It’s the time of year when diets go out of the window, we go a little overboard with the free wine at the office party, and third helpings of your turkey dinner and Christmas pudding seem like such a great idea at the time. But then you’re left with the fallout when your body starts to hate you – that heavy, bloated, lethargic feeling which seems to take forever to get over. So how do you cure a hangover?
Instead of reaching for the Advil or Gaviscon, you need to give your body a break from chemicals and allow it to heal naturally. Detoxing happens when you cut down on inflammatory foods like alcohol, wheat and sugar, allowing your liver the chance to do its job and eliminate the toxins you’ve been throwing at it. Ingesting chemicals in the form of drugstore hangover solutions, therefore, might not be the best hangover cure. It takes approximately ten days to rid your body of the bad stuff, so here are ten natural ways to detox & cleanse and have you back to your best in no time.
1. Drink water
It’s the most obvious detox solution but also one of the most effective. Most hangovers occur because of dehydration and a drastic drop in blood sugar. Try drinking water in addition to the wine, beer and liquor as you go (easier said than done, we know) and always have a glass ready by your bed so it’s there when you wake up. The morning after, drink as much as you can, but don’t drown yourself – drinking too much water can be counterproductive because you’re giving your kidneys too much to process. Eight glasses (two liters) a day is the ‘norm,’ although you should aim for at least twelve glasses (three liters) if you want to really detox the body from alcohol. Also, peeing is one of the body’s ways of instantly expelling toxins, it’s a great kidney detox, so the more water you drink…
2. Get moving
Sweating is the body’s other way of immediately ejecting those horrible poisons you’ve been abusing it with. It might feel like the last thing you want to do when you wake up with a sore head and a craving for junk food, but if you can stave off the Burger Ogre (or at least power-walk to the diner…) then not only will it speed up your hangover detox, but you’ll also start releasing endorphins and seratonin – natural sedatives which will assuage your hangover symptoms and get your blood pumping properly.
3. Go to bed earlier
Of course, when you’re hungover, you’ll have no intention of ever getting out of bed, but it’s actually more productive to try and get up and move as much as you can during the day, but then make sure to go to bed one or two hours earlier than normal. It’s not the quantity of time you spend resting, it’s the quality, so lying in bed all day feeling sorry for yourself will actually prolong your agony. Get up, try and make it through the day (with the other suggestions here) then retire early for some quality zeds.
4. Using diet to detox
It’s not just water which can save you from the post-party blues. Before the celebrations start, make sure your cupboards and fridge are stocked full of natural, energy-boosting foods which will do so much more than tablets and tinctures. Nuts, seeds, green vegetables and fresh fruit might not sound as enticing as a Big Mac & Fries, but they’re going to make you feel better, faster, and you won’t be piling on the pounds either. Try mixing up some bowls of chopped veg, fruit and nuts before you go out so that, when the hangover hits, your cure is waiting there ready to go. It’s also important to know what foods to avoid during your recovery. That perennial hangover favorite, coffee, is actually the worst thing you can drink. Caffeine merely masks the symptoms of your hangover, it doesn’t cure it, and coffee is also a diuretic, which means it inhibits your kidney’s ability to absorb sodium, which you desperately need for your recovery. Other things to avoid include milk (lactose is not your friend) and carbonated drinks, because anything fizzy will just make you feel more bloated.
5. Have a berry, berry Christmas
You’re probably tired of hearing about so-called ‘superfoods,’ but there’s a reason why they’re so popular. Berries, in particular, are proven antioxidants and anti-inflammatories and can really work wonders when it comes to fighting that upset stomach, headache and dizziness. Acai (pronounced ah-SYE-ee) berries, in particular, are kick-ass warriors when it comes to body detox and post-hangover revivals – they’re nature’s very own energy shots, ten times more powerful than cranberries. They’re rich in vitamins B and C, they relax the blood vessels (allowing better circulation) and they’re high in dietary fiber, which is essential for flushing out the digestive system. So if you’re clever this holiday season, you’ll stock up on acai berries and have a ton of them in the fridge awaiting your eager consumption some time around 26th December…
6. Kick start your cleanse with a natural supplement
If you really need a helping hand with your post-party detox, look into boosting your plan with a natural hangover pill which won’t put any extra strain on your already-overstretched organs. Something like Rock On Detox is packed full of instant energy revivers, cleansers and essential herbal extracts, all designed to work together to combat your symptoms and banish the blues. The key ingredients include ginger root, which is medically proven to calm upset stomachs and vertigo; slippery elm bark, an anti-emetic to help with nausea; black walnut, which heals inflamed tissue; chlorella, a very popular green algae which is a natural probiotic and helps regulate glucose levels; and lycopene, the red pigment in red fruits, particularly prevalent in tomatoes, which is a very powerful antioxidant. Rock On Detox also includes a giant helping of those magic acai berries, making it the perfect home remedy for liver detox.
7. Get educated
Knowing how your body actually works and how different foods can affect it means you’ll be more in control not only when it comes to detoxing and cleansing, but also looking after yourself long term. Look at it this way; if you had a loaded gun in your hand, you wouldn’t put it to your head and pull the trigger, yet so many of us play Russian Roulette with our diets because we don’t have a clue what the bullets look like. Knowing that your kidneys clean the blood and produce urine means it makes sense to avoid foods which inhibit this, like caffeine, artificial sweeteners and too much salt. Your liver expels toxins and makes proteins, so to keep it healthy you need to avoid excess alcohol (d’oh!,) white flour, added sugar, and processed and convenience foods (sorry, McHangover fans!.)
Still a ‘suspicious’ activity to many, acupuncture has nevertheless been practiced for centuries by those in the know, and the science behind it is simple. You know how sometimes you can lift your arm and your big toe starts to throb, or you turn your legs in your chair and you feel your neck muscle respond? Well that’s because all our nerves are linked and they have certain pressure points which can invoke reactions in places well away from the place being touched. Acupuncture works in a similar way, in that ultra-thin needles are placed into known pressure points on the body, to stimulate other areas which are known to be linked together by our neuro-superhighway. By opening up certain areas of the body, blood can flow more freely and our energy levels are instantly boosted. OK, so you might not want to book in for a session after ten hours on the beer, but regular acupuncture sessions can help prevent hangovers by keeping your energy flowing uninterrupted – and great energy equals a milder hangover.
A couple of days into your detox, think about fasting for a while. This doesn’t mean not eating, period, it just means replacing your solid meals with nutrient-rich juice replacements. Blending up a superfood smoothie three times a day and taking it with a natural supplement (Rock On Detox is ideal,) means you’ll be completely flushing out your system at the same time as maintaining an optimum nutrient level and allowing your body time to heal.
10. Learn the value of rest, silence and ‘me time’
It’s not just your liver that will need to regenerate after the holidays are over, it’s your brain, too. All that partying has sent your mind on a mental rampage of noise, distraction and disturbance, so now it needs a dark room in which to lie down and reclaim its sanity. Even ten minutes a day spent alone and without distraction is all you need to give your brain the required space to recoup energy, renew those little gray cells and start functioning in the way it was designed to. Even if you run a busy family or have a demanding job which means you’re back at your desk before Santa’s even got his boots off, it’s important to stop and regroup every few hours to let your brain catch up with the party rollercoaster your body’s been riding.
Rock Life at www.werocklife.com