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Hangover Helper

You only have yourself to blame for your hungover state. Now, here’s how to fix how awful you’re feeling…

By Karen Kwan

You wake up in the morning and instantly regret how much you drank last night. Your entire body aches, your head is throbbing, you feel bloated and thirsty, you have no energy and you’re more than a little nauseous. Never mind the dangers of binge drinking (that’s a whole other topic for another time). Right now, your priority is how to start feeling like a human being again. There are a lot of remedies you hear about – here’s the lowdown.

Skip the hair of the dog
Going for the hair of the dog – that is, drinking alcohol to alleviate the symptoms of a hangover by raising your blood alcohol levels – won’t help your state. You’re simply prolonging the time you experience those hangover symptoms.

That greasy breakfast won’t help either
After a night of drinking, many people trudge out to eat breakfast at a greasy spoon. But having a greasy meal such as fast food might actually help more if you have it before you go drinking. Nutritionist Michelle Jaelin explains that the fat will coat your stomach, slowing down the absorption of alcohol, which translates to lowering your risk of hangover symptoms.

Drink tomato juice
You hear a lot about chugging Gatorade, but a much healthier option is tomato juice. “You need fluid to rehydrate. Tomato juice is high in sodium and potassium, so it will help replenish your electrolytes,” says Jaelin, who works as a registered dietitian and nutrition communication consultant through her Hamilton-based business Nutrition Artist.

Have a bowl of chicken soup
Chicken soup is not just for the common cold. “It’s the cure for everything, including hangovers!” says Jaelin. What your body needs in this hungover state is fluids and sodium, so chicken soup (or any broth-based soup) is a fantastic meal option.

Eat some citrus fruit
Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning you’ll deplete your body of vitamins and minerals while you’re out imbibing. So if you know you’re going out and will be drinking heavily, it’s a good idea to stock up your fridge ahead of time with citrus fruits, such as oranges, clementines and grapefruit. Why? “The vitamin C antioxidants help with the free radical damage from alcohol,” says Jaelin.

Go bananas
A banana isn’t just a great snack to enjoy after running a marathon – it’s also a good choice when you’re hungover. “Bananas are high in potassium, and the sugar will also help bring up your blood sugar levels. You often feel ‘down’ when you’ve had a lot to drink because of low blood sugar levels,” explains Jaelin.

Replace that pint/wine/martini glass with a teacup
The day after a hangover is a great time to drink some tea. Jaelin recommends ginger tea (for its anti-nausea benefits) and lemon (for its vitamin C – see above). And feel free to put a little bit of honey in your tea, she adds; the glucose will raise your blood sugar.


KAREN KWAN is a freelance health, travel and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter at @healthswellness and on Instagram at @healthandswellness.
 

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