Health & Fitness

Hangover Hallelujahs

Scientific ResearchScienceHolidaysExercise PhysiologyDog (animal)

Head pounding, stomach churning, you open one eye and then the other. At this time, you ask yourself: What did I drink last night? Oh wait, as you remove the lampshade from your head, you remember: What didn't I drink last night? Happy Hangover!

Yes, 'tis the season for copious holiday parties, office happy hours and family gatherings. All of which provide ample opportunity for what one could diplomatically call "alcohol overindulgence." Fact is, holiday hangovers are as common as department store Santa's. What's more, everyone and his or her grandmother can offer you a sure-thing cure. But be careful: Some of these "traditional" remedies can cause you more harm than good.

Hangover 101

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand how hangovers happen. When you drink too much alcohol -- and what is too much is subjective in that it varies by your body size and metabolism, not by sheer volume -- your liver gets blitzkrieged and isn't able to rid your body of all the toxins you're consuming. This results in increased bathroom trips, a byproduct of which is dehydration. Once you start down that road, you're looking at a drink cart of other nasty hangover-induced ailments, such as headache, nausea, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea.

Besides the physical symptoms, hangovers can be a wrecking ball to your immune system, digestive track and sleep patterns.

Natural, Safe Remedies

First of all, the only real 100-percent cure for a hangover is this: don't drink alcohol. But that aside, researchers say common hangover-prevention practices, such as taking three aspirins or slurping down a plate of spaghetti before going to sleep, simply do not work. The effectiveness of an over-the-counter painkiller peaks in about four hours, so it will do little to help the morning train wreck. And eating pasta before bed will actually slow your body's absorption of the alcohol, prolonging the pain.

All is not lost. Here are 6 natural remedies that can tame the dog:

1. Start drinkingÂ…water, that is. Dehydration is the enemy, so drinking several glasses of water before bed will help lesson your hangover symptoms. 2. Replace your electrolytes by drinking tomato juice with a shot of lime juice and sugar. If don't have tomato juice, substitute another kind of fruit juice or even a sports drink such as Gatorade.

3. Alcohol can literally suck the vitamins from your body. Before going to bed, and after you wake up, take a strong B-complex vitamin. This will help with fight the fatigue, as well facilitate your energy recovery.

4. For centuries, Ginger has been used as a treatment for nausea and motion sickness. Drink a cup of ginger tea to soothe your stomach and help fight off some of the affects of the alcohol.

5. Draw a bath and add some wasabi root. Some of the toxins will leave your body through the skin, so soaking in a wasabi bath can help increase blood circulation, oxygenate the tissue and work to flush the alcohol much more quickly.

6. Did you know that wheatgrass is a natural detoxifier? Experts say the chlorophyll in wheatgrass helps with healing your intestinal system, balancing your body's PH and delivering powerful antioxidants and enzymes to support your body's health. Drink a glass at the end of the night for instant detoxifying and hydration, then again the morning after to further detox and energize.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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