For those in the U.S., Memorial Day Weekend might be a time for partying. That means fun nights may call for painful mornings. Hangovers are terrible! What exactly is a hangover? It’s side effects that come from the ingestion of too much alcohol. But I bet you already knew that.
How much alcohol does it cause for a hangover and why do people get them? This is very dependent on a few factors including general health, tolerance, weight, age, sex and overall metabolism. For one person it can be 1-2 drinks while for another it may be 10-15 drinks! Hangovers can last for just a few hours and in more extreme cases it may take a day or more to really get over a big night.
Symptoms can include:
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Muscle aches and pains
- Concentration problems
- Eyesight disturbances
- Poor memory
- Gastrointestinal upsets: diarrhea, discomfort, flatulence, vomiting
- Loss of hunger
- Excess Sweating
- Depression and anxiety
What causes a hangover exactly? There are a few ideas on how and why this occurs:
- Electrolyte changes
- Acetaldehyde accumulation
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Pro-inflammatory hormonal changes
- Sleep deprivation
- Cardiac output and vascular changes
- Metabolic acidosis
Alcohol stimulates the first phase of liver detoxification, this phase produces more reactive toxins and if the second phase can’t keep up particularly with binge drinking you end up with loads of oxidative stress and inflammation. Some alcohol types are more likely to increase the risk of hangover. Other factors that can exasperate a hangover is high-sugar and high-caffeine mixers, and for some people preservatives might increase the hangover experience.
The ultimate cure all is to avoid over-consuming alcohol in the first place, eating with the consumption of alcohol and keeping well hydrated or avoiding it all together!
There are lots of suggestions on what you can do to reduce the severity or stop it in its tracks with the right additions and tools.
Common suggestions that help are:
- Drink plenty of water
- Take a B vitamin before bed
- Eat a full breakfast that includes protein, fat and carbohydrates
But what can really help is a few juices to support and hydrate your body and cells with these special juice ingredients. I would aim for 2-3 servings to really get on top of it.
The betalin pigments in beets support the second phase of liver detoxification which helps to support the metabolism of alcohol and support the elimination via the bile along with providing high amounts of antioxidants. Beets also contain nitric oxide which may help to reduce muscle aches and pains.
A study in Australia has shown that pear juice helps to reduce blood alcohol levels. Although this study showed it was effective before the consumption of alcohol rather than after.
Coconut water is a fast and easy way to improve your electrolyte-balance after drinking. I also suggest this drink in times of post-exercise fatigue, gastrointestinal infections where there has been vomiting or diarrhea, and of course a hangover.
Oranges add natural sweetness for the correction of low blood sugar, they provide vitamin C to restore tissue loss and provide phytonutrient antioxidants to reduce inflammation.
Oh how we love ginger. It helps to calm digestive distress and supports liver detoxification. Ginger reduces nausea and vomiting and it may also help to protect the memory and support brain function on a longer term basis but provide some benefit short-term.
There’s nothing more cooling than cucumber juice and it help to reduce inflammation, soothe digestion and hydrate efficiently.
This summer favorite provides antioxidants and hydrates our bodies well due to a high water content. It alsoprovides natural sugars to improve blood sugar levels.
Supports liver detoxification and exhibits a powerful anti-inflammatory benefit. Turmeric is also helpful for reducing pain and inflammation due to its very strong and effective compounds particularly curcumin. Curcumin exhibits liver cell protection against alcohol damage and may also protect liver cells from other liver toxic substances.
Carrots are high in carotenoids that are believed to exhibit anti-inflammatory benefits along with providing natural sweetness.
Celery, like coconut water, supports electrolyte replenishment including sodium and hydration.
The bromelain found in pineapple may help to reduce the high levels of inflammation, along with the sweetness it provides to help correct the low blood sugar levels. Pineapples have a long list of health benefits!
Dark Leafy Greens
I bet you could have guessed these would be on the list. Spinach and other leafy greens provide minerals and most importantly B vitamins that can help prevent and treat a hangover, particularly vitamin B6.
Bloody Mary’s are a popular brunch drink for a reason! A good tomato-based juice with sea salt can also be very effective at helping ease a hangover.