Hangovers are the worst. If people actually took their own advice on days they are hungover, no one would ever touch a drink again. So you feel like crap on Sunday, but by Thursday, maybe even Wednesday, you are ready to do it all over again. The following are tips to help you ‘manage’ a hangover.
1. Stay Hydrated
It is really important to drink plenty of water while you’re drinking. If you can get your hands on some coconut water or an electrolyte-rich drink even better. Try not to drink carbonated water instead of regular water. Carbonation speeds up alcohol absorption. Alcohol is a diuretic which means you lose more fluids than you take in. This leads to the slowing down of your body’s functions. Having said that, staying hydrated will not completely prevent a hangover but it can help reduce adverse symptoms, such as headache. Make sure to drink plenty of water and fluids the day of your hangover (carbonated water is okay). I would encourage you to sip it throughout the day instead of drinking large quantities at a time. You do want to try and keep it down.
2. Eat Eggs for Breakfast
Drinking too much can affect your blood sugars the following day by lowering them. Blood sugar fluctuations can cause unpleasant symptoms like dizziness, shakiness, and nausea. For this reason, it’s really important to eat when you have a hangover. Secondly, eggs are a good hangover food. They contain an amino acid called cysteine. Cysteine helps break down the toxic by-product of alcohol metabolism, acetaldehyde. Excess build-up of acetaldehyde is what is believed to be the main cause of hangovers and associated symptoms. So have your scrambled eggs, a glass of fresh fruit juice to replenish lost vitamins, and some avocado or banana for potassium.
3. Take a nap
Alcohol disrupts sleep. It disrupts REM sleep, which is restorative. What alcohol does do is make you fall asleep faster, which may make you believe you’re sleeping better. You’re NOT sleeping better. Since it’s a diuretic, it will probably also make you get up in the middle of the night to pee, further disrupting sleep. The less hours you sleep the worse you will likely feel. So on your hangover day, try and take a nap if you can. Tell your spouse you'll do some extra cleaning later! That extra bit of snooze can make a big difference. If you have a headache, take a painkiller before you go for your nap.
4. Snack on Fruit, Vegetables, Nuts and Seeds
Alcohol depletes vitamins and minerals from our systems. B vitamins are particularly vulnerable to depletion from alcohol. Electrolytes (potassium, magnesium, sodium), along with fluids, get excreted. And so does vitamin C, zinc and folic acid. That’s a lot of nutrients! No need to freak out. If you’re mainly a weekend drinker or even if you have a couple of glasses of wine several days a week, you are most likely replenishing your lost vitamins through the diet. If you find that you are hungover 4 days of the week, you may want to consider, well, cutting back on drinking most importantly, and also taking a good B-complex and multi-vitamin supplement. But moving right along, fruit & vegetables (F&Vs), nuts and seeds contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals to help you replenish some lost stores. For example, pumpkin seeds are high in zinc and sunflower seeds in vitamin B1, thiamine. In addition, F&Vs contain water which will help with hydration. F&Vs and nuts and seeds won’t likely cause stomach upset in case you have one of those stomach churning hangovers. If you do, move on to the next point.
5. Drink ginger tea
Ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It has traditionally been used for alleviating gastrointestinal distress and motion sickness. Ginger can thus help soothe an upset stomach and nausea which is often a byproduct of excessive drinking. Ginger is also anti-inflammatory which may help to off-set some of the inflammation caused by excess drinking. Make your own ginger tea by simmering two thumb-size pieces in half a litre of water, more or less, for 15 minutes. Add honey for sweetness and lemon for some extra vitamin C and antioxidants.
The only truly effective hangover cure is to not drink in the first place. The more you drink and the more you mix (different types of alcohol), the worst your hangover will be. There is no amount of water that will prevent a hangover with this type of drinking. So when you drink, be wise. Really. I know this sounds like simplistic advice (because it is), but you’ll thank yourself the next day. Stick to the same drink, sip it, and drink water in between drinks. And never drink on an empty stomach. As a responsible blogger I will close this article by reminding you of Health Canada’s low-risk drinking guidelines: not to exceed 14 drinks per week for men, and 10 for women with a maximum of two drinks per day. One drink is a 5oz glass of red or white wine, 12oz regular beer, 1.5oz hard liquor. Think I'm going to make a little ginger tea myself now.