The best way to prevent a hangover is, of course, drinking in moderation or abstaining from alcohol. But keeping yourself well-hydrated and well-nourished when you're drinking can go a long way toward minimizing the morning-after symptoms. Try drinking a glass of water or other noncaffeinated beverage for each alcoholic beverage you drink. And don't drink on an empty stomach. Food helps slow the absorption of alcohol, giving your body time to metabolize it and decreasing the chances of a hangover.
The best cure for a hangover: time. Of course, people ignore the prevention and don't have "time" for the cure. So, here are some remedies to ease the suffering for those who have had one drink too many.
Home Remedies from the Counter
Banana. Bananas are your best friend! While you were drunk and peeing like a racehorse, lots of potassium drained from your body. Eating a banana bursting with potassium will give you some giddy-up and go. All you have to do is peel and eat.
Home Remedies from the Cupboard
Ginger root. Ginger has long been used to treat nausea and seasickness. And, since having a hangover is much like being seasick, this easy remedy works wonders. If you're really green, the best bet is to drink ginger ale (no preparation required). If you can remain vertical for ten minutes, brew some ginger tea. Cut 10 to 12 slices of fresh ginger root and combine with 4 cups water. Boil for ten minutes. Strain and add the juice of 1 orange, the juice of 1/2 lemon, and 1/2 cup honey. Drink to your relief.
Honey and Lemon. The classic hot toddy (nonalcoholic, of course) is honey, lemon, and hot water. Easy to swallow, this beverage replenishes fluids and sugars lost to a hangover. It is vital, however, to use honey instead of white sugar. Honey contains fructose, which competes for the metabolism of alcohol. Some healthy competition is needed, since it prevents the rapid change in alcohol levels that results in headaches. Plain sugar contains sucrose, which isn't absorbed as quickly. To make a toddy, boil 1 cup water and mix in honey and lemon juice to taste. Enjoy a toddy several times a day.
Rice, Soup, or Toast. Food is probably the last thing you want to look at while recovering, but you do need some substance for energy. Stay with clear liquids until you can tolerate something solid. Then start off slowly with mild, easy-to-digest foods such as plain toast, rice, or clear soup.
Sports drinks. These are a good way to replace fluids as well as electrolytes and glucose.
Home Remedies from the Freezer
Ice. Put an ice compress on your aching head. Place crushed iced in a plastic bag, wrap in a dry towel, and apply it to where it hurts. Or just rinse a washcloth under cold water, place it on your forehead, and rest.
Home Remedies from the Refrigerator
Juice. Juice, especially freshly squeezed orange juice, will help raise your blood sugar levels and help ease some of your hangover symptoms. However, if your stomach is upset, skip acidic juices such as orange juice and stick with apple juice instead.
Home Remedies from the Sink
Water. Next to time, drinking water is the best cure for a hangover. Dehydration does a doozy on your body and causes much of the discomfort associated with a hangover. Stick to water, be it tap, bottled, or carbonated. Drink more than 8 glasses a day while recovering.
More Do's and Don'ts
Drink to the night. If you can remember one thing while intoxicated, remember this: Guzzle plenty of water before going to bed. It will help nip dehydration, and you'll feel much better in the morning.
Stick to 1 drink (or less) per hour, and sip it slowly. One hour is about the time it takes for the average adult body to process an alcoholic beverage. One drink is a 5-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce beer, or 1.5 ounce of hard liquor.
Rest. Pull the shades down, unplug the telephone, and go to sleep.
Never drink and drive.
Try Pepto-Bismol or an antacid to relieve queasiness and settle your stomach.
Take a multivitamin with B vitamins to replace those lost during your night of carousing.
These natural home remedies should get you back on your feet after a night of over-indulgence. With a little tender loving care, you should be all better in no time.