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Experts reveal the 8 hangover cures that really work

  • As many as 75 to 80 percent of people get hangovers even after just a few drinks
  • A health writer gave her best tips and tricks for avoiding hangovers and how to cure them 
  • She suggests drinking water infused with electrolytes, replenishing your vitamins and minerals and eating liver-supporting foods to cure hangovers

By Anna Magee For Healthista

Published: 17:07 EST, 6 December 2017 | Updated: 20:37 EST, 6 December 2017

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I only need to sniff a drink and I get a sore head. 

That means either never drink at all or investigate which hangover cures really work, for me at least. 

I hope they work for you.

As many as 75 to 80 percent of people get hangovers, but a health writer gave her tips that really work to combat the morning after drinking
As many as 75 to 80 percent of people get hangovers, but a health writer gave her tips that really work to combat the morning after drinking

As many as 75 to 80 percent of people get hangovers, but a health writer gave her tips that really work to combat the morning after drinking

1. Get your electrolytes 

This may be obvious, but it is still ignored by most drinkers. 

It can be helpful to have a large glass of water before starting on the alcohol, a glass between each alcoholic drink, and at least one large glass before going to bed. 

To improve your hydration, it’s ideal to drink water that contains extra electrolyte minerals such as potassium, sodium and magnesium – the minerals that are easily lost in sweat and urine and that are particularly important to have in the right balance in our cells and blood. 

Natural coconut water is ideal for this, as it naturally contains a good balance of the electrolyte minerals. 

Another alternative is to add a natural electrolyte concentrate to your water. Keep drinking water (or electrolyte rich coconut water) the next day to re-hydrate.

2. Eat protein and fat before you drink 

Make sure that what you eat contains protein and ideally some healthy fats, as these are broken down more slowly than carbohydrates or sugars and stay in the stomach for longer. 

Good protein foods are meats, fish, eggs, beans and lentils, and nuts and seeds. 

Healthy fats can include olive oil or other good quality seed oils (e.g. flaxseed), avocado, nuts and seeds. 

It can also be helpful to take a few capsules of a high quality fish oil or omega-3 and 6 oil before drinking to help coat the stomach and replenish levels of fatty acids that may be depleted later through alcohol consumption.

Healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds can help prevent hangover since they coat and stay in the stomach for longer 
Healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds can help prevent hangover since they coat and stay in the stomach for longer 

Healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds can help prevent hangover since they coat and stay in the stomach for longer 

3. Eat liver-supporting foods

The liver is responsible for processing and breaking down about 95 percent of the alcohol we consume. 

So to help your liver to do this – and to get rid of chemicals such as acetaldehyde – try to include foods that promote liver function, both before and the day after drinking.

Protein-rich foods are one of the food groups in this category, as proteins break down into amino acids that are used by the liver for detoxification.

Particularly important is the amino acid cysteine, which has a specific role in acetaldehyde breakdown: as well as in protein-rich foods such as eggs, it can be found in onions and garlic, and ‘cruciferous’ vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and cabbage. 

These foods are also great sources of minerals, as well as antioxidants that could help to quench the free radicals produced by alcohol consumption – one of the potential factors in hangovers that we saw above. 

Other liver-supporting foods include artichoke, which can increase bile flow (to support elimination of toxins through the liver) and is thought to help protect the liver cells from damage; turmeric, which can also improve bile production; bitter leafy salad greens such as rocket and watercress; and lemon juice – after an evening of drinking, try starting your day with a large glass of water containing the freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon.

A breakfast of omelette with onions and rocket would be great option to follow this up. 

Brussels sprouts, kale and cabbage support the liver and can help detoxify alcohol from the body
Brussels sprouts, kale and cabbage support the liver and can help detoxify alcohol from the body

Brussels sprouts, kale and cabbage support the liver and can help detoxify alcohol from the body

4. Replenish your vitamins and minerals 

Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and red cabbage are great sources of vitamin C and minerals including magnesium, as well as helping to support the liver. 

Nuts and seeds are loaded with zinc, magnesium and calcium, as well as healthy fats. 

As well as being a good source of protein, eggs are rich in B vitamins, as are beans and lentils. Whole grains are also good sources of B vitamins, minerals and fibre to support elimination of toxins. You can also take a multivitamin to help restore your nutrient levels – see below under ‘Supplement support’. 

5. Milk thistle 

Perhaps the best-known and most traditional remedy for hangovers – it has been proven to protect the liver cells from damage, including that resulting from alcohol, and reduce inflammation in the liver.

I take two thistle supplements before starting to drink, two before bed and two the morning after.

6. Essential fatty acids 

I take two before drinking to help line the stomach (with some food, as we saw above) and the morning after with breakfast to replenish healthy fats. 

If you don’t like the idea of swallowing a fish oil capsule when you’re feeling nauseous, more palatable alternatives are available.

Replenishing your vitamins and minerals with vitamins B, D, C and K is important for when alcohol depletes them from your body 
Replenishing your vitamins and minerals with vitamins B, D, C and K is important for when alcohol depletes them from your body 

Replenishing your vitamins and minerals with vitamins B, D, C and K is important for when alcohol depletes them from your body 

7. High dose multivitamins 

Ensure they contain high levels of vitamin C and B vitamins which your body uses up when you drink.

I take a high dose, high quality multivitamin which contains high levels of B, D, C and K vitamins – all of which may be easily depleted by alcohol intake as well as the amino acids essential to brain function, glutamine and lysine.

If I am drinking, I take one before drinking, one more when I get home and then another with breakfast the day after.

8. Extra vitamin C 

Vitamin C is necessary for energy production, for proper immune function, and as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals. 

The one I use is gentler on my stomach than some vitamin C supplements because of its powder form and also comes in a form called magnesium ascorbate which does not leach the minerals potassium and calcium from the body – all ideal to prevent extra irritation.

I take a serve every day in my smoothie but if I am drinking, I take a little in water before going out, with my multivitamin and omega oils, one before going to bed; and if I still feel rough the next day, one tablet every two to three hours.

This article was originally published by Healthista

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