I'm not gonna lie: The title of this post is a little misleading, because the truth of the matter is there aren't any hangover cures that really work quite as well as just not drinking too much in the first place. According to a study from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, there is no miracle fix when it comes to ridding your body of the toxins in alcohol, and other than getting lots of rest the next day, there's not a ton anyone can really do to feel significantly better.
However, the reality of human existence is that we're going to overindulge on occasion (or, if it's around the holidays, on likely several occasions), and most of us are unfortunately going to have to deal with the inevitable hangover. It happens. The good(ish) news is that while there aren't any magic pills to instantly cure you, there are definitely some things that won't make your hangover worse or make you feel any lousier than you already do, and for a lot of us, that's still well worth it.
I'm not actually a huge drinker, which in general bodes well for my hangover status (as well as my wallet). The thing is, this also means my tolerance for alcohol is pretty low, so when I do drink it's incredibly easy to overindulge and feel like a human slug the next day — and sometimes it's a day when I have actual necessary things to do aka go to work. So in the spirit of trying to get through this together, here are seven hacks for easing a hangover.
1. Eat Protein
In an article for Shape, Torey Jones Armul, M.S., R.D., and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said you should focus on eating protein the day before a big night out, as “some research suggests that eating a protein-rich meal before drinking is best for controlling blood alcohol levels." Armul said to also pack a snack that day so you'll definitely have something to eat before you head out the door or even while you're drinking later that night, and she specifically recommended almonds or trail mix.
2. Don't Go For The Fried Foods
In an article for MindGreenBody, nutritionist and wellness coach Jessica Sepel recommended not going for the fried foods the next morning, as traditional wisdom has told us. She instead suggested eating foods that are satiating, but ultimately healthy. "Enjoy your protein and good fats: eggs, avocado and spinach are fabulous breakfast choices," Sepel said.
3. Drink Coconut Water
We've all heard that sugary sports drinks are super helpful for getting over a hangover because they provide both hydration and replenish your body of minerals. However, according to health writer James Madeiros on The Healthy Drinker, coconut water is the far better option, as it provides the same hydration and minerals with far less unnecessary sugar. So stock your fridge before a night out.
4. Take Vitamin B
Sepel noted that alcohol depletes the body of vitamins, and B vitamins specifically help the liver to detox our system. "I take 1-2 B-complex vitamins daily after drinking. This can work wonders," she said.
5. Keep The Tylenol Handy
Tylenol Pain Reliever and Fever Reducer, $6.99, Target
In an article in Fitness Magazine that compiled the top reader's tips for combatting hangovers, taking two Tylenol right when you wake up (or can keep them down) was one of the most popular, as well as simplest tips. Just keep the bottle easily accessible and down it with some of that coconut water — you should feel significantly better soon.
6. Preventative Drinks
Fitness Magazine also recommended preventative pills and drinks that contain herbs, vitamins, and several other ingredients that allegedly help prevent a next-day hangover. While the jury is out on just how effective these products are, registered dietician Bianca Peyvan said, "Studies have shown that vitamin C, along with B vitamins can combine with certain amino acids and glucose and help your body generate glutathione (a powerful antioxidant and cellular tripeptide that helps the body rid itself of alcohol's toxins)," so there is a possibility they can help you feel better faster.
7. Schedule Your Hangover
In a piece on First We Feast, over-indulger extraordinaire Anthony Bourdain provided us with what is perhaps the best tip of all: Schedule your hangover. You know you're going to go out hard, so don't plan a 9 a.m. brunch with your great aunt or commit to run the information booth at your office's annual pie-o-thon the next day. If at all possible, just allow yourself to sleep it off and get the recovery time your body is craving.
Hangovers suck, but they don't necessarily have to ruin your day. Try one or all of the above tips, and make sure you have your pain reliever and hydration source ready to go for the next morning, and you can at least minimize the effects of your wild night.