The end of November marks the unofficial start of party season. We kick off with year-end celebrations at work, before heading into the festive season and finally end our party season with numerous New Year bashes. We’ve survived another year and it’s time to exhale and celebrate! A lot.
In our “Festive season survival guide for your liver”, we provided tips and advice on how to help your liver and kidneys cope with the additional strain the festive season excesses place on these vital organs. While our tips, if followed correctly, should help with the avoidance of a hangover, we aren’t always diligent in following this advice. As a result, we might find ourselves suffering a dreaded hangover from time to time. Here are 10 hangover remedies you can use to treat the symptoms and feel better without resorting to medication (depending on the severity of the hangover and headache you may have).
TAKE A BREAK FROM ALCOHOL
The first thing you need to do is take a break from alcohol for at least 48 hours for your body to rest, recover and flush out all the toxins. “Hair of the dog” is not the way to go. It will only delay and worsen the inevitable suffering.
Your headache is the result of dehydration since alcohol is a diuretic (so you pee more often which removes hydration and essential minerals from the body). If you skipped our tip about drinking water in between cocktails then you need to drink as much water as you can to help flush your system and rehydrate. Water isn’t enough though. Be sure to drink electrolyte-rich fluids as well to restore the salt and potassium you’ve lost. We’ve included some suggestions for natural electrolyte supplements which you can add to your water here.
GO BACK TO SLEEP
A hangover isn’t caused by lack of sleep, but definitely makes it worse. You’re not really productive and alert on a hangover anyway so take a couple of extra hours and sleep in. It’s the body’s way of healing itself.
RESTORE YOUR GUT
Too much alcohol plays havoc with your gut health so you need to try and restore some balance. Eat fermented foods or drink some probiotic-rich, fermented cold drinks like kombucha. Faithful to Nature has a pretty good selection which you can check out here. It’s probably a good idea to stock up over the festive season. Find more advice on how to restore your gut health and speed up your hangover recovery in our article on The Importance of Gut Health.
DRINK GINGER TEA WITH HONEY
Ginger helps with nausea. According to scientists, the natural fructose in honey helps the body rapidly metabolise alcohol. It effectively neutralises the toxins created by consuming alcohol.
I simply peel and grate a generous amount of fresh ginger which I place into a tea infuser. Pour over hot water and let that stand for a while. After 5-10 minutes, pour into a cup, add some slices of fresh lemon and lemon juice and a couple of teaspoons of honey. It’s a wonderfully fresh and restorative drink.
HAVE A VIRGIN BLOODY MARY
Tomatoes also contain fructose, and can therefor also help your body metabolise alcohol faster to get it out of your system. They also contain vitamins and minerals, which help fight inflammation and rehydrate your body and brain.
1 cup (240ml) tomato juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 dash of hot pepper sauce like Tabasco
1 celery stick
Mix all the ingredients except the celery together. I like to add a dash of sea or Himalayan salt and twist of black pepper before garnishing with the celery and some extra slices of lemon. Enjoy.
STAY AWAY FROM COFFEE
The caffeine will only serve to dehydrate you further.
TAKE A RESTORATIVE SHOWER
Once you’ve caught up on some sleep, take a cool, restorative shower to refresh and clear your head. It’s almost medicinal.
Now it’s time to get something substantial into your body. One of the best things you can do is a quality, preferably organic or home-made chicken soup. Yup, our traditional flu remedy is great for hangovers too. It’s high in protein and minerals your body needs to recover.
If you can’t manage that, try having a big plate of scrambled eggs. Eggs are high in an amino acid called cysteine, which helps your liver get rid of acetaldehyde, the toxic byproduct of alcohol. Follow this with a banana which is loaded with potassium which you lose through excessive peeing (or vomiting). They’re also easy on the stomach.
Depending on the severity of your hangover, a sweat session will increase your metabolism and help your body flush toxins. Consider even simply going out for a walk if that’s all you can muster. The fresh air and sunlight alone will make you feel better.