Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hangovers! How to cure and prevent!

I woke up this afternoon with a pretty bad hangover. Its my own fault. I haven't been sleeping too well lately, haven't been eating much and I drank a ton. I was tempted to take an aspirin when I finally came to, but decided to do some research on the internet before hand. Here's what I learned.

How to cure a hangover.

Sleep. Rest is your best friend at this point to give your body a recover. It is best to stay in bed so call in to work if you have to, tell them you have the stomach flu. You will sound so horrible on the phone they may believe you (unless they saw you at the bar, not a good idea then).

Replenish your body with water, fruit juice such as orange juice that contains Vitamin C, sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade that will help bring your electrolyte count back to normal. Some people say pickle juice is also a good remedy.

If you absolutely need some pain relief try Alka Seltzer Morning Relief. It contains aspirin and caffeine but is made just for hangover symptoms.

Eat mineral rich food like pickles or canned fish. Bananas are also a natural antacid to help with the nausea, and are high in magnesium which can help relax those pounding blood vessels causing that hangover headache. Apples, prickly pear cactus, persimmon, raw cabbage or sauerkraut and natural ginger containing food has also been known to help.

Get some exercise

Drink a Bloody Mary. While the popular phrase “hair of the dog that bit you” may sound logical with a shot of whiskey left in the bottle next to your bed, it’s only temporary. Try a Bloody Mary instead, while your blood is dealing with the new alcohol it is ignoring the old and in the mean time tomato juice and celery are full of vitamins. If you drank the last of the vodka make a Virgin Mary. Another spicy morning after drink option is Hair of the Dog, in which gin and hot sauce are sure to bite your hangover back.

The side effects of aspirin, Tylenol and ibuprofen can be magnified when alcohol is in your system, so it is best (even though it may be the first thing you reach for) to avoid them to kill the hangover pain. Aspirin is a blood thinner, just like alcohol, and can intensify its effects and Tylenol (or acetaminophen) can cause more damage to your liver. Ibuprofen can also cause stomach bleeding. So be cautious when going for the quick relief.
How to prevent a hangover:

Don't drink. (doh!)

Take a Berocca before you start drinking. This gets a reserve of Vitamin B into you.

Try one of the many anti-hangover remedies found at convenience store registers and drug stores. I have heard good and bad things about these but have never tried them personally, but it is an option.

Eat before you go out! Eat anything. One thing I've heard about quite often is eating anything with peanut butter. I'm not sure to the exact reasonings but peanut butter is healthy for you none the less. Also anything starchy like bread and pasta will slow the absorption of alcohol.

Before you go out drink tons of water! This will help make you feel full, promote getting up/moving around while you have to go to the bathroom and gives you less time to drink overall:p

Alternate fruit juice or water in amongst your drinks to avoid dehydration later on. Avoid fizzy or sugary stuff. The purists reckon that about 200ml of water is needed to effectively counteract each 30ml of alcohol.

Remember: The alcohol in carbonated drinks is absorbed more quickly than in non-carbonated drinks.

Reduce the amount of sugar you consume with your alcohol. The forced metabolism of sugar AND alcohol by your body will accelerate the depletion of B vitamins and make the hangover worse.

Memorize this rhyme and abide by it, it will save you a lot of pain. “Liquor before beer, never fear (Or in the clear). Beer before liquor, never sicker.” Its worked for me!

Choose the booze carefully. Again, dark spirits contain more congeners, light spirits fewer, cheap liquor more. More congeners equal more headaches. Stick with quality light color drinks most of the night to reduce your hangover.

Go for a walk. Get up, stretch out, get some fresh air. This will help you sober up (if only for a few) and help you feel better later on.

Consume less than one drink per hour. Your liver breaks down alcohol at the rate of one beer per hour, so spreading out your drinking over many hours will give your body a chance to keep up with you.

The 2am pig-out. Pizza or pasta is usually best since cheese and carbohydrates are a good source of amino acids. Actually food is a good idea all round - before, during and immediately after drinking. Food doesn't absorb alcohol, but it does increase metabolism, activates alcohol absorption, and increases the speed with which the body processes alcohol.

Important: If you experience tremors, stomach pain, or see blood in your vomit seek professional medical attention IMMEDIATELY. You may have overdone it too much and should go to the emergency room right away.

Here's hoping I never feel like this again in my life.

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