Top Ten hangover remedies

If you overdo on New Year's Eve, there are tactics that will help you minimize and survive the worst hangover effects and speed you along the road to recovery. Photo: Warner Brothers Pictures

SAN DIEGO, Dec 30, 2011 – A champagne toast is a traditional part of many New Year’s Eve festivities. But imbibing isn’t always limited to just a festive glass or two.

Let’s face it, it’s easy to overdo it on New Year’s Eve. Your body can process one  alcoholic drink per hour which is either 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or a shot (1.5 ounces) of hard alcohol. Any more and you start building up alcohol in your bloodstream. Guess what this means? You are scientifically and officially inebriated. Tipsy. Toasted. Smashed. Wasted. Blotto. Drunk.

Maybe there won’t have a baby or tiger involved, but waking up hungover isn’t ever a good thing. Warner Brothers Pictures.

Assuming you aren’t stupid enough to be drinking and driving, with luck the worst thing that will happen to you is waking up the next morning feeling the effects: AKA, a hangover.

There are many purported hangover cures based in fact and fiction. None will “cure” you, but there are tactics that will help you minimize and survive the worst hangover effects and speed you along the road to recovery.

Not that I have first hand knowledge of these myself, mind you, but most health sources agree on the following list:

Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Alcohol dehydrates you. Replenishing fluids and staying sufficiently hydrated will help minimize a headache and help your bloodstream process the alcohol out of your system faster. If you cannot drink enough water, the first best choice, vegetable juice blends, reduced-sodium clear chicken broth, and caffeine-free diet sodas will also work. 

Sleep it off. Chances are you already stayed up late while you were overdoing the bubbly. Sleep in, then hydrate, get something to eat and consider taking a nap. Get to bed early the following night.

Oh, my head! Yes, you may have a headache. But avoid the temptation to pop your painkiller of choice. Any side effects are magnified when alcohol is in your system. Aspirin is a blood thinner like alcohol. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can pile on more liver damage in addition to whatever you’ve already done. Ibuprofen (Motrin) can also cause stomach bleeding. So be cautious. Try a cold compress with an ice pack or cool washcloth first. If you do take a painkiller, be sure to drink a generous amount of water with it.

Drink a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade. These drinks are fairly easy on your stomach, provide electrolytes, potassium and a small amount of carbs, and help keep you hydrated.

Eat eggs. Eggs contain cysteine, which helps break down a toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolism, acetaldehyde, into relatively harmless acetic acid. Eating eggs after drinking too much can help reduce the effects of acetaldehyde, which include hangover effects and liver damage.

Go bananas. All diuretics, including alcohol, deplete your body of potassium, which can make you lightheaded. Eating bananas or other foods high in potassium can replenish the potassium and lost electrolytes. Sports drinks typically are good sources of potassium, which is why they are also effective.

Ginger, honey and lemon tea. Ginger has long been known as a natural way to relieve nausea. Chinese physicians regularly prescribe ginger for gastric problems. Honey provides nutrients, and lemon provides citric acid and vitamin C. Black teas do have some caffeine but you are getting enough hydration that it won’t negate the positive effects.

Pucker up. In Poland, drinking pickle juice is a common remedy. Russians believe in sauerkraut juice.

Exercise. It may sound like the last thing you feel like doing, but any kind of physical activity will help accelerate your body’s ability to flush the alcohol out of your system. Be cautious, take it easy and make sure you are drinking plenty of water or a sports drink since you’re likely to be a little dehydrated, and you’re going to start perspiring to boot. But if standing up is a challenge, exercise may not be the best idea.

Shower power. Some people swear by taking a shower and alternating between cold and hot water. It certainly can’t hurt you, unless you are so drunk you’d drown.

Enjoy a toast, but don’t overdo it or you will pay the price. Remember what happened to these guys. Warner Brothers Pictures.

What doesn’t work:

The hair of the dog is a complete myth. Your body will start processing the new alcohol in your system and stop doing anything about getting rid of the old stuff making you feel so terrible.

Coffee. Caffeine will accelerate dehydration, so avoid coffee or anything with caffeine for a while.

Eating greasy or fried foods. If your stomach is already queasy, don’t make it any worse. Foods that are difficult to digest will also slow down your body’s ability to metabolize the alcohol in your system. It’s just substituting one type of distress for another.

Hangover “pills.” Nope, no such thing. At best you’re paying an inflated price for some vitamins. Save your money.

The best cure? The obvious one: Don’t get so stinkin’ drunk in the first place.

A guaranteed hangover-free way to indulge and have fun on New Year’s Eve is to join us here online for the Communities at Washington Times Virtual New Year’s Eve Party.  We get things started at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. Participate in our live commentary on New Year’s Eve celebrations from coast to coast, share your resolutions and your look ahead at 2012. Stay off the roads, stay safe and enjoy our nationwide celebration!

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities at” when quoting from or linking to this story.  


Copyright © 2011 by Falcon Valley Group

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.


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