Natural ways to ease a hangover

The last thing you need on your list this festive season is a dreaded hangover. 

Sydney naturopath Rebecca Warren divulges her top natural ways to nurture the body after an evening of overindulgence.

Load up on a liquid breakfast

While it’s tempting to opt for a greasy breakfast, you’ll get the best start by choosing nutrient density over energy density.

“Green smoothies and veggie juices can be really helpful because they’re loaded with B vitamins and vitamin C, and they also assist with rehydration,” Rebecca says.

And because they’re liquids, they’ll be gentler on the gut and digestive system.

“Your body has already been working super hard to detoxify the alcohol so you don’t want to make it work even harder to deal with all the grease from a big fry-up,” she says.

Water first, coffee second

Water is your best alcohol-pairing friend, and it becomes an even more important sidekick the morning after a big night.

“Keep a water bottle at your bedside, so if you’re feeling lousy when you wake up you can start the rehydration process without having to get out of bed,” says Rebecca.

While you don’t need to avoid coffee, be mindful it’s not going to help you rehydrate.

“The caffeine will go straight to your adrenal glands and push your body more than it needs,” she says.

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Stop for a spot of tea

Feeling queasy? Schedule in a tea break.

Make up a batch of dandelion root chai tea to promote gentle detoxification.

“Queasiness is generally caused when the liver isn’t able to keep up with the extra toxins, which end up hanging around in circulation instead of being passed out of the body,” Rebecca says.

“Dandelion root increases bile production and flow, which then helps our bodies bind up toxins and get them out.”

Add milk

A helpful herb to add to your hangover toolkit is St Mary’s Thistle, also known as milk thistle.

The traditional herbal medicine can relieve indigestion and an upset stomach, as well as get your liver back on track.

“It helps the body deal with alcohol, protecting the liver cells and minimising the damage that can occur from drinking,” says Rebecca, who advises speaking to a health professional before supplementing.

Take some with your breakfast, and next time, also before you start drinking.

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Hit the good carbs

Go for good-quality wholegrain carbs such as toast, muesli or cereal when you’re finally feeling ready to tackle a meal.

“Wholegrain carbs help to stabilise our blood sugar levels, provide us with slow-burn energy and are a great source of fibre which helps refuel and revive the bacteria in our gut that would have taken a knock,” she says.

If you can stomach it, add good-quality fats and protein to your toast such as smoked salmon, avocado, eggs or haloumi.

Top hacks to avoid a hangover

Of course, you won’t need any of the above tips if you don’t get a hangover in the first place.

And while abstinence from alcohol is the only foolproof way to avoid a bout of post-party regret, there are some preventative measures you can take before and during drinking.

  • Know your limits: Factors outside of your control, such as age, sex, weight, metabolism, diet, medication and genetic predisposition, can make you more vulnerable to alcohol sensitivity and subsequent hangovers.
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach: There will be no food to slow down the process of alcohol entering your bloodstream.
  • Alternate drinks: One alcoholic beverage, then one glass of water. Repeat.
  • Boost your vitamin B: Alcohol depletes the body of vitamin B, so top up your intake with a supplement or Berocca before drinking.
  • Stay hydrated: Alcohol is a diuretic so it’s easy to become dehydrated, which can worsen your hangover. As well as alternating water with alcohol, have a glass before bed and keep a bottle of water at your bedside. A drink containing electrolytes, such as sports energy drink or coconut water, can also help rehydrate your body quickly.

Watch Jo Stanley go in search of those mysterious hangover hacks and whether they can actually save us from the pain of the next morning on House of Wellness TV:

Written by Jenna Meade and Charlotte Brundrett.