5 Natural Hangover Remedies That Really Work, According To a Doctor
It’s the end of 2020 and for some of us, it’s about celebrating the end of this emotionally draining year. Despite your personal outlook, you may find yourself with a drink in your hand, especially during New Year's Eve celebrations.
This time of year, experts predict that more individuals will resort to heavy drinking to cope with the current state of the world. The events of 2020 " has created a perfect storm for more people to turn to drinking as a way to cope, especially during the holiday season,” says Dr. Kristamarie Collman, MD, a board-certified family medicine physician and founder of Prōse Medical. A report published earlier this year showed that adults ages 30 to 59 reported drinking 14 percent more than last year. Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to numerous illnesses, such as heart disease and liver disease in addition to mental health disorders, according to Collman.
If alcohol is a part of your celebrations, drinking in moderation is your safest bet. According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, this is defined as having up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks for men. However, this holiday season, you may not realize when you had one too many with all of the Zoom gatherings at home, says Dr. Collman. It will probably not be uncommon to wake up the next morning and find yourself in a dazed state, experiencing a variety of unpleasant hangover symptoms. In an exclusive interview with The Beet, Dr. Collman provides recommendations on some natural remedies that harnesses the power of plants to ease and heal a bad hangover:
1. Ginger and peppermint tea to help with nausea
“Ginger and Peppermint have been around for thousands of years and have been used in helping to improve nausea symptoms. Research has shown that ginger may impact certain receptors in the digestive system that may soothe an upset stomach and reduce nausea,” says Dr. Collman.
A 2017 review published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition found that ginger is filled with bioactive compounds and anti-inflammatory properties to prevent nausea and vomiting. In a 2020 study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, peppermint oil significantly reduced the frequency of nausea, vomiting, retching, and the severity of nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Ginger and peppermint tea can be made by seeping some dried ginger or peppermint tea leaves in a pot of hot water, respectively.
2. Tumeric to alleviate headaches and pains
Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family and has been used for thousands of years for a variety of illnesses. Specifically, it was in traditional Indian medicine systems such as Ayurveda to heal disorders of the skin, upper respiratory tract, joints, and digestive system, according to the National Institute of Health. “Turmeric’s active ingredient is curcumin which has potent anti-inflammatory properties. This works well to help prevent inflammation and reduce pain,” says Dr. Collman.
A 2018 study published in The Journal of Immunology found that curcumin in turmeric inhibits inflammation by suppressing the pathways that activate it in the body. Not only can turmeric be added to rice, soups, and stews but also can be used to make golden milk, a caffeine-free delicacy. Dr. Collman recommends that it may be beneficial to mix turmeric with black pepper as it can help your body to better absorb the turmeric.
3. Potassium-rich foods like avocado, bananas, and leafy greens
“If someone is experiencing hangover symptoms such as vomiting, they are at risk for electrolyte losses and imbalances. Foods such as avocados, bananas, and leafy greens (like spinach and kale) are rich in nutrients which can help to replace important minerals and vitamins that may have been depleted,” says Dr. Collman.
Low intakes of potassium have been linked to high blood pressure, increased insulin resistance (risk of type 2 diabetes), and poor bone health, according to the National Institute of Health. A 2019 study published in Nutrients found that over half of the potassium intake in the sample of adults came from minimally processed foods, such as fruits and vegetables. “Making a smoothie with these ingredients could be a simple way to incorporate these foods, but depending on one’s digestive symptoms, it might be easier to have small bites throughout the day,” says Dr. Collman.
4. Hydrating foods like watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumbers
When you have one too many, you may feel dehydrated with symptoms such as a dry mouth or headache. This is because alcohol is a diuretic, which can cause your body to remove fluids through your kidneys, ureters, and bladder at a faster rate than other liquids, according to the Mayo Clinic. “Replenishing one's system with hydrating foods may aid in alleviating symptoms caused by dehydration,” says Dr. Collman.
She recommends foods such as watermelon and cucumber, which are not only water-rich but also have essential nutrients such as vitamin A, magnesium, and potassium. Other fruits high in water per cup include strawberries (151ml), plums (143.9ml), and apricots (133.8ml), according to USDA Food Data Central. “These food items can be added to the diet by consuming as a snack, smoothie, or even used to make a salad,” adds Dr. Collman. Make a snack plate filled with water-rich fruits like berries, melon, cantaloupe, and grapes while you are drinking to stay hydrated.
5. Coconut or plain water to increase water intake
“Increasing one’s water intake may certainly help to ease hangover symptoms. Besides the refreshing taste, coconut water can help with hydration and has an abundance of electrolytes (such as potassium and magnesium) and minerals beneficial to the body,” says Dr. Collman. After a heavy drinking session, it is best to drink lots of water to restore your hydration levels, suggests the Mayo Clinic.
A 2018 study published in Cell Metabolism found that alcohol-induced dehydration, stimulating water intake for hydration balance. If you feel like you have a drink or two during the festivities, try “pre-gaming” with a glass of water to reduce your chance of waking up with a hangover. Drinking water before and after the booze is your best bet to have a good morning the next day.