We’ve all suffered the morning after the night before when our head in thumping and we feel like we’re on the cusp of death. Yep, that’s right: hangovers suck!
And while there are many ways to prevent a hangover before you go out drinking – lining your belly with food, and keeping hydrated before you go to sleep, for example – sometimes, a hangover still comes knocking, making your brain jingle as it does.
“Why is this happening to me?” you may be moaning. Well, let’s talk science.
Typical hangover symptoms—nausea, sensitivity to light, headache, achy muscles, diarrhea, and decreased motor skills—are all caused by changes in your body chemistry after you drink. These changes involve chemical reactions on your hormones, combined with the toxic chemicals in alcohol and its dehydrating effects.
Weirdly enough, the science of hangovers (and how to prevent them) is largely unstudied, which is why people have been inventing their own “cures” for centuries. Though no one meal or drink can completely cure a hangover, certain foods are better for refuelling than others.
After waking up with a pounding head, you must first aim to restock the body with necessary fluids (namely water!) and nutrients like fructose, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals that can help break down toxins or lessen the body’s negative reaction to the chemicals in booze. It’s especially important to try to detox your poor, overloaded liver: bitter greens and artichokes are great at this.
Here are 15 Natural Hangover Remedies That Actually Work:
Pickles are high in sodium, an electrolyte that is depleted during excessive drinking.
Eating pickles or drinking their brine may help boost your sodium levels and overcome your hangover.
Ginger is an antiemetic, meaning that it can stop you from being sick or feeling nauseous. If this is a common issue of your hangover, consider having some ginger or mixing it into a smoothie.
Though seemingly unorthodox, some believe that burnt toast is best on a hangover. Considering activated charcoal is also pushed as a hangover cure due to its ability to cleanse the body of toxins, some believe that you get the same benefits from the charred bits on your toast.
The good fats and other nutrients of the avocado can also restore your body to normal and keep it functioning as normal. Avocadoes and guacamole are also a great way of getting those essential fats into your body while avoiding the traditional greasy hangover foods.
Drinking peppermint tea can work in the same way as ginger to settle the stomach, combat those feelings of nausea and soothe an inflamed digestive system.
The juice of the prickly pear is touted as a powerhouse hangover cure able to protect the liver from damage, reduce headaches and feelings of nausea after a night of drinking.
This cure has to be drunk before your start drinking though, so is more of a preventative measure than a cure for when you’re desperate.
There’s a reason Scotland is the only country where Coca Cola isn’t the most popular drink. This sweet orange nectar has way more of a psychological effect on the drinker but is great for restoring energy.
An antioxidant-rich juice, kombucha helps the body to detoxify and acts as an anti-inflammatory in the digestive system. This drink makes for a healthy way to tackle your hangover troubles.
The star of a Bloody Mary, tomato juice can help the enzymes in your body break down alcohol, working to protect your liver.
In much the same way, orange juice helps the body with enzyme production and is also rich in vitamin C which can keep your body from losing antioxidants.
Touted as a miracle juice, coconut water is hugely popular with celebrities for its massive levels of antioxidants and electrolytes which beat out even most sports drinks.
While it may seem counter-intuitive to drink salt water when you’re dehydrated, a sprinkling of salt in your first glass can actually encourage enzyme absorption and bring you back to life sooner than just regular water. Just one glass with a dash of salt will do.
Milk thistle contains antioxidants like silymarin and silybin which protect the liver from toxins. Due to this, milk thistle supplements might also be a useful preventative to keep yourself in top shape when you wake up.
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