Enjoying summer parties, night outs or evening parties with friends and family can be fun, but dealing with the side effects, also called hangovers, is far from exciting. No wonder the quest for finding hangover cures has been on for ages. Weird drinks and foods have been said to make you feel better including owl eggs, sheep eyes, and unconventional herbs. But, do they really work? Today we take a look at some of the myths of hangover cures.
Myth 1: Drinking Milk Before Taking Alcohol
It’s a common belief that taking a glass of milk before a heavy night out helps to ‘line the stomach’, thus reducing the effects of alcohol. Biologically, it’s not possible to ‘line your stomach’. The truth of the matter is that around 70 percent of alcohol is absorbed through the intestines while the rest is absorbed in the stomach. Instead of milk, try taking any food containing carbohydrates, fats or protein to slow down stomach emptying. In return, this modestly slows down alcohol absorption in the stomach.
Myth 2: Waking Up to More Alcohol
If you’ve ever heard the term ‘hair of the dog’, then you know how many people actually believe drinking more alcohol makes you feel better. First, alcohol irritates the stomach and intestines causing nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Secondly, alcohol is mainly ethanol, a chemical that’s diuretic. This means that you’ll urinate more than normal which leaves you dehydrated. So, the adage ‘beat booze with more booze’ only makes the situation worse. Drink plenty of water instead, especially before going to bed. Keep a glass of water next to your bed in case you wake up at night and keep hydrating throughout the next day.
Myth 3: Greasy Food
Craving for fries, pizza or other greasy foods? You risk irritating the stomach and intestines even more. After a night out, your stomach is already abused and adding greasy food to the weak stomach will give you heartburns or cause indigestion. Start your day with fresh fruits such as bananas or kiwi to replenish the lost potassium, which you lose when you drink alcohol. An important tip is to eat a healthy food containing fats which are slowly digested by our bodies.
Myth 4: Drinking Coffee
While a cup of coffee may make you more alert, it doesn’t reduce dizziness caused by alcohol. Caffeine is a stimulant but also a diuretic which when combined with alcohol, will only leave you more dehydrated. Coffee is also said to reduce headaches by constricting your blood vessels which were dilated while drinking alcohol. Don’t drink more than one cup of coffee, instead stick to water the rest of the day to keep your body hydrated.
Myth 5: Herbal Remedies
With the countless herbal cures out there, it’s easy to get tempted into trying them out. Take milk thistle for example. It has been claimed to offer a cure for a hangover. Unfortunately, there’s no scientific evidence pointing to how milk thistle acts as a hangover remedy. On the contrary, this herb can lead to stomach upsets and unpleasant side effects. The same goes for anti-hangover pills.
Myth 6: Water and Sports Drinks
Your body loses electrolytes such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium in addition to losing body fluids. Some sports drinks will replenish the lost electrolytes and as well as aid in rehydration.
However, there isn’t enough scientific proof showing that sports drinks help to cure hangovers. Keep in mind that sports drinks with caffeine are to be avoided as they will cause dehydration. A good source of electrolytes is food such as bananas and dates for potassium, dairy products for magnesium, nuts, and cereals for magnesium.
The best way to use water to deter hangover is to take a glass of water in between your cocktails to stay hydrated.
Myth 7: Exercising
The side effects of taking alcohol include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and even vomiting. As you can tell, engaging in physical workouts may not be possible in such situations. Plus, your body is already dehydrated and exercising will lead to sweating and further dehydration.
The ideal option is to wait for the ‘poison’ to get out of your body before hitting the gym again or going for a run. Alternatively, you can opt for a light exercise like a stroll. Avoid rigorous exercises until you’re fully recovered.
The Take Home Message
Despite everything you might have read online, there’s no real cure for hangovers. Luckily, there are healthier foods and fruits that can help improve blood sugar levels, replenish lost electrolytes and rehydrate your body. Eating well and taking plenty of water will do wonders for your hangover. Plus, you don’t have to go looking for those crazy myths claiming to cure hangovers.
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