Water and more sleep may be the top recommendations to help cure a hangover. But are they truly the best remedies for recovery? Here are 15 food and drink suggestions that will best replenish your lost nutrients—and relieve your queasy tummy and aching head.
Hangover or Carried Over?
There are many theories on how to cure a dreaded hangover. Most recommendations are based on rehydration. Others are centered on delivering lost nutrients back into your system. And, of course, anyone with experience will tell you that going back to sleep will help relieve you from your ailing, zombie state.
But consider this: What if you’re not hungover, but instead, you’re carried over—you’re still drunk. Or, at the least, you’re hedging towards sobriety, but the alcohol is still wreaking havoc on your brain and belly.
According to the Alcohol Hangover Research Group (AHRG), your hangover symptoms will peak around 12 hours after your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is back to zero. AHRG also has a different theory on remedies for those suffering from day-after-drinking-pains. They believe a hangover is actually an inflammatory response.
Cytokines are molecules that send a signal when there’s some type of infection. It’s an immune response when you’re sick, or there’s inflammation in your body. A Korean study discovered that people with hangovers have very high levels of cytokines. Elevated levels of the particles generally create symptoms like: nausea, headache, fatigue, chills, and even memory disruption. Sound familiar?
Remedies to Cover Every Theory
No matter which theory you believe causes a hangover, we’ve got remedies galore. Here are drinks and foods that can help cure. At least one of these choices should cover your bases and strike out the “brown bottle flu.”
- Coconut water- contains antioxidants and electrolytes (potassium.) It helps rehydrate cells and is gentle on the stomach.
- Ginger ale or Ginger tea– helps prevent nausea and reduces inflammation.
- Bitters– an ancient drink prepared from roots, herbs, fruit, and bark. The tincture engages the digestive system and calms an upset stomach.
- Chicken broth– helps restore lost sodium and potassium.
- Carrots and celery – the high fiber slows the absorption of alcohol into your blood stream. Best to munch on these before the hangover strikes.
- Apples and bananas – the fructose from these fruits will help burn the alcohol quicker.
- Sweet potatoes– they’re high in potassium, which is an electrolyte. They’ll help you rebalance and rehydrate.
- Tomatoes or tomato juice– they contain lycopene, which helps with liver function. A Bloody Mary with a celery sprig and an olive is a perfect hangover remedy—just leave out the vodka.
- Green tea- is an antioxidant and will protect your liver. It can also give you a caffeine boost without dehydrating you the way coffee will.
- Dark chocolate- it’s a prebiotic, which will help with your digestion. It’s also magnesium-rich, which will help replace lost nutrients.
- Salmon– contains Omega-3 fatty acids, proven to reduce inflammation. The smell might make you queasy, so try lox on a bagel or scrambled into eggs.
- Eggs– they contain cysteine, which helps break down and eliminate toxins. A hard-boiled egg goes down easily and will offer you a protein boost to boot.
- Asparagus– contains minerals and amino acids that help detoxify the liver.
- Oatmeal- will help neutralize acids in your tummy. High in vitamin B, oats can also safely and naturally rebalance your blood sugar.
- Miso Soup– will help rehydrate, aid with digestion, and the tofu is gentle and offers a protein boost.
Controversial Hangover Remedies That Will Make Your Head Spin
Some people swear by taking Tylenol (Acetaminophen) during or after indulging in alcoholic beverages. They claim it reduces and relieves hangover symptoms. That may be true, but warnings abound that mixing alcohol and acetaminophen can cause irreversible liver damage.
Other hangover pundits recommend exercise to flush out the toxins. They claim sweating and getting your heart rate up is beneficial. Conversely, there are health experts who warn against doing strenuous exercise hungover; the chance for further dehydration and stress on the heart is cautioned.
Some drinkers suggest a “hair of the dog.” They believe feeding your body what it’s craving (more alcohol) will reduce hangover symptoms. That may be true, but others claim that by drinking again, all you’re doing is postponing recovery.
Of course, the best remedy for a hangover is prevention—basically, don’t drink too much. Always keep in mind that your body is at your service; try not to do it too much of a disservice by overindulging.
And never drink alcohol and get behind the wheel of a vehicle to drive. And don’t agree to be a passenger in an intoxicated person’s vehicle. Safety first. Always. Now go have some fun!
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