8 Sleep it off — sleeping off a hangover is the best way for your body to cope when you’re experiencing severe symptoms of a hangover.
Rest is your best friend at this point to give your body a recover. It is best to stay in bed so call in to work if you have to, tell them you have the stomach flu. You will sound so horrible on the phone they may believe you (unless they saw you at the bar, not a good idea then). Source
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