By Molly Kimball
Yes, we can all put our hands up and say we've been there. We're inflamed, sleep deprived, and dehydrated. And not only is alcohol a diuretic, it's also metabolized into toxic byproducts that leave us feeling rotten. Excessive alcohol causes blood sugar levels to drop and interferes with the body's natural electrolyte balance. And even if you do get in an early night, a night of drinking can disrupt your level of deep sleep.
Add the below items to your kitchen cupboard and you will help speed up the process of feeling normal after a hangover kicks in.
1. Apple cider vinegar. Start your morning with 1 or 2 ounces of apple cider vinegar, diluted with 6 to 8 ounces of warm water. The vinegar has a natural diuretic effect that can help combat morning-after fluid retention, and it can help to stabilize blood sugar levels, which can be shaky after a night of drinking.
2. Green tea. A bit of caffeine may help improve headache symptoms; try mixing green tea (instead of water) with apple cider vinegar to get the benefits of both. You can also use flavored green tea - think berry blend or ginger mint green tea - which can help with the flavor of the apple cider vinegar, at least a tiny bit.
3. Beet juice + green juice. I know. Beet juice is quite possibly the very last thing on your list when you're trying to recover from over-drinking. But here's the science behind it: Beet juice helps to increase and improve blood flow and oxygenation throughout our muscle and tissues, which can help us feel better all-around. And green juice (think juiced spinach and kale) is rich in compounds that help support our body's natural detoxification processes. And both beet juice and green juice are alkalizing, helping to neutralize our body's acidity after a night of drinking.
4. Add electrolyte-rich fluids. Hydration is a must. But sugary sports drinks are not. Replace fluids and electrolytes simultaneously with low-sugar water bottle add-ins like nuun tablets, rich in electrolytes sodium, potassium and magnesium. Sparkling mineral water, coconut water and unsweetened chocolate or vanilla almond milk are also good sources of electrolyte-rich fluids with zero added sugar.
5. B Vitamins. Alcohol depletes B vitamins, so consider adding a B Complex supplement - or add a drink packet like Emergen-C to your water bottle - to help replenish lost nutrients. Note that most varieties of Emergen-C are not rich in electrolytes (they're mostly B vitamins with some vitamin C) so you'll want to be sure to get electrolytes separately from food or drink.
6. Eggs. This is a good source of the amino acid cysteine, which helps to break down some of the toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism thought to contribute to hangovers. Eggs are also a great source of protein and fats that can help to stabilize blood sugar levels - a much better start to our day than sugary cereal or pancakes with syrup.
7. Protein smoothie. Get fluids, electrolytes, and protein all in one in a smoothie made with unsweetened almond milk, fresh or frozen fruit (frozen works especially well in smoothies), and a source of protein - think a scoop of protein powder, carton of low-sugar Greek yogurt, or half a cup of cottage cheese (don't worry, it'll blend smoothly - you won't have a clumpy protein shake).
8. Get moving. Exercise is probably the last thing you feel like doing - well, maybe second-to-last after drinking beet juice - but I promise, it will help. Even a brisk walk will help to increase circulation, bringing more blood and oxygen to the brain and muscles, helping to offset hangover symptoms like headaches and achy muscles. And sweating it out is one of the best natural ways to detoxify our bodies.
We've teamed up with nutritionist and dietitian Molly Kimball on a Health & Wellness blog series.
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Molly Kimball is a registered dietitian in New Orleans. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on social media at: facebook.com/mollykimballrd, Twitter: twitter.com/mollykimballrd, and Instagram: instagram.com/mollykimballrd