While the best way to avoid a hangover is by not overindulging, it never hurts to have a few tips in your first aid kit in the event that they are needed.
Alcohol is a toxin to the body, and too much of it at one time overloads the body's ability to process its toxic effects. The resulting hangover may be mild to severe, with common symptoms being a headache, queasiness, fatigue and body aches. While time is a sure cure, the following natural remedies can help get you back on your feet quickly:
Alcohol acts as a diuretic (a substance that flushes water from the body), and the loss of water results in dehydration, causing headache and fatigue. Drinking water will replenish fluids and help the body to flush out toxins from alcohol. Avoid coffee, which constricts blood vessels and may worsen dehydration.
Homemade fresh ginger tea will help reduce queasiness while increasing fluids. To make ginger tea, add several slices of fresh ginger root to hot water and steep for 15 minutes. Strain and add 1 teaspoon of honey.
Some of the symptoms of hangovers are believed to be from a depletion of magnesium caused by alcohol. Take 400 mg of magnesium in supplement form to help relieve symptoms. Alternatively, choose foods rich in magnesium including leafy green vegetables (Swiss chard, spinach) and seeds (sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds).
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps remove toxins from the body. Dehydration from alcohol may deplete vitamin C and hamper your body’s ability to recover quickly. Take 1,000 mg of vitamin C with your first glass of water, and throughout the day choose fresh fruit rich in vitamin C, including strawberries, oranges, cantaloupe and grapefruit.
While there is no magic bullet for curing a hangover, following these easy natural remedies will have you back in top form in no time.
— Bridget Nichols, dietetic intern, and Debra A. Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.