If you had one too many Irish whiskeys, green beers or glasses of Merlot last night, this post is for you!  Did you know that dark liquor or heavier beer (read Guinness) can give you a worse hangover than lighter alcohol?  Or that drinking when dehydrated or on an empty stomach increases alcohol absorption?  You’re not alone.  If you’re feeling the pain today, here are a few simple cures for you:

For nausea:

Ginger tea or peppermint.  Ginger has been used for centuries as a natural nausea cure.  It’s not just for morning sickness!  Try ginger tea, ginger ale or non-alcoholic ginger beer to calm your stomach.  Peppermint oil relaxes stomach muscles and can have a soothing effect.  Peppermint oil is often used with IBS, but should be avoided in those with reflux, as it lowers esophageal sphincter pressure.  The sugar in peppermint candy will raise blood sugar, too for energy.

For energy:

Toast or crackers.  Normally when blood sugar is low, your liver kicks in to release sugar from glycogen (stored glucose).  But if it’s been metabolizing alcohol all night, it can’t handle the extra work.  Toast, crackers, bread or any other carbohydrates will bring your blood sugar up and return your energy.

For headaches:

Water, water, water.  It’s a known fact that alcohol is a diuretic- meaning it will make you pee most of the night, resulting in dehydration and headache.  If you can, drink at least 2 glasses before going to bed the night before.  If not, start drinking as soon as you wake up.   You CAN over-hydrate yourself- resulting in hyponatremia (low blood sodium) and brain edema.  3 liters/day is plenty for most people.  Seltzer or other fizzy water is a good option for an upset stomach.

Coffee.  If you’re a regular consumer of coffee, you’ll need it to prevent a headache.  But overdoing it can make you jittery or cause stomach upset.  Enjoy your usual 1-2 cups, but continue to hydrate throughout the day.

Pain meds.  Stick with aspirin, Naproxen or ibuprofen for your hangover headache.  Tylenol mixed with alcohol can lead to liver damage.  Always take  non-steroidal drugs with food if possible as they can eat up your stomach lining over time.

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