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How to Cure a Hangover

By
Matthew Krimmel
Table of Contents
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It's always fun to spend a night out bar hopping with a group of friends. However, there's usually a price to pay when you wake up with a hangover.

What's the best hangover cure? Is there even a medical cure for a hangover? Read on to learn some tips.

What Is A Hangover?

A hangover is a set of unpleasant symptoms experienced after drinking too much alcohol. Generally, the more alcohol you drink, the higher your chances are of feeling pretty awful the next day. When we're relishing a bottle of our favorite red or white wine, we don't usually think about the wine alcohol content.

Hangover Symptoms

Hangover symptoms include fatigue, headache, weakness, nausea, thirst, muscle cramps, sensitivity to light and sound, vertigo, anxiety, irritability, sweating, and increased blood pressure. The best way to avoid getting a hangover is to regulate the amount of alcohol you drink. However, sometimes it's easier said than done, so people often ask the question: "What's the best hangover cure?" Read on to learn more about helpful antidotes and home remedies for getting rid of that nasty hangover.

What Is the Best Hangover Cure?

Most types of alcohol contain ingredients called congeners. They provide flavor to many drinks but can also contribute to a hangover.

Dark liquors generally contain large amounts of congeners, such as brandy and whiskey. Clear liquors like gin and vodka have them in smaller quantities.

Technically, there's no cure for a hangover, but there are steps you can take to minimize the impacts of congeners. These can collectively act as the best hangover cure.

7 Effective Home Remedies for a Hangover

Here are 7 effective home remedies that help to alleviate the symptoms of a hangover:

  1. Aspirin and other anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, effectively treat aches and pains. These pills can reduce the body's inflammation caused by excessive alcohol and relieve muscle aches and headaches. Use anti-inflammatory drugs with caution when battling a hangover. Chronic use of these may irritate your stomach lining and cause ulcers.
  2. Antacids reduce the amount of acid in your stomach, the cause of indigestion, nausea, and heartburn. Taking these will help to soothe your upset stomach during a hangover.
  3. Eat breakfast to boost blood sugar levels, which drop after drinking an excessive level of alcohol. Lactic acid levels increase when the body digests alcohol, leading to a drop in blood sugar levels. It's also vital to eat nutritious foods that include proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins to help your system repair and recover from a hangover.
  4. Coffee and tea may improve feelings of fatigue- one of the most common hangover symptoms. They also contain a few antioxidants that work to reduce the effects of alcohol consumption. Keep in mind that these drinks are diuretics, meaning they worsen the effects of dehydration in the body.
  5. Food with high levels of antioxidants effectively reduces oxidative stress. It includes fruits (cherries, grapes, strawberries), vegetables (carrots and spinach), dark chocolate, nuts, and seeds. This type of stress, usually after drinking alcohol, can lead to health issues such as cancers and heart disease. Consume food with antioxidants to provide nutrition for your body and recover from a hangover.
  6. Get plenty of sleep to allow your body ample time to recover and make a hangover easier to handle. A lack of sleep can worsen the symptoms of a hangover, while alcohol can negatively affect sleep duration and quality.
  7. Some studies suggest that certain supplements can help ease the effects of a hangover. Researchers have studied ginger (improved hangover symptoms), red ginseng (reduced blood alcohol levels), and prickly pear (decreased hangover severity). These are supplements that have proven to reduce the impact of excessive drinking.

Hangover Cure Drink

Drinking to ease the symptoms of a hangover is called "taking the hair of the dog" or "hair of the dog that bit you." The idea is that hangovers are a form of alcohol withdrawal, so having a drink or two might reduce the symptoms of a hangover.

Alcohol and certain sedatives, such as benzodiazepines, interact with GABA receptors on brain cells. It's widely known that some people have withdrawal symptoms from short-term sedatives as they wear off. The brain may act similarly when blood alcohol levels begin to drop.

However, doing this could lead to big problems, such as alcohol dependence. Drinking more alcohol when you're hungover can also cause your body to become more dehydrated.

Dehydration is one of the causes of your hangover symptoms, so rehydrate your body with water and other fluids, such as sports drinks. It's best to start drinking water while you're drinking alcohol to reduce the possibility of experiencing hangover symptoms.

8 Best Drinks to Cure Your Hangover

Water is one of several effective non-alcoholic drinks that help relieve your hangover symptoms. Other drinks work to ease your suffering from a hangover.

Here's a list of the 8 best hangover cure drinks:

  1. Water might be the best solution to your hangover woes. Order a glass of water to go with your wine. Then, drink some before you go to sleep and head to the kitchen for water when you wake up.
  2. Sports drinks, including Gatorade or Powerade, can restore your body's supply of electrolytes. It's lost along with fluids when you drink an excessive amount of alcohol.
  3. Coconut water has less sugar than sports drinks but also restores electrolytes.
  4. Coffee might already be part of your morning routine and can give you a boost of energy.
  5. Tea, especially green tea, can soothe your stomach and alleviate nausea and stomach aches.
  6. Pickle juice comes packed with sodium, an electrolyte your body loses after a night of drinking.
  7. Soda, or seltzer-free soda water, can break down the acetaldehyde that's causing your headache.
  8. Tomato juice, according to studies, can boost liver function, which quickens alcohol digestion.

Best Hangover Cure Food

It's never a good idea to drink alcohol on an empty stomach. It IS a good idea to eat food before, while, and after drinking to help prevent feeling hungover.

14 Best Hangover Cure Foods

Numerous foods provide vitamins and minerals that can reduce negative hangover impacts.

Here's a list of the 14 best hangover foods:

  1. Bananas are rich in potassium and can restore this electrolyte in your body.
  2. Eggs have plenty of cysteines, an amino acid that produces glutathione, an antioxidant that helps your body disassemble the toxic remnants of alcohol metabolism.
  3. Honey is healthy and has a high fructose content, meaning it might help rid your body of alcohol more quickly.
  4. Crackers provide fast-acting carbohydrates that increase your body's blood sugar level, easing hangover symptoms.
  5. Chicken noodle soup contains lots of sodium for your body's rehydration process during a hangover.
  6. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which battle inflammation caused by alcohol.
  7. Asparagus might prevent liver damage and increase the effectiveness of certain enzymes that neutralize alcohol.
  8. Watermelon offers high water content, helping you to rehydrate, and has L-citrulline, a nutrient that may increase blood flow.
  9. Pickles contain a high level of sodium, an electrolyte that the body loses during alcohol consumption.
  10. Nuts help replenish magnesium lost by your body, aiding your recovery and easing hangover symptoms.
  11. Avocados are another source of potassium that might help protect your liver against damage from excessive drinking.
  12. Blueberries contain nutrients that fight inflammation in your body, one of the main symptoms of a hangover.
  13. Oranges are rich in glutathione, which helps your body get rid of alcohol.
  14. Sweet potatoes can provide you with vitamin A, magnesium, and potassium to help your body recover.

Hangover Headache Cure

A headache is one of the worst hangover symptoms. There are many suggestions for treating a hangover headache, but most don't provide any scientific research that supports their effectiveness.

However, there are a few remedies that do offer hard evidence to support their use. After all, you want to think clearly and not have a pounding headache after a fun night at the bar.

Here's a list of 5 remedies for a hangover headache cure:

  1. N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) is a natural amino acid that assists your body in fighting the effects of acetaldehyde. This chemical compound contributes to your headache and potentially causes liver damage.
  2. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help decrease the inflammation in your body that occurs from excessive drinking.
  3. Vitamin B6 helps replenish your body's supply of B vitamins, depleted after consuming alcohol. These vitamins help your body metabolize and get rid of alcohol.
  4. Sports drinks, as previously mentioned, help your body rehydrate and battle hangover symptoms.
  5. A bit of light exercise can quicken your body's metabolism, speeding up the processes that rid it of alcohol. It's important to note that health experts recommend only doing light exercise the day after consuming alcohol.

Hangover Nausea Cure

Excessive drinking can also produce nausea, stomach cramps, and vomiting. Your body wants to rid itself of the toxins from alcohol.  It achieves this by forcing it up through your esophagus and out of your mouth.

It's best to let your body cleanse itself naturally, even though vomiting is never a pleasant experience. Several things can help with nausea during a hangover.

Here's a list of the 5 best cures for hangover nausea:

  1. Get plenty of rest after a night of excessive drinking.
  2. Drink small sips of water or other clear liquids to rehydrate.
  3. Eat small bites of food, such as crackers, toast, or chicken noodle soup to keep your energy up.
  4. Take ibuprofen with your bites of food to relieve pain and prevent your stomach from rejecting the pills.
  5. Don't drink the following day. Avoid drinking more to try and make yourself feel better.
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The Keys to Avoiding a Hangover

The key to avoiding a hangover is moderation. Try to take it slowly when you drink wine or beer, so you won't have to suffer the next day. Order a drink that tastes good and enjoy its flavor by sipping it instead of chugging it.

Additionally, if you want to take a shot, limit the amount you take or spread them out over several hours. Binge drinking almost always results in a nasty hangover, so take it easy and drink in moderation.

Taking preventative measures is always the best way to avoid a hangover or any problem before it happens. There isn't one overall best hangover cure, but taking some of these recommendations can help you avoid the worst of it. At least until scientists provide us with a definite cure for a hangover.

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