Practical Tips to Avoid a Hangover
The pre-tox measures above are important for supplying your body with the vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients to protect your liver and assist in the breakdown and removal of alcohol from your system. Other practical measures that may help include:
- Stay Hydrated: Drink a glass of water along with each alcoholic beverage to help prevent dehydration. At bedtime, drink another large glass of water or two to help stave off hangover symptoms in the morning.
- Eat Beforehand and During: If your stomach is empty, it will speed the alcohol’s rate of absorption into your body. It may also cause more severe stomach irritation. Make it a point to eat a meal before you drink alcohol and nibble on satisfying snacks (such as cheese) while you drink. At the very least, try this old piece of wisdom from the Mediterranean region — take a spoonful of olive oil before drinking alcohol to help prevent a hangover.
- Replenish Electrolytes: Try drinking coconut water before you go to bed to help reduce hangover symptoms in the morning.
- Stick with Clear Alcohol: Generally, clear liquors (vodka, gin, white wine) will contain fewer congeners than darker varieties (brandy, whiskey).
- Stop Drinking When You’re Buzzed: When you feel buzzed, it’s a sign that your body’s detoxification pathways are becoming overwhelmed. Take a break from drinking, or quit for the day entirely, to allow your body to metabolize the alcohol effectively.
You’re Hung Over… Now What?
Ideally, the steps above will help you to avoid a hangover, but keep in mind that if you drink excessively, there is virtually no foolproof way to prevent all the ill effects.
If you find yourself feeling hung over after too many drinks, don’t try the “hair of the dog” remedy of drinking more alcohol – this will only prolong your reaction.
- Exercise: If you can manage it, a short bout of high-intensity exercise may help you to sweat out some of the toxins. Be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid becoming even more dehydrated.
- Replenish your body: Try bone broth for minerals, coconut water for electrolytes, eggs for natural cysteine, and coconut for potassium.
- Ginger: If you’re feeling nauseated, steep a piece of fresh ginger root in hot water for a natural stomach-settling tea.
- Try a cup of black coffee: It may reduce swelling in your blood vessels, helping to relieve headache.
If You Drink Alcohol, Keep It in Moderation
If you’re using the hangover pre-tox or remedies above, hopefully it is only for the very occasional use. While an infrequent drink here and there is not likely to cause too much damage, especially in combination with a healthful lifestyle, it’s important to realize that alcohol is a neurotoxin that can poison your brain and disrupt your hormonal balance.
When it comes to alcohol, remember that using it in moderation is key and excessive use is virtually guaranteed to damage your health.
I generally define “moderate” alcohol intake as a 5-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce beer, or 1 ounce of hard liquor with a meal, per day. As you progress further into reaching higher levels of health, I do recommend eliminating all forms of alcohol.