We’ve all been there – had one too many the night before and lived to regret it the next day. But what do you do if you’re in pain and you have to be on deck in five minutes? Here are some tried-and-true ways to ease your hangover.
1. Dilution is the Solution to the Pollution
Alcohol is an aggressive dehydrator. As soon as you wake up, start flushing out your system and replenishing lost fluids. Try to avoid caffeine if possible (it dehydrates you, too). As your body tries to metabolize a large amount of alcohol, it also will exhaust its stores of essential nutrients. For this reason, one of the best things to try is a sports drink like Powerade or Gatorade, which are loaded with electrolytes. Some cultures encourage drinking the brine from pickles or sauerkraut, because they're mineral-rich. Any fruit juice is a suitable substitute; fructose (a naturally occurring sugar in fruits and vegetables) helps your body to metabolize alcohol. Continue to sip on water and/or decaffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages throughout the day.
2. Pump it Up
Start your day with exercise. Of course, this is based on the assumption that you will be physically able to get up and out, but if your hangover isn’t completely debilitating, try sweating it off. Once you have some fluids in your system, a good swim or short run (sex works, too) will increase your circulation, speed up your body’s ability to metabolize the booze and will release endorphins, which are a natural pain reliever.
3. Have a Banana, Honey
Bananas and honey are both naturally high in potassium, which is one of those nutrients your body depletes when you drink. Both also contain fructose, which aids in metabolizing the alcohol. Bananas are a natural antacid, and they are rich in magnesium, which relaxes blood vessels and helps to ease your pounding headache.
4. Try a Multi-Vi
B vitamins will restore your energy. They are yet another way to aid the body in metabolizing alcohol and also to dilate blood vessels.
5. Ginger’s Good for What Ails You
You know those bottles of ginger ale and bags of ginger tea you keep aboard for seasick passengers? Well, sipping a cup of ginger tea or a cold ginger ale also will help cure you if you wake up feeling nauseous.
6. Pick a Prickly Pear
Touted by homeopaths and university studies alike, Prickly Pear extracts naturally relieve nausea and dry mouth and are also an anti-inflammatory. Prickly Pear Cactus, Prickly Pear juice and Prickly Pear extract can be found at many natural food stores. Studies indicate Prickly Pears products are particularly effective if consumed right after drinking.
7. Take Two Aspirin….
If your pounding headache does not go away after consuming 20 ounces of fluids and a banana for breakfast, then it may be time to take a pain reliever. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are both very harsh on your exhausted liver, so avoid pain relievers like Tylenol and Advil for hangovers. If you must take something, try aspirin. Some people claim Alka-Seltzer tablets also are especially helpful.
8. What Not to Do
Don’t buy into the “hair of the dog” theory. Bloody Marys and Screwdrivers may temporarily help a hangover because they contain juice, which replenishes lost nutrients – but hold the vodka. The only time drinking more alcohol makes a hangover feel better is if the person is physically addicted to alcohol.
The Dockwalk 30-minute Miracle Tonic:
2 Tbs. Honey
1/2 cup Probiotic Yogurt (like Activia)
Pinch of powdered ginger
Pinch of dry cinnamon
1 cup ice
2 oz. (1/4 cup) Prickly Pear juice (substitute orange juice if necessary)
Combine ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Drink until gone. Follow with 12 oz. of water and a multi-vitamin.
Have a cold shower and get yourself on deck.
What’s your favorite “morning after” remedy?