This post is a little different from our usual wellness tips and resources (which are based around healthy habits and wellness practices to add to your daily life). But, let’s address something that’s more of a solution to an unhealthy practice: what to do to help naturally “cure” a hangover.
Now, this doesn’t mean we condone getting hangovers—don’t make a habit of doing that!
However, even well-meaning “moderate” drinkers may occasionally wake up with the unpleasant effects of drinking alcohol the night before.
Perhaps we stretched our limits at a special event. Or we thought we were being responsible but couldn’t handle as much as we used to (alcohol tolerance does generally decrease as we age). Or maybe something just didn’t quite agree with us (certain drinks may cause worse hangovers for some people).
It’s not a healthy practice to drink to the point of a hangover.
That’s a sign you’re drinking more than your body can handle. Which, regardless where that falls on the spectrum of “safe” alcohol consumption, is not a good thing.
But, even if you’re dutifully following the tips for safe alcohol consumption, it can be helpful to have some simple, natural tricks in your back pocket to support your body in recovering from a hangover if you do get one.
What is a hangover?
A hangover is, of course, caused by excessive alcohol consumption—more than your body can safely process. (Remember, alcohol is a toxin that our liver works hard to remove from our system, so it doesn’t harm our vital organs.)
But, when we drink more alcohol than our body can process in the period of time in which we consumed it, that excess alcohol causes dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, nutrient depletion and low blood sugar.
Together, these imbalances result in those common hangover symptoms many have regretted experiencing:
How to prevent a hangover
The best, most effective and certain way to avoid a hangover is to actively prevent it! That means:
Start there, and the rest of this post should hopefully be unnecessary! (And, it goes without saying that it’s much better for your health and well-being to prevent a hangover and not get one in the first place than it is to use the remedies below.)
But, that said, there are sometimes mornings we realize our hangover prevention methods did not go as planned. In that case, here are some of the best natural remedies to not only soothe the symptoms of a hangover but effectively address the underlying cause of them:
The best natural hangover remedies address three main issues that cause the unpleasant symptoms of a hangover: dehydration, electrolyte imbalance & low blood sugar.
A hearty breakfast
Eating a nutritious, hearty breakfast is one of the first and easiest remedies to try for curing a hangover.
Some of the symptoms of a hangover are caused or exacerbated by low blood sugar, and eating a hearty, protein-rich breakfast can help to restore blood sugar levels (as well as restore essential nutrients that become depleted from drinking too much).
Some of the best hangover-remedy foods are:
eggs (organic, pasture-raised is best)
whole-grain toast with grass-fed butter
If your stomach is quite upset: the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast), which is a common recommendation for nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, can also be helpful with soothing an upset stomach related to a hangover. These easily digestible foods help raise your blood sugar quickly, easing the low blood sugar that’s one of the side effects of a hangover (and that may cause some of its symptoms).
Bananas in particular are packed with potassium, which helps to replace the minerals and electrolytes our bodies easily lose after drinking too much.
One of the most important parts of “curing” a hangover is to rehydrate your body.
Good old fashioned water is important too (and is fine if that’s all you have). But, coconut water can help to rehydrate you more quickly because it’s rich in electrolytes, and electrolyte imbalance is one of the primary causes of hangover symptoms.
Natural electrolyte drink
Because one of the primary causes of a hangover is dehydration, a natural re-hydration electrolyte drink can help considerably.
When in a pinch, store-bought electrolyte drinks like Gatorade, Powerade or Pedialyte can help to restore your body’s electrolyte imbalance. But, if you can guess by their unnaturally bright colors, these drinks are also full of plenty of artificial ingredients that aren’t necessarily a healthful addition to an already depleted body.
Instead of reaching for an artificial electrolyte drink, you can easily make your own at home, with ingredients in your pantry!
Try this homemade natural electrolyte drink:
Stir all the ingredients in a pint-sized glass (or shake in a mason jar!) and you’re good to go.
Sweat it out
Sweating is one of our body’s natural detoxification processes, and it’s also a helpful method removing alcohol-related toxins from the body.
Getting outside for a brisk walk or a jog can help to get your heart pumping, increase circulation (bringing more blood and oxygen to your brain and muscles, alleviating some of those hangover symptoms as well), and aid in your body’s helpful natural detoxification via sweating.
Detoxifying green juice
If you have a home juicer or a juice bar nearby, a cold-pressed detoxifying green juice is a helpful way to give your liver a boost after a night out. Look for juices made with ingredients like spinach, kale, parsley, lemon, and ginger—all great natural detoxifiers.
Grapefruit juice and beet juice are also helpful liver cleansers.