Alcohol isn’t the enemy (though it does have surprising health implications). If you choose to imbibe, do so responsibly—and if you accidentally drink a little too much, know that there are a few things you can do to help get your body back in balance. Bookmark these hangover remedies, especially for the long weekend ahead!
Pre-Drinking Tips to Prevent a Hangover
Prevention is the best medicine, as you probably have heard. So start here when you know you’ll be drinking more than usual, and you’ll be more on your way to avoiding a hangover all togther.
1. Drink Water Alongside Your Alcohol
It’s an old adage that actually rings true: Drinking water before, during, and after you imbibe helps your body process alcohol. It keeps you hydrated (alcohol is a dehydrator), and gives your liver time to metabolize the alcohol. We recommend at least two glasses of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume—and make sure you’re not drinking on an empty stomach too.
2. Skip Premade Mixers In Favor of Homemade Drinks
Yes, it’s a little more work to make a margarita from scratch, but that extra effort is worth it to your body. Premade mixers are often chock-full of artificial sweeteners, preservatives, artificial coloring, and other unnecessary ingredients that add to the load your body has to process (and it’s already working overtime on the alcohol).
3. Eat a Good Mix of Fats and Protein Before Drinking
You want to eat a good mix of fats and proteins before (and after) drinking. More than likely, you just got a lot of carbs and sugars from the alcohol.
The purpose of eating more fats and proteins before drinking will be to slow down gastrointestinal (GI) motility, allowing more time for your liver to process what you’re about to consume. If your GI motility is slower, the alcohol won’t immediately be available in your bloodstream, causing more of a trickle of alcohol into your system.
While Drinking Tips to Prevent Hangovers
While you’re drinking, utilize these tips to ensure you’ll be set up to recover well the next day.
1. Use Fruit In Place of Artificial Sugar
Speaking of made-from-scratch drinks, choosing fruit as a sweetener for your beverages instead of artificial sweeteners is a great way to help balance out the alcohol. Fruit is naturally high in antioxidants, which neutralize the destructive molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive oxygen molecules which damage DNA and cell membranes. They’ve been linked to a wide range of diseases and are thought to be one of the chief causes of aging.
Because alcohol itself can facilitate cell damage, including fruit in your cocktail won’t make your beverage a healthy drink—but it can help cancel out some of alcohol’s effects.
2. Avoid Alcohol In Plastic Bottles
Alcohol often lives in its container for longer than other products we consume, whether that’s on the shelf or in your liquor cabinet. That’s why choosing alcohol that’s bottled in glass instead of plastic can actually have a positive impact on your health.
Glass is more impermeable than plastic, making it better for long-term storage, and less likely to leech anything into the alcohol itself.
Plus, plastic is potentially hazardous to your health in other ways. To make plastic hard and shiny, manufacturers often use bisphenol-A or BPA, a compound that has come under fire for its toxicity. BPA is an endocrine disrupter, which means it can disrupt normal hormone function and lead to a slew of dangerous health issues. For instance, studies have linked the compound to breast cancer.
If bottles are exposed to heat (like sitting out in the sun), they’re more likely to break down and release BPA faster. Instead, skip the plastic and choose glass alcohol bottles.
RELATED: 5 Tips for Drinking Healthier
Post Drinking Hangover Remedies
1. Eat a Good Mix of Fats and Proteins
No, you’re not seeing double: Eating after drinking is another way to help prevent a hangover. It can help to stabilize your blood sugar and provide nutrition for your body to recover. High sugar and carbohydrates from alcohol will make your blood sugar go on a roller coaster, and on top of that, the alcohol takes more energy to process through the liver.
You’ll need to eat fats and proteins for both blood sugar stabilization as well as the actual nutrients from the food (think B vitamins, amino acids, etc.) to help the liver process.
2. Pop an Activated Charcoal Pill
Metabolism is going to probably be done by middle of the night so from a medical perspective doing anything to boost it in the morning is a moot point—but we see the allure.
Try activated charcoal internally the night before bedtime to help bind the alcohol up and decrease hangovers.
3. Add Other Vitamins, Minerals, and Amino Acids to Your Morning-After Routine
We all know that alcohol is especially hard on the liver. Taking a supplemental liver and antioxidant support can help decrease inflammation, support your liver to do its job, and replenish antioxidant nutrients that can be depleted with alcohol consumption.
As an additional way to support liver metabolism, try also adding in amino acids, milk thistle, NAC, and a good B complex.
Some of this information was originally published in an article on This Organic Girl, where Dr. Cassie Wilder was interviewed.
Dr. Cassie Wilder is a registered Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) and founder of MIMC. Her passion is empowering her patients through education, understanding, and support through their healing journey. After graduating from Iowa State University with a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology and Health, Dr. Wilder earned her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences, a fully accredited and nationally recognized institution in Phoenix, AZ. During her clinical training, she received extensive hands-on training with many leading experts in the field of functional medicine and developed a passion for treating hormonal imbalances, thyroid disorders, cardiovascular concerns, and adrenal fatigue.