Hungover? Here are remedies that will, and won’t, help

What to do, eat to heal a hangover

Is your New Year’s Day off to a painful, groggy start after a few-too-many celebratory cocktails on New Year’s Eve?

Don’t fret: There are a number of things you can do to alleviate the discomfort. But of all of the hangover remedies out there that promise to cure you, which ones actually work, and which ones don’t?

We’re separating fact from fiction when it comes to hangover cures -- here’s what to know.

Hangover don’ts

Don’t drink pickle juice. Social media posts are encouraging this practice in an effort to replace electrolytes. However, pickle juice is packed with sodium and can cause swelling, bloating, gas and stomach pain.

Don’t drink coffee. A cup of Joe can actually make you feel worse, amplifying the symptoms of your hangover. The caffeine alone narrows blood vessels and raises blood pressure, so it could make your hangover headache even worse. Coffee is also a diuretic that can cause you to use the bathroom more frequently, and slow down your rehydration process, experts say.

Don’t consume raw eggs. Though raw eggs have B vitamins, which are important for metabolizing alcohol, the amount in just a few eggs isn’t enough to make a difference.

Don’t eat a greasy breakfast. A meal made with grease will likely upset your stomach even more. High-fat foods and meals are not the answer to a hangover.

Don’t take the hair of the dog. This common, but misguided, hangover “cure” consists of drinking more alcohol to alleviate hangover symptoms. However, drinking more alcohol only perpetuates the hangover cycle, and doesn’t allow the body to recover. It will only cause more pain down the road.

Hangover dos

Drink fluids. Alcohol prompts frequent urination and can lead to dehydration. If your hangover includes diarrhea, sweating, or vomiting, you may be even more dehydrated. Drinking water and rehydrating your body can help ease the hangover.

Do eat potassium-rich fruits. Fruit like bananas, oranges, apricots and grapefruits are full of potassium, and will replenish depleted electrolytes.

Do consume ginger or ginger ale. Studies have shown that ginger, and even ginger ale, are great anti-sickness remedies.

Do eat some carbs. Experts say consuming carbohydrates can help your body’s blood sugar levels return to normal after excessive drinking.

Take a cold dip. Although extreme, dunking your head in ice water can help relieve some symptoms. Cold receptors in the skin trigger a response in the brain that slows down the heart and diverts blood back to the brain.

Do take vitamins. Particularly B vitamins and zinc. Studies have shown that these vitamins can contribute to less-severe hangovers.

Do take a pain reliever -- especially the night before. While it may be too late to get a jump start on that one, taking a pain relieving medication like Aspirin, ibuprofen, or other NSAID can help alleviate your aches and pains. Go easy, though, since NSAIDs can irritate your stomach, especially if your stomach is already irritated from the alcohol. Experts say to not take acetaminophen or Tylenol, however.

If really needed, drink coffee or tea. While coffee can exacerbate hangover symptoms, if your body is used to a daily dose of coffee, you could experience a headache or withdrawal symptoms from a lack of caffeine. The caffeine can also help ease grogginess when you’re hungover. Tea may be the better choice, though: Some research shows ingredients in tea, especially green tea, might actually help cure a hangover. Tea also contains caffeine, but less caffeine than coffee, so any effects won’t be as severe.

About the Authors

Jason is Local 4’s utility infielder. In addition to anchoring the morning newscast, he often reports on a variety of stories from the tragic, like the shootings at Michigan State, to the off-beat, like great gas station food.

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.

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