So you’ve done it again, you wake up thinking “Must-Get-Rid-of-a-Hangover”.
But last night was so much fun (you thought).
You wake up and find that you’re not dead. Though death may sound merciful, having detectable vital signs at least is s a good start.
The familiar dry mouth, pounding head, aching body, and motion sickness from a bed that has been riding long ocean swells all night, make for morning of dread, right?
It doesn’t have to be TOTALLY miserable. Yeah sure, you may have taken a calculated risk last night at your best buddy’s Bachelor/Bachelorette party, but you’re going to do what you can to recover the day.
First things first.One word: water, water and more water. Okay three words, but the point is you need to rehydrate, and make it a priority.
A body that is 70% water loses a lot of it when you are drinking.
Alcohol is a very efficient diuretic (much like there are very efficient bank robbers), and causes your body to be robbed of fluids.
When you drink, your body loses approximately four times the amount of water that you uptake. So keep the water coming for the best chance at a good outcome in the morning.
It may be a little late for last night, but a really good idea is to drink a glass of water between each adult beverage, next time you drink.
This will not only slow the absorption of alcohol, but will combat the devil of dehydration.
Dehydration causes water loss in your entire body, vital organs and even your brain, which shrinks, stretching the connective tissue and causing that world-class headache.
So to make things easy, the major points to address when you are hungover are:
2. Pain suppression
4. Replacing lost vitamins and electrolytes
6. Repentance is optional, but helps
7. Planning for a possible next time
Hydration – We mentioned Water. Other good fluids are Peppermint Tea (soothing to your stomach), Green Tea (chock full of powerful antioxidants) and soda water (not soda pop, bad idea there).
Some like their soda water with a fresh lemon SQUEEZE (not a twist), and a dash of salt. Add a small spoon of sugar if you wish. This simple potion gives you crucial Vitamin C, electrolytes, and a little blood sugar boost, which will help metabolize alcohol loitering in your system.
Stay away from coffee if you can avoid it. Strong coffee for helping a hangover is a myth, and a diuretic itself. Unless skipping coffee causes a caffeine withdrawal headache, pass on it.
Green Tea is a much better bet, it hydrates, has good stuff in it, and it does have a hint of caffeine which usually saves the coffee hound from dying all over again.
Pain Suppression – Aspirin, or Ibuprofen are OK. DO NOT TAKE ACETAMINOPHEN (such as Tylenol). Acetaminophen and alcohol are a vicious combination for your liver, and can expose you to permanent liver damage, or worse.
It’s worth repeating: ACETAMINOPHEN and ALCOHOL: DO NOT MIX!
Nutrition - Your body needs food. It may not sound like a good idea, but if you can eat, do so. A good start might be
· Oatmeal (lots of vitamins and fiber, easy on your stomach)
· Bananas (rich in potassium, also easy on the stomach, and provide fruit sugars, which engage the metabolizing processes)
· Chicken noodle soup or miso
· A banana smoothie, with protein powder – if you have the ingredients on hand and can stand the blender noise, this is an excellent tactical move. A good strategic move would have been to make one last night before going out, and storing it in the fridge. More notes for next time…
Replacing lost vitamins and electrolytes - The soda-water-with-lemon tip is a great one. Has most of the goodies your body wants. Stay away from sports drinks or energy drinks; most of them have chemicals colors and artificial sweeteners your body doesn’t need, and your liver won’t like.
An excellent liquid choice is Coconut Water (a little planning here too, unless you keep it on hand) Coconut Water – has electrolytes, vitamins and minerals, amino acids and natural sweetness from fruit sugars. Coconut Water is becoming a favorite among athletes and bodybuilders for its natural nutritional properties and hydrating ability.
Most of the electrolytes your body needs, though, come from foods. Potassium, magnesium, sodium chloride, calcium: come from a variety of fruits and vegetables, milk, meats, and nuts.
If you want to vegetate on the couch and watch a movie while you pursue your rest therapy, tortilla chips and guacamole are excellent.
The chips have salt (electrolytes) which is a good thing, and will remind you to keep drinking more water. The avocados are rich in Cysteine, which helps your body to produce crucial Glutathione (another process you assaulted last night).
Rest - Your body needs rest; better yet sleep, to recover from the damage. A bit of exercise is good to get the system energized, but avoid strenuous activity, you probably don’t feel up to it, and you may strain or even hurt yourself.
A good walk can get your circulation going and make you fell more alive, but in general, taking it easy if you can, is a key goal.
If it’s a work day? Well, you’ll have to get through it.
Repentance is optional, but helps- If it IS a work day, you may want to either re-think your moderation issues, or just console yourself that the winnings at Poker Night were worth the price you are paying today. Yin and Yang.
You can turn your regrets into planning, and be a little better prepared by laying in some of the supplies we have talked about.
7. Planning for a possible next time – Start by laying in some of the supplies we talked about.
Before starting your drinking, have a good meal of protein and carbs, with vegetables and ample water included.
Remember to drink plenty of water before, during and after drinking.
And above all, never drink and drive.
David Katz is experienced in the matters of wine and spirits, their consumption and the health and social aspects of their use.
For a thoughtful approach to responsible drinking, visit http://getridofahangover.net
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