Everything about hangovers is horrible. The crushing headaches, unbearable nausea, intense thirst, extreme fatigue, you just name it.
Hangovers leave you feeling miserable. But you already know that we all do.
How do you get rid of it, and feel better? Are there any natural ways of relieving hangovers?
In this post, you’ll find answers to these questions. We’ll discuss the best natural hangover remedies, and more. Let’s dive in!
What are the causes hangovers?
Yes, drinking too much alcohol causes hangovers. But that doesn’t tell the full story, though. Let me explain.
Alcohol in itself isn’t always the cause of hangovers but some of its after-effects. There are many effects of alcohol on your body.
It is a culmination of these effects that lead to symptoms of hangovers. Some of these after-effects are:
Alcohol is diuretic in nature, meaning it causes you to pee more often.
It does this by suppressing the production of vasopressin. Vasopressin is the hormone responsible for regulating the amount of urine the body produces.
As urine is typically made of over 95% water, frequent urination will lead to dehydration. Dehydration causes thirst and is also one of the chief causes of headaches and drowsiness.
Taking alcohol messes with your body’s electrolyte levels. Imbalances in the levels of electrolytes also contribute to headaches, along with fatigue and irritability.
Severe cases of electrolyte imbalances may pose fatal risks to the boy.
Low blood sugar
Alcohol intake retards the production of glucose in the body. This causes hypoglycemia, a situation where the sugar level in the body is low.
Hypoglycemia ultimately causes fatigue, irritability, and drowsiness.
Alcohol irritates the gastrointestinal tract and causes more acid to be produced by the digestive system. Alcohol can also alter the rate at which food moves through the GIT.
These effects contribute to nausea, diarrhea, GERD and vomiting.
Although binge-drinking causes drowsiness, the quality of sleep is significantly reduced.
The individual may wake up several times in the night, and this leads to drowsiness and headaches during the day.
Symptoms and signs of hangovers
Knowing when you have a hangover is not difficult. You experience some discomforting symptoms that may last up to 24 hours in some cases.
The symptoms of hangovers and the severity of those symptoms vary with individuals. Some of the commonly reported symptoms are:
- Anxiety and depression
Natural remedies for hangover
The symptoms of hangovers can range from mild to intense. Some feel a mild pain that lasts for a few minutes, while others may roll in pain for hours.
Neither is fine, though.
You do not have to live through that pain every time you have a ‘good time.’ These remedies will help in accomplishing that.
There’s more. These remedies are completely natural, which means you don’t have to worry about buying or using medications.
Let’s get right into it then.
When it comes to relieving hangover symptoms, the first thing you want to do is to drink water—plenty of it. Here’s why.
Alcohol causes dehydration, through its diuretic effects and by vomiting. This dehydration may worsen hangover symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and drowsiness.
It only makes sense to rehydrate as soon as possible.
If you drink water when drinking alcohol, you may even prevent a hangover altogether, as it will help you moderate the amount of alcohol you’ll take.
You don’t have to mix water with alcohol, that sounds boring, but you can alternate between a glass of water and a glass of alcohol.
Water can help reduce the duration of a hangover and is one of the best natural remedies you can find.
2. Nutrient-rich meals
A meal can go a long way in relieving hangover symptoms. And not just any meal now, a nutrient-rich one.
Excessive alcohol intake is often characterized by low blood sugar. Low blood sugar in itself doesn’t cause hangovers, but it is usually associated with one.
Eating breakfast as soon as possible helps to replenish and maintain your blood sugar levels.
A study of 109 volunteers has shown that maintaining adequate blood sugar levels can soothe some of the changes that accompany alcohol intake.
The body also loses essential minerals and vitamins through urination and vomiting. And a meal rich in nutrients like potassium and magnesium will help in replenishing the body of those nutrients.
We already established that the symptoms people experience vary, but if you notice that you get nauseated during a hangover, then you should strongly consider ginger.
According to a 2019 study, ginger reduced vomiting and fatigue in chemotherapy patients by sixty percent and eighty percent, respectively.
The good thing about ginger is that there are many different ways you can enjoy it. As a tea, an ingredient in a smoothie, or spice. Knock yourself out.
Alcohol causes oxidative stress, which is simply an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body.
Examples of foods rich in antioxidants are berries, grapes, carrots, dark chocolates, ginger, spinach, garlic, nuts and seeds, tomatoes, etc.
This has to be the most controversial entry on this list. Some say it’s good, and some say it isn’t. But which is it?
On the one hand, coffee is a stimulant, and this is especially useful because drowsiness and fatigue are part of the most prevalent symptoms of hangovers. Coffee also contains some beneficial antioxidants.
On the other hand, coffee has diuretic properties and may, therefore, worsen the dehydration caused by alcohol.
It all boils down to you. If you drink coffee normally, then you should go for it. If you’re not a coffee person, then you shouldn’t start.
6. Chamomile tea
One of the symptoms some people experience during a hangover is anxiety. Such people have to deal with both the physical and mental effects of hangovers.
According to a study, shy people, in particular, are implicated in this hangover-induced anxiety, or hangxiety.
When we take alcohol, our liver breaks down ethanol into acetaldehyde.
Acetaldehyde is not only implicated in many hangover symptoms but the WHO also regards it as a possible carcinogen.
Excessive alcohol intake will lead to the buildup of acetaldehyde in the body. One of the substances that can combat this buildup is cysteine, and a perfect source of cysteine is eggs.
Eggs also have important nutrients, like vitamin B, which provides the body with energy.
So, try to incorporate eggs into your meals. Scrambled, boiled, or whichever way works for you.
8. Electrolyte-containing fluids
When water is lost in the form of urine from the body, electrolytes are also lost. Loss of electrolytes can cause dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.
Drinking electrolytes will not only rehydrate the body, but it will also restore essential nutrients.
If you want a natural electrolyte-containing drink, coconut water is the way to go.
You’re probably reading this and thinking – how can I possibly think of exercising in such an awful state?
There’s a reason why exercise is one of the important and natural hangover remedies. Here’s why.
When we say exercise, we don’t mean the intense type. You don’t have to hit the gym or try a hundred push-ups. All you need is just a light workout to stimulate your body.
You may not want to hear this, but you need to hear it. Take a brisk walk, get your body active, break a sweat.
Sleep is perhaps the most straightforward remedy for a hangover. You have that terrible hangover headache when you wake up? Go back to bed.
Harvard Health states that delayed cognitive function during a hangover may be due to poor sleep associated with drinking.
It’s not that you won’t sleep. You’ll sleep quite alright, but the sleep will not be restorative, and you may wake up feeling drowsy, irritable, or even depressed.
11. Limit intake of drinks with congeners
Congeners are toxic chemical by-products resulting from ethanol fermentation, which is the process of producing alcoholic drinks.
The amounts of congeners in alcohol vary. The higher the congeners in a drink, the more severe the hangover is. One way to tell a drink with high congeners is by its color.
Darker drinks, like bourbon and whiskey, contain more congeners. On the other hand, clearer drinks, like vodka and gin, have smaller amounts of congeners.
Limiting the intake of congeners is one of the preventive natural remedies of a hangover.
Hydrotherapy is underrated. This therapy of alternating between cold and hot showers has been utilized for treating several ailments for many years now.
It stimulates blood circulation and helps rid the body of tissue wastes. Research also shows that cold showers may help stimulate the immune system.
13. Vitamins B and C
If you have read up till this point, you definitely know that many hangover symptoms are as a result of the loss of nutrients.
Replenishing the body of these nutrients is crucial.
Vitamins B and C are pretty high up the list of nutrients to replenish the body as soon as possible. Vitamin B, in particular, takes a major hit during binge-drinking.
Vitamin B provides the body with energy and keeps the mental side of the body working perfectly.
The body’s immune system also takes a hit with excessive alcohol intake, as shown by a 2015 research. Vitamin C helps to boost the body’s immune system.
Studies have shown that certain supplements are useful in relieving hangovers.
Although there isn’t enough research available to categorically confirm the use of these supplements yet, the results are promising.
15. Drink moderately
The only surefire way of dealing with a hangover is by not having a hangover at all. You don’t need to be an Einstein to figure that much out.
Drink moderately, and by moderate, the CDC says a maximum of two drinks per day for men and one per day for women.
Or, hear us out, don’t drink at all.
Hangovers are never a nice way to begin the day. Some hangovers may be bad enough to keep you indoors all day.
It becomes crucial to have ways of battling the symptoms these hangovers bring. Follow along these best natural remedies we’ve discussed so you feel better after a hangover.
Note, though, that the best remedy for a hangover is not having one at all. Drink responsibly.