How to Fight A Hangover

For lots of people, Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras was a huge day of celebrations. To make sure that your hangover after a night of wild fun is not as wild as your memories, here are a few things to take note of. 

We still don't really know why we get hangovers, although there are several theories. One says that the dehydrating effect of the alcohol thickens our blood, which irritates the brain and causes headaches. Another theory blames acetaldehyde. This cytotoxin is produced during alcohol metabolism and causes nausea. Yet another theory says that the mineral deficiency after drinking causes headaches and body aches.

Regardless of why we hurt, there are several home remedies that ensure a not-so-bad-hangover as well as its quick disappearance. Here are our "dos and don'ts" for hangovers.

Be Careful With Medication

If you take aspirin, then take it at bedtime. It is a burden for the stomach and can increase nausea the next day.

Do not use paracetamol. This drug is metabolized by the liver, which is already busy with the alcohol. At worst, irreversible liver damage can be the result of taking this drug.

Use Peppermint Oil & Cold Compresses to Fight Headaches 

Peppermint oil is as effective as taking medicine when it comes to fighting headaches, and it is not hard for the body to take in. Take a few drops of peppermint oil and massage it into the forehead and temples. You'll start to feel the effect after about 15 minutes.

Effective pain control can also be managed with a bag of ice or a cold washcloth . The cold causes the blood vessels to contract, and the pain subsides.

Drink Lots of  Water

Alcohol has a dehydrating effect. So, remember to drink a glass of water every once in awhile while you are celebrating. The next day, you'll also need to drink more fluids. Quench your thirst with water or diluted fruit juices. Still mineral water is the best solution as it begins to replace your alcohol-induced mineral deficiency.

Carbonated beverages should be avoided the day after partying because they irritate the already-sensitive stomach.

Food Helps - Before and After

The right base makes a big difference before going out. Eat fatty foods before you start celebrating as they decrease the rate that alcohol can be absorbed.

During the celebration, salty snacks are good. This slows the rate that your mineral amounts decrease.

The next day, eat vegetable stew and fresh fruit. The fructose contained in fruit promotes alcohol metabolism.

Hearty meals should be avoided, because the liver is still busy with the fats and alcohols from the day before.

Under no circumstances should you eat sweets before, during or after your celebrations. Normal sugar enhances the effects of alcohol and stimulates the production of alcohol breakdown products, resulting in headaches.

Fight Fire with Fire?

Many swear by the "hair of the dog" method of fighting alcohol with alcohol. The famous beer breakfast is in fact counterproductive. You feel better because the new alcohol widens the blood vessels, thus reducing your headache.However, once this quick cure is gone, your body just has more alcohol to break down.

A walk is a much better idea. Exercise in fresh air stimulates the circulation, which causes blood vessels to dilate and accelerates recovery.

To Mix or Not to Mix

Drinking many different varieties of alcohols guarantees a headache. Beer contains a different type of alcohol than wine, for example. The more different alcohols you ingest, the more toxic they are. So stick to one type of beverage.

Finally, a tip: nicotine distorts your sense how drunk you already are because it lowers the blood alcohol levels. This increases the risk of drinking too much. So if you're a social smoker try to keep your cigarette count in check. This will make for a much happier day after!