Have A Better Hangover
So, you attend a friend's holiday party and they've made kombucha-matcha-vodka cocktails just for you (organic! sugar free! gluten free!) So, you try one, you know, just to be nice. But they are delicious... and, soon thereafter you've had way more than one and you know tomorrow morning is not going to be fun. Sound familiar? We've all been there. Before you throw back some ibuprofen and pull the blankets over your head all day, reach for these natural hangover cures. Made from items you probably already have in your kitchen, these cures rid you of that hangover without pills or drugs (because, let's get real, your liver needs a break). The best part? they work. Stock up on these essentials before your next bash and have a better hangover.
What Is A Hangover? (i.e. why is this happening to me?)
The main reason we get a hangover after a night of drinking has to do with three main things: dehydration, stomach inflammation, and constricted blood vessels. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases the frequency at which you urinate. Similar to how your body loses electrolytes when you sweat, every time you pee, you lose valuable minerals such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium. So, the more you drink, the more you urinate, meaning the more dried out and electrolyte-depleted your body becomes. Alcohol also irritates and inflames the stomach lining, meaning your stomach produces more acid to compensate. What's more is how alcohol toys with your blood vessels; at first alcohol acts as a vasodilator, causing blood to rush to your face and extremities. But then your body works to counter this action by constricting blood vessels. All of these physiological phenomena add up to the tell-tale signs of a hangover: headache, upset stomach, nausea, and sensitivity to light.
As such, an effective hangover cure should restore electrolyte balance, hydrate, soothe the stomach, and relax blood vessels. All of these natural items fit the bill perfectly:
Pear Juice - Stop Before It Starts
So, technically, pear juice is a hangover preventative because you need to drink it before you start indulging in alcohol. But the pre-cocktail juice is worth the effort. Scientific studies show that drinking a glass of pear juice before a night of drinking helps speed up alcohol metabolism and inhibits alcohol absorption. Faster alcohol metabolism and less alcohol absorption means alcohol hangs around for a shorter period of time in your system, thereby decreasing the severity of a hangover. Plus, pear juice is very hydrating, so you're helping curb dehydration to boot.
Green Tea - Headache and Nausea
Green tea helps get rid of headache and nausea due to its caffeine and antioxidant content. We have all heard of drinking coffee to help a hangover; however coffee can actually make you feel worse. While coffee does contain caffeine (yay!) it also makes you more dehydrated (boo!) and its high acid content upsets the stomach (booo!) Green tea has just enough caffeine to gently help dilate blood vessels without dehydrating you. Green tea contains antioxidants which support the liver and help soothe the stomach. Add a spoon of honey to help boost this benefit because honey helps body metabolize alcohol and get rid of alcohol faster while soothing the stomach.
Ginger - Nausea and Upset Stomach
Ginger is one of the best remedies for settling an upset stomach; a rumbly belly often comes with a hangover. Easily make ginger tea - grate a couple of teaspoons of fresh ginger into hot water and let steep for several minutes. Sweeten your ginger tea a couple of spoons of honey; it contains fructose, which will help your body metabolize and burn off any alcohol still in your system. Drinking ginger beer (make sure it contains real ginger) or munching on slices of fresh or pickled ginger will also ease an upset stomach.
Coconut Water - Hangover Panacea
If you do nothing else, drink coconut water. Coconut water - the fresh juice from inside young coconuts - packs a triple punch: it hydrates, restores electrolyte balance, and helps soothe an upset stomach. Coconut water is high in potassium and also helps to quell excess stomach acid. You can easily find coconut water at your local supermarket; some supermarkets even sell young coconuts pre-drilled for your drinking straw. Ps - coconut water is an excellent hydrator after a super sweaty gym sesh or a hot yoga class. So pick up a few extra bottles for when you're dehydrated for a different reason.
Watermelon - Get Back To The Land of The Living
Watermelon is great for alleviating your hangover symptoms because of its high water content (did the name give it away?) Watermelon is a tasty and gentle way to help reverse dehydration. In addition to its water content, watermelon helps boost your blood sugar levels, which help you feel less like a zombie and more like a human. Watermelon also contains Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins, both of which are crucial for improving metabolism and helping you start to feel like yourself again.