So, you've gone ahead and done it. You threw back a few too many drinks last night, and now you feel completely shredded. Headaches, nausea, and dizziness are the unfortunate result of too much fun the night before.
While there is no one-size-fits-all cure, here are a few preventions and remedies that may help the next time you tell the bartender to "keep 'em coming."
The Tried and True Method - Keep Drinking
Drink a Bloody Mary. While your blood is dealing with the new alcohol, it ignores the old. The vodka in a Bloody Mary mixes with the alcohol still in your system to provide headache relief, and the high salt content helps you retain water (scientists have deduced that hangovers are mostly caused from dehydration). Additionally, the tomato juice and celery are full of vitamins which aid in replacing or soaking up alcohol molecules in your system. Be careful not to take your new-found well-being as a license to continue drinking.
The Puerto Rican Prevention Method - Lemon in the Armpits
Some Puerto Ricans rub a slice of lemon in the armpit of their drinking arm before they start drinking to stop a hangover before it even starts. In theory, the lemon prevents dehydration, and therefore headaches, because it helps retain fluid.
The Will Power Method - Exercise
Exercising might be the last thing on your mind as you're stumbling to the bathroom and reading last night's texts with one eye shut, but it just may be the only relief you'll get. The idea is to down a liter or two of water and hit the treadmill. Exercise speeds breathing, increases sweat, and moves alcohol-laden blood to the liver and kidneys more quickly. Just remember to STAY HYDRATED, otherwise you'll end up feeling worse!
The Hot & Cold Method - Alternating Shower Temps
A hot shower will raise your body's core temperature, prepping your body for sleep and hopefully bypassing some of the pain associated with headaches and sore muscles. The cold water will have an invigorating effect, helping you feel more alert and less "cotton candy head." This is good if you don't have the privilege of calling in sick.
Foods that Prevent and Cure Hangovers:
• Pickles & pickle juice - very high in electrolytes
• Bananas - high in fructose, potassium, and magnesium
• Honey - high in fructose and potassium
Avoid These Like the Plague:
• Caffeine - Resist the urge! Caffeine will only accentuate the effects of dehydration. If you're suffering from caffeine withdrawals, have an espresso, but only after drinking lots of water.
• Acetaminophen (Tylenol) - When your body is busy metabolizing that shot of Tequila, it processes the painkiller differently than it normally would, resulting in toxic compounds that can wreak havoc on your liver.
• Fourth Meal - The idea that stuffing yourself before bed will "soak up" the alcohol is a myth. Food has to already be in your digestive system to slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream, so fill up before you head out. Meals high in fat, like pizza or steak, are your best bets for preventing a hangover the next morning.
In the end, the only real cure for a hangover is time. Your body needs to detox, and rest is your best friend. Hydration is also key, so be sure to drink plenty of water and fruit juice. Until next time...