2016 is fast approaching! And although a number of us make resolutions to exercise more, eat more wisely and just in general make healthier choices starting on New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve tends to be a day when overindulgence in all things, particularly alcohol, is the norm for many. Some people could use some hangover help.
There are many factors that contribute to the symptoms of a hangover, but the most common is dehydration. Since alcohol is a diuretic, it causes the body to flush increased amounts of water out through the kidneys and into the urine. This is also the reason for your increased urination during alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, along with the increased flushing of water through the kidneys, many of the body’s water-soluble nutrients are flushed into the urine as well. This leaves you deficient in a number of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, vitamin C, and electrolytes like magnesium, calcium, sodium, chloride and potassium.
So, although many seem to have their own “cure” for a hangover (from eating greasy food to having another drink), the following tips are proven to prevent a hangover or deal with a hangover.
To prevent or decrease hangovers:
• Drink a lot of water: You can prevent the duration and severity of many hangover symptoms by keeping yourself hydrated before and during alcohol consumption. Some people try to have a glass of water after every alcoholic beverage.
• Eat: It is extremely important to eat something before you start drinking. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can actually cause tiny, pinpoint bleeding in the stomach lining. Having food in your stomach protects against this and slows the absorption of the alcohol, giving your body time to prepare and process what it takes in. Food is also a great source of minerals and electrolytes that can protect you from dehydration.
• Electrolytes: When you are done drinking for the night, having an electrolyte-rich drink (such as Emergen-C) nearby may come in handy.
If you forgot to do any of the above and you have woken up with a doozy of a hangover, follow these steps:
• Rest: The most important thing that you can do immediately after waking up with a hangover is crawl straight back to bed. Give your body a chance to rebalance and get its systems back in check by relaxing.
• Drink fluids: Focus on water and/or electrolyte solutions. Juice can also be useful because of its natural vitamin and mineral content. In the case of severe nausea, be sure to focus only on electrolyte solutions and avoid drinking large amounts at a time. Sip the fluids slowly and pace yourself.
• Eat: As soon as you can stomach the thought of food, it’s a good idea to begin reintroducing small simple meals. This is a quick and easy way to replenish your electrolytes, and to give your stomach something to work on other than its own acid. Start small and with simple foods like crackers, bread, or broth.
If nothing is helping, then sleep! Over time, and with some water, your body will find its own balance once again. Be well soon.
Happy New Year! Drink responsibly!
Photo from here, with thanks.