So the wine was flowing a little too much last night, or your friends decided that Fireball shots at 1 AM were a good idea (NEVER a good idea). Now you’ve woken up with a splitting headache, stomach/GI discomfort, “out of it” feeling, extreme thirst or any combination of these symptoms. Hopefully this isn’t a regular occurrence, but if you do find yourself in this predicament, what to do?
Besides getting hooked up to a banana bag, stat, here are some tips for getting over your hangover.
- Eat Fat. While I want everyone to include fat in their meals/snacks, it is especially important to eat fats before drinking. Fatty foods delay the absorption of alcohol. That doesn’t mean you should eat a big ‘ol fried meal. Go for healthier fats like olive oil, coconut oil, butter, avocado, nuts/nut butters or a combination of these foods.
- Take Your Vitamins (and Minerals). Many vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins — along with other nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and sodium — can help prevent dehydration, control hangover symptoms and help you detox faster after drinking too much. You can either pop a vitamin or include a variety of foods at your pre-drinking meal. Try having some meat, a variety of vegetables cooked in healthy fats (see above), sprinkled with sea salt, with perhaps some nut butter as “dessert.”
WHILE YOU DRINK
- Water. You’ve heard it before, but drinking water while you drink alcohol (ideally alternating water with an alcoholic drink) helps fend off dehydration. Better yet, add a little salt to that water as the salt will help you retain more water — a good thing in the case of drinking.
- Choose High-Quality, Clear Alcohol. Gin and vodka contain fewer congeners, which are toxic chemicals produced during the making of alcohol. Colored alcohol such as whiskey, cognac and tequila contain more congeners, and thus make for a more wicked hangover.
- Stick to One Type of Alcohol. Mixing different alcohol is not only bad for your tummy/digestive system; it also makes it harder to keep track of how many drinks you’re having.
- Drink Less (DUH). This is definitely easier said than done. Try leaving the bar/party on the earlier side — maybe have a code with your significant other or friend. Or, ask for the bartender to give you a larger glass and fill it with more club soda (not more booze). It will take you more time to drink this larger volume, i.e. you will drink less overall.
THE MORNING AFTER
- Sleep in. While sleep won’t cure your hangover, it will help improve immunity, since a night of drinking takes a toll on the immune system.
- No Hair of the Dog. Having more alcohol the morning after drinking will only prolong your hangover. Try water with lemon — which can help detox your liver — and coffee instead.
- Eat a Healthy Breakfast. As much as you want crappy, greasy foods, they won’t help in the long run and will surely make that GI discomfort worse. Instead, try eggs, which contain cysteine that helps clear the liver of chemicals. Add some vegetables (read: antioxidants, vitamins and minerals) and healthy fats, like avocado, into the mix and you will feel better in no time.
- Get Moving. Are you going to run a marathon? No. But at least aim for a nice long walk. Fresh air and gentle movement is great for your hangover.
Cheers to a “healthy” night out, friends! If you have any other hangover remedies, please do share!