Healthy Hangover Cures
By Michelle Bayer and Nicole Yamanaka
What is the ultimate hangover cure? Burnt toast? Deep fried and fatty foods? How do I have a good night of drinking, and still be able to function the next day? So many questions!
As trainers, when someone says, “You’re not going to make me give up my wine / beer / drinks are you? Because I’m NOT,” we logically share with them the pros and cons to drinking as it pertains to their goals…but at the end of the day, we have to respect their decision and support them towards their goals.
Therefore we’ve enjoyed researching the information on how to cure hangovers, because no one has ever come in for a workout after a birthday party or special event celebrations. *ahem*
Every person is unique in how they respond to the effects of alcohol, but here are some basic tips that will help with that Saturday night of heaven and your Sunday morning of hell.
Side note: after ingestion of moderate to high doses of alcohol, reaction times are generally slower; short-term and intermediate memory may be affected; performance on problem solving tasks decreases and muscle control, dexterity and eye-hand co-ordination may be impaired. Please do not mistake these hangover cures for being able to pass a breathalyzer test.
How to prepare your body for drinking
Eat before you drink
Having a snack or a meal before your first beverage will help delay alcohol absorption, and help prevent nausea, headache, and upset stomach. Some articles recommend fatty foods, a spoonful of olive oil, a cup of milk and taking extra vitamins will help decrease the effects; we’re not entirely sure if those specific ingredients will scientifically have a huge impact, but if you love food, we suggest having something healthy, balanced with appropriate amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats.
During drinking hangover “prevention”
Stay hydrated! For every glass of alcohol that you consume, have a glass of water as well (no I don’t mean to mix up a vodka water). Have a mixed drink or a beer or whatever your drink of choice, and after it is finished have a glass of water, then you can refill the alcoholic beverage.
Stick to one type of beverage
Mixing can make you feel sick and will contribute to a hangover. Also drink the “lighter” beverages such as gin or vodka, as the darker beverages contain congeners (a minor toxic chemical element of alcohol that gives it its distinctive characteristics) which also contributes to a nastier hangover.
Stay away from sugar
Sugary drinks are going to give you that spitting headache in the morning. Mix your drinks with water and fresh lemon or lime juice. It is much better for you. (And that little bit healthier!)
Avoid the Bubbly
Bubbly drinks will help the alcohol enter your bloodstream at a much faster rate.
Munch on healthy snacks
It is much healthier than eating that slice of pizza or a McDonald’s cheeseburger. It may also help with a stomach ache the next day as all that awful food won’t be sitting there.
Cut yourself off
If you drink less, you are more likely to have less of a hangover – who knew! And you probably won’t have any embarrassing moments to “forget” the next day, or explain to your trainer exactly how you sprained your wrists…
Post drinking hangover “prevention”
Drink at least 2 glasses of water before bed, and keep some at your bedside for when you wake up with that awful dry mouth. Alcohol dehydrates your body and all of the body’s cells. A hangover is telling your body it is dehydrated and that it needs more water.
You could Google a million tips and tricks to curing hangovers (suggestions ranging from jumping into a cold lake, to having another drink in the morning “the hair of the dog that bit you”), but there isn’t anything scientifically proven to cure a hangover
A word on painkillers – Side effects of Aspirin, Tylenol and ibuprofen can be magnified when alcohol is in your system, so it is best to avoid them to kill the hangover pain. Aspirin is a blood thinner, and alcohol and can intensify its negative side effects. Tylenol (or acetaminophen) can cause more damage to your liver, as alcohol metabolism enhances acetaminophen’s toxicity. Ibuprofen can also cause stomach bleeding. So be cautious when going for the quick relief.
The morning after – during the hangover
Drink lots of water
More please ~ We can’t stress this one enough!
Drink Sports Drinks
After a heavy night of drinking you lose many electrolytes. Sports drinks such as Gatorade will help replenish this.
Consume Healthy Foods
Eggs – Because eggs contain cysteine, which breaks down acetaldehyde in the body, eating eggs the morning after a drinking binge could help remove the hangover-causing alcohol metabolite toxin from the body.
Bananas – Alcohol depletes the body of electrolytes like potassium. Bananas, or other fruit high in potassium, while having hangover symptoms can replenish the lost electrolytes.
Bouillon Soup – If you can’t handle the idea of eating anything solid while experiencing severe hangover symptoms, try some bouillon soup. It also can help replace electrolytes lost during a drinking binge.
Of course as personal trainers and health coaches, we have no idea what it’s like to be hung over! Just kidding, we are human too, and understand that having a drink or two is a normal activity that may play an important part of your life. Just remember that a hangover is your body’s way of trying to deal with the alcohol and toxins in your body and it’s protest may be trying to send you a message. So drink lots of water, get rest, eat healthily and take care of yourself – it’s the BEST way to cure your hangover. We also enjoy the promises to “never do that again.” Too bad we couldn’t find solid evidence showing that really hard workouts involving burpees and lunges were the best cure!