Alcohol is a known appetite-stimulant and frequently causes us to overeat because it also lowers our inhibitions. Just a few drinks — especially those mixed with sugary fruit drinks or soda — can cause a serious insulin spike, resulting in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Yes, even healthy people can experience low blood sugar with alcohol consumption. Just a little bit of alcohol (more than two or three glasses per week for women, or four or five for men) lowers leptin and raises cortisol. This double whammy leads to disturbed sleep, night waking, and those signature cravings for greasy hangover foods the next day.
“Over time, chronic alcohol abuse can reduce the body’s responsiveness to insulin and cause sensitivity to sugar, in both healthy individuals and alcoholics with liver cirrhosis” Natasha Turner, N.D
A high percentage of patients with alcoholic liver disease are glucose-intolerant or diabetic. We often crave satisfying, fatty, carbohydrate-laden foods after drinking because the alcohol affects our normal blood-sugar balance. Also keep in mind that many people experience harsher hangovers because they consume alcohol mixed in sugary drinks like colas and other sodas. Soda water is a better choice for mix, instead of tonic or other types of pop that are high in sugar.
B Vitamins are necessary for the proper breakdown and elimination of alcohol in the body.
It’s helpful to take a B-complex supplement before drinking for hangover prevention, as well as when you come home, or first thing the next day to replenish lost Bs from drinking. If you can find a B-complex with Vitamin C, even better. Vitamin C is an antioxidant. Alcohol depresses your immune system, leaving you wide open to colds and other viruses. As alcohol metabolizes and our body detoxifies itself, a substantial number of free radicals are released into our body. Vitamin C’s antioxidant qualities help fight free radicals in our body and generally alleviates headaches.
3. Love your liver
It’s no surprise that alcohol places additional stress on the liver. Supplements that are useful in improving liver function include vitamin C and milk thistle.
Lemon water also serves as a liver detoxifier. Replenishing your liquids is a must when experiencing a hangover, and when adding fresh lemon juice, you are helping your liver rid the body of accumulated toxins. Add a tablespoon of raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar for a much needed electrolyte boost as well.
Ginger is well known for its natural ability to ease nausea, which is why your mother gave you ginger ale as a child when you had the flu. However, when it comes to hangovers, you should opt for pure ginger root. You can purchase ginger tea at any health food store, or even make your own. Simply cut 10 to 12 slices of fresh ginger root and combine it in a pot with four cups of water. Boil for 10 minutes then strain. Drink it as a tea a few times a day.
5. Sweat it out
Sit in a sauna or go for a run. Yep. Sweat it out. Sounds awful – but it works. Exercising will boost your endorphins, helping you to get out of the black mood your hangover has thrown you into. Be sure to replenish the body with plenty of fluids.
Eat apples and bananas! Apples and bananas contain nutrients that will eliminate your headache and restore minerals lost during your wild night out. In particular, these two fruits are excellent for regaining potassium. And of course, rest. Give your body some time to chill, and bring itself back to balance.
Adapted from an article written by Natasha Turner, N.D