The hangover is nature’s way of telling you to start drinking first thing in the morning. Barring the proverbial hair of the dog that bit you, you’re going to need something to keep you from feeling like someone is hammering a nail into your forehead all day. Of course, the easiest hangover cure is skipping that eighth shot of Patron. But that’s boring, not to mention way too late. So here are some actual, legit, scientifically sound ways to defend yourself against alcohol’s revenge.
1. Food, Dude
Tastiest shoe ever? Until Nike comes out with the Air McRib, yes!
Before you even down your first Cuba Libre you can start warding off the next morning’s pain. Because drinking takes vitamins B and C out of your body, foods with those nutrients—such as whole grains, potatoes, bananas and chili peppers for B and kiwi, broccoli, strawberries and oranges for C—are a great preventive measure. Also, milk helps you absorb booze more slowly, and juice-based cocktails like screwdrivers ensure your body replenishes nutrients while you drink. Don’t worry—anyone who mocks you for ordering them will pay for it the following day.
There is a strange new drink on the market you can add to your coffee, booze and energy drink regimen. It’s called “water” and there’s so much of it, it’s basically free. As the main cause of hangovers is dehydration, have a glass between drinks to keep yourself hydrated through the night, and before you pass out in a heap, down as much agua as you can stomach. And as much as you desperately want coffee in the morning, try to steer clear—it’s a diuretic, fancy science talk for “something that makes you pee a lot and dehydrates you more.”
3. Nux Vomica
No, it’s not the latest death metal band out of Sweden. It’s a tree nut containing tons of strychnine. Sounds pretty healthy, right? Homeopathic doctor Lauri Grossman recommends nux vomica as a hangover cure that works in minutes. The good doc recommends that you take a 30C potency four times throughout the day. It will also relieve your headache and sensitivity to light. You can get this at any natural food store or even big chains like Whole Foods. No functioning alcoholic should be without it.
4. Light Yoga
We know that yoga is probably the last thing on earth you want to do when you’re swearing to never drink again. Still, Seattle-based registered dietician Minh-Hai Tran suggests a little light yoga in the morning to chase the discomfort away. Tran pairs her routine with Vietnamese chicken pho and some Emergen-C. Note: if you’re actually able to move while you have a hangover, you’re pretty badass.
There’s a warning on aspirin about not taking it if you drink too much. However, this refers to daily drinking, so unless you’re a world-class drunk, you can probably ignore it. Michelle Davenport, a Ph.D. candidate in Nutrition and Dietetics at New York University, swears by it. “Alcohol releases chemicals in the body called prostaglandins that promote inflammation,” she says. “They also play a role in pain production.” Aspirin is a prostaglandin inhibitor. You do the math.
Davenport adds that drinking too much causes “oxidative stress and inflammation.” The antidote? Fruits and veggies like blueberries, tomatoes, citrus fruits, spinach and broccoli. Green tea is also a worthy substitute for coffee that will energize you while doing more good than harm. Two rules of thumb: fresh food is always better than supplements, and the more color, the better.
7. Vitamin B6
“Consuming too much alcohol leads to low levels of vitamin B6, which plays an important role in liver metabolism,” says Davenport. So to get your liver happy again, eat some garbanzo beans, salmon or bananas. Or just whip up a smoothie with all three. That sounds like it will totally hit the spot after a night of nonstop tequila shots, doesn’t it?