How to cure Hangover: 7 causes, 15 prevention, & cures (a lot)
Drinking booze is fun, but not so much after “too much drinking”. Prevention is the key, but I know not all of us would do it. So let’s learn how to cure a hangover in many ways.
Table of Contents
Hangover sucks. So before you drink (too much), learn about a hangover (hoping you can avoid a hangover at all the costs).
A hangover is a group of icky symptoms that can develop after drinking too much alcohol. Ethanol (a type of alcohol in booze) messes with various systems in your body.
Your liver has to overdrive to metabolize ethanol and acetaldehyde (more toxic byproduct that your body creates after drinking) to get them out of your body system. Acetaldehyde is the main reason behind all those problems associated with hangover. You’re left with unregulated blood sugar and inflammatory compounds, which can lead you to feel hungover.
As a general rule, the more alcohol you drink, the more likely you are to have a hangover the next day. Most hangovers go away on their own, though they can last up to 24 hours. But there’s no formula for how much you can safely drink to avoid a hangover: There are many factors that affect hangover.
Factors affect a hangover
There has been little research into developing effective treatments. Many factors can affect the severity and length of a person’s hangover, which makes it difficult to study potential hangover cures:
- Body type
- The type and amount of alcohol to drink
- How often you drink alcohol drinks
- Biological factors
- Personality differences
When do hangover symptoms happen?
Hangovers begin after blood-alcohol levels start to fall. In fact, the worst symptoms occur when levels reach zero.
Fatigue, headache, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, shaking, thirst and sensitivity to light or sound.
Drinking alcohol causes:
- to impact hormonal function in the body
Alcohol consumption can contribute to an increase in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and decreases in levels of a hormone called anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), which helps to regulate blood pressure and reduce how often you go to the bathroom (making you dehydrated).
- to deplete liquid and electrolytes in your body
alcohol depletes fluid and essential electrolytes by urinating more than usual – often indicated by thirst, dizziness and lightheadedness. Potassium is one of the electrolytes depleted. Potassium helps control the amount of fluid in the body, maintains a healthy blood pH level and is vital to cell function.
- for your blood sugar to fall
If your blood sugar dips too low, you may experience fatigue, weakness, shakiness, mood disturbances and even seizures.
- to trigger migraines
Alcohol causes your blood vessels to expand, which can lead to headaches.
- to irritate the lining of your stomach
Alcohol increases the production of stomach acid and delays stomach emptying. Any of these factors can cause abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting.
- to ruin your sleep quality
Drinking interferes with brain activity during sleep: it makes you sleepy, but it prevents deeper stages of sleep and often causes awakening in the middle of the night.
- to trigger an inflammatory response from your immune system
Your immune system may trigger certain agents that commonly produce physical symptoms, such as an inability to concentrate, memory problems, decreased appetite, and loss of interest in usual activities.
- Eat carbs before drinking
Drinking may lower blood sugar levels, so eating carbs like pizza can prevent from lowering their blood sugar and help slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. And eating a filling meal might help you drink less.
- Korean pear (Asian pear) juice before drinking
Research shows that drinking about 7 1/2 ounces helps lower blood alcohol levels and makes hangovers less intense. Drinking it afterward won’t work.
- Take B vitamins and zinc
Studies showed that people whose food and drink consumption contained greater amounts of zinc and B vitamins before drinking had less severe hangovers.
- Drinking in moderation
Limit to one or two alcoholic drinks per day. One drink is equivalent to 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz of distilled spirits.
- Drink lots of water between drinks
Alcohol depletes your liquid. Keep hydrating yourself by drinking water, which also helps you drink less.
- Drink non-fizzy soft drinks in between each alcoholic drink
Fizzy drinks speed up the absorption of alcohol into your body.
- Pace yourself while drinking
Time is the only way to lower your alcohol level in your bloodstream. Drink slowly.
- Avoid darker-colored alcoholic drinks
Clear liquors (vodka and gin), tend to cause hangovers less frequently than dark ones (whiskey, red wine, and tequila). The main form of alcohol in alcoholic beverages is ethanol, but the darker liquors contain chemically related compounds (congeners), including methanol. The same enzymes process ethanol and methanol, but methanol metabolites are especially toxic, so they may cause a worse hangover.
- Consume sugar while drinking
Alcohol lower your blood sugar level. So the consumption of sugar keeps your blood sugar.
- Drink at least a pint of water before you got to bed
Hydration is one of the best remedies for hangover.
- Eat ginger
Eating ginger is an effective remedy for nausea.
- Get enough sleep
Alcohol can affect the quality of a person’s sleep, so sleeping more may help reduce a hangover.
Choices to make you feel worse
Skip the hair of the dog
Drinking to ease the symptoms of a hangover is sometimes called taking the hair of the dog, or hair of the dog that bit you. The notion is that hangovers are a form of alcohol withdrawal, so a drink or two will ease the withdrawal. This is because alcohol changes the way that methanol (a chemical found in alcoholic beverages), is processed in the body. After you drink alcohol, methanol is converted into formaldehyde, a toxic compound that could be the cause of some hangover symptoms.
However, drinking alcohol in the morning is not the solution. An alcoholic beverage will further dehydrate you and likely lead to worsening hangover symptoms when the buzz wears off. It also doesn’t allow you to recover, so don’t drink alcohol to cure a hangover!
Avoid deep-fried comfort foods
A large fatty meal is actually better at preventing a hangover than curing one. Fried foods can irritate the stomach.
Avoid the acid
Avoid citrus juice because the acid in sour citrus fruits like orange and grapefruit can irritate an already sensitive stomach.
Foods to cure hangover
- Bland breakfast
It means crackers, toast (Avocado toast!) or a thin vegetable-based broth, not so greasy breakfast like bacon can help restore blood sugar levels and without causing anymore stomach problems.
Eggs are rich in cysteine, an amino acid that your body uses to produce the antioxidant glutathione. Drinking alcohol depletes glutathione. Without it, your body has a hard time breaking down the toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism.
Alcohol prevents your body from absorbing certain amino acids. In fact, chronic alcohol consumption can lead to amino acid deficiencies. By eating high protein foods like meat, your body breaks down protein into amino acids, which increases amino acids in your body.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are excellent at decreasing inflammation in your body because drinking alcohol can increase the number of compounds that cause inflammation. Eating salmon, healthy fats, can ease hangover symptoms.
Pickles are high in sodium, an electrolyte that is depleted during drinking.
Eating avocado can help raise low potassium levels from alcohol consumption and dehydration and protect against liver injury.
Alcohol blocks the production of a hormone that helps your body hold on to water, leading to dehydration and the loss of electrolytes like potassium and sodium. Banana is rich in potassium.
Add lemon to water not only to detoxify but also to add vitamin C.
Watermelon is rich in water (great for hydration) and L-citrulline, a nutrient that may increase blood flow.
Asparagus helps break down alcohol effectively and also protects liver cells from damage.
Spinach is rich in folate that may be diminished due to drinking.
- Sweet potato
Sweet potato is rich in vitamin A, magnesium, and potassium. Vitamin A may help fight the inflammation, while magnesium and potassium are needed to replace what’s lost during alcohol consumption.
The alcohol a person drinks causes oxidative stress, leading the body to produce free radicals. Antioxidants may help with this.
- Nuts and seeds
- Dark chocolate
- Tea (Green and black)
Drinks to cure hangover
Drink fluids! Alcohol has a diuretic effect: Drinking alcohol blocks the creation of a chemical called vasopressin – kidneys will send water straight to the bladder instead of retaining it in the body. Drinking alcohol increases the production of urine, leading to a loss of fluids and electrolytes. Electrolytes help you retain more water and pee less, which is good for fast rehydration. Drink your electrolytes before bed!
Although dehydration is not the only cause of a hangover, it contributes to many of its symptoms: dizziness, fatigue, vomiting, fever.
Nothing hydrates better than water. Increasing your water intake may help alleviate some symptoms of hangovers and even prevent them altogether.
Since your drinking, your liver has been working hard to filter the alcohol out of your system. Adding lemon can help it. Lemon-infused water supports detoxification by boosting liver function and tissue regeneration and adding over 100% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin C. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a glass of water and drink up.
- Drink water between a glass of water and a drink
Though this won’t necessarily prevent dehydration, it can help you moderate your alcohol intake.
- Stay hydrated throughout the day
Drink water whenever you feel thirsty to reduce hangover symptoms.
- Drink water with ice the next morning
Hydration first in the morning helps to cure your hangover.
Medical grade drinks like Pedialyte was specifically made for dehydrated babies suffering from vomiting. It’s packed with electrolytes – “10 Gatorades in one bottle”. The method of rehydration is similar to Gatorade. Pedialyte has lots of sodium and potassium, but fewer calories and less sugar than Gatorade. Tip: drink before you go to bed!
Sports drinks like Gatorade hydrates better than water by packing in potassium and sodium, which are both electrolytes. Electrolytes help you hydrate quickly by telling your kidneys not to pee so much. Since it’s a sports drink, Gatorade also has carbohydrates, sugars, and added calories added in to help with endurance.
When the liver metabolizes ethanol, it produces a chemical byproduct called acetaldehyde (responsible for headache and nausea that comes with hangovers). Acetaldehyde eventually turns into something called acetate (makes your symptoms let up). Drinking soda expedited the process by which acetaldehyde turns into acetate.
- Sprite: Sprite might be one of the best hangover cures out there.
- Ginger Ale: Ginger is anti-inflammatory in the digestive system and will soothe an upset stomach and a cure for nausea.
- Seltzer with Lemon: Add a lemon wedge for a little vitamin C.
Eating helps to cure the hangover, but you often feel like you want to pass the food. Why not drink breakfast instead? Smoothies do that job well.
Coconut green smoothie
Hydrate and replenish all that lost potassium, vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, and natural sugar in one shot with this smoothie: 1 banana, 1 cup of unsweetened Greek yogurt, a handful of beet greens, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, ½ cup strawberries, ½ cup coconut water, and ice. Adding fat like coconut oil to greens helps you absorb the nutrients.
Oatmeal contains complex carbohydrates that provide a slow and steady release of sugar into the bloodstream and may help with hangover symptoms. Make the oatmeal smoothie: oatmeal, brown sugar, milk, a banana for potassium.
As your blood alcohol level rises, your blood sugar level is going to plummet. Make sure to consume those sugars, vitamins, and electrolytes you sacrificed the night before by drinking juice. Learn more about juicing.
- Stick with apple or cranberry juice the morning after, just because the acidity of orange juice is going to be a lot rougher on an upset stomach.
- Avoid this particular cure like the plague if you indulged in the fun, yet dangerous jungle juice.
Alcohol depletes your fluid and essential electrolytes like potassium. Coconut water is naturally rich in electrolytes, which makes it incredibly hydrating. Coconut water also has more potassium per ounce than a sports drink and is free from artificial colors and sweeteners. Potassium helps control the amount of fluid in the body, maintains a healthy blood pH level, and is vital to cell function.
Carrot ginger apple juice
Excessive drinking can create free radicals, which increase your risk of disease, but the beta-carotene found in carrots helps remedy this. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory compounds will help alleviate nausea, and apples provide vitamin C. Plus the sweetness from the fruit’s natural sugar will make your juice taste better than salad.
Beet pineapple juice
Beets contain betaine, which is an antioxidant-rich in anti-inflammatory compounds. Add pineapples to add more vitamin C and flavor.
Apple contains vitamin C. One study found that diluted apple juice was more effective than an electrolyte maintenance solution in preventing and treating dehydration in ill children.
After consuming alcohol, the liver metabolizes that ethanol. Beets contain betaine, which is an antioxidant-rich in anti-inflammatory compounds. Beet juice will help your liver cleanse your body.
One of the major vitamins depleted by alcohol is vitamin C, which supports immunity and acts as an antioxidant. We need vitamin C to support our immune system and act as an antioxidant to scavenge for free radicals, which cause inflammation and tissue destruction.
Vitamin C also helps your body produce collagen, which makes your skin look young. Alcohol intake also contributes to low blood sugar, which explains your sugar cravings. Orange juice is a classic cure that gives you the natural sugar for an energy boost.
Rutabaga contains a high amount of dietary fiber, protein, vitamins (B vitamins such as thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), folate (B9), vitamin B6 and vitamins A, C, E and K), minerals (calcium, choline, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc), and fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids).
Eating rutabaga in excess may cause unwanted gas issues especially with individuals who have kidney problems. If you are allergic to cabbage, turnips or spinach, you may want to avoid eating rutabaga.
Tomato juice can boost liver function, which speeds up alcohol digestion. Other research suggests that the antioxidants and vitamins in tomatoes quickly restock those lost during drinking, making you feel better faster. And no, Bloody Marys don’t count here (unless, of course, they’re virgin).
Pickle brine is loaded with sodium, a valuable electrolyte you would be lost after drinking.
- Caffeine dilates blood vessels, which helps get rid of your headache quicker.
- Caffeine perks up brain functions.
- Too much caffeine could aggravate a headache since it is a mild diuretic. The acid could also worsen nausea.
Tea offers various health benefits including a cure for a hangover. It settles your upset stomach and prevents nausea.
Green tea is packed with antioxidants, which keep your organs healthy: a healthier liver will help you recover faster. If you’re feeling nauseous, add rosemary or lavender to your tea so they’ll calm your stomach fast.
Ginger lemon tea
Ginger alleviates nausea and lemon supports your liver, which is in overdrive metabolizing all that ethanol (alcohol). Boil some water and add fresh slices of ginger and the juice of half a lemon.
The zing of either ginger or peppermint can soothe the stomach and ease the urge to upchuck.
Kombucha is a fermented food, much like cultured yogurt, cheese, kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut. Traditionally a carbonated drink with live micro-organisms. It improves digestion and diabetes, strengthening the immune system, reducing blood pressure and being detoxifying. Proponents also contend kombucha helps rheumatism, gout, hemorrhoids, nervousness and liver function and fights cancer.
“Bone broth” is made from animal bones and connective tissue – typically cattle, chicken, or fish. It has been boiled into a broth and slowly simmered for 20+ hours with herbs, vegetables, and spices, extracting the amino acids, minerals, and collagen to support digestion. It contains L-glutamine (supports the health of your small intestine) and glycine (supports detoxification).
Drinking alcohol depletes another important electrolyte: sodium. Our body requires small amounts of sodium for nerve and muscle function, as well as fluid balance. Miso (fermented soybean) has a naturally high amount of sodium, probiotics, and antioxidants that help soothe digestion and protect against disease.
Non alcohol drinks
It’s a lot of the same ingredients as a bloody mary without any alcohol: a whole raw egg, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.
Virgin Bloody Mary
Tomato juice, lemon, olives, celery, and hot sauce for detoxing your body. Tomatoes contain vitamin C, sodium, potassium, glutathione, and lycopene (an antioxidant that helps with detoxification). The lemon juice adds vitamin C.
Most of these remedies encourage your body’s removal of toxins—the faster they leave your body, the faster you will feel better. There’s another way you can do: Consume spicy food makes you sweat, releasing those pesky hangover-causing toxins, and makes you drink more water.
Honey is made up of mostly fructose that forces your body to get rid of the remaining alcohol faster. Adding honey helps to replenish the sugars that are lost from the night before, and helps to get rid of that biting headache.
Bitters are mostly used as cocktail ingredients and contain alcohol. But their original purpose was medicinal, which is why grocery stores are allowaed to sell them. Underberg, a German bitters with a secret recipe consisting of aromatic herbs from 43 countries and naturally occurring vitamin B1.
Medicine to cure hangover
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), not Tylenol
Aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, other brands) may help with the headache and the overall achy feelings, though NSAIDs may irritate the stomach.
- Dissolvable tablet
Put it in a glass of water to replace nutrients lost by alcohol since they contain vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium.
Created by the KGB just after World War 2 to keep agents sober so that they could outdrink their opponents. It also blocks the toxic chemical acetaldehyde, which damages tissues and leads to hangovers.
- Tiger Balm
It is available in many drug stores and works for headaches. Simply rub it into your temples and you should feel some relief soon.
- Tylenol (or acetaminophen) can cause more damage to your liver and ibuprofen can cause stomach bleeding.
- Aspirin is a blood thinner and the two in combination can intensify the effects.
Conclusion: Prevention is the best offense, but you can use this blog to cure your hangover faster!
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