It’s New Year’s Day, your head and stomach ache and you want to begin the year on the couch….you officially have a hangover. You’re not alone. There’s a lot of people out there that will be feeling this way. Of course, not drinking is a sure fire way to avoid a hangover but if you want to enjoy some cocktails on New Year’s Eve, here are some tips and information to help you prevent that nasty hangover.

Experts know little about the actual causes of a hangover. Theories range from alcohol disrupting biological rhythms to alcohol withdrawal as the culprit. Research suggests that impurities produced when alcohol is distilled can make you feel nauseous. It’s thought that the sweeter the drink, the higher the level of impurities. Malt liquors and red wine are major culprits. That headache? It may come from dehydration (alcohol is a diuretic) and your body’s adjustment to your dropping blood alcohol levels after you’ve stopped drinking. Besides obvious choice of not drinking, there’s one proven cure: Time. It takes 8 to 24 hours for symptoms to disappear.

In the meantime, try these simple, natural ways to avoid the pain, or to deal with headaches, nausea, and general yuckiness the day after:

Keep up on your water intake. It’s important to stay hydrated while you’re drinking alcohol. That means drinking plenty of water between cocktails. If you forget this rule, drink up the next morning to rehydrate and flush the impurities from your system.

Drink other fluids, too. Remember: Water isn’t enough. You need to drink electrolyte-rich fluids, too — like sports drinks, coconut water, or bouillon soup — that can restore the salt and potassium you’ve lost. Pedialyte is an excellent choice for this, as well.

Go greasy. One longstanding folk remedy is to take a spoonful of olive oil before a party. Some people swear by it. Eating a pizza or other fatty food can have the same effect. This is said to grease the intestines so the alcohol takes longer to absorb into your system.

Consume sugar while you’re drinking. Studies have show that fructose may speed alcohol metabolism, thereby reducing the chance of a hangover. It’s important to eat sugar while you’re drinking, not before, since fructose digests quickly. Try plain orange juice between cocktails.

Fill up the morning after. Eat breakfast. Electrolytes in food help replenish a dehydrated system and get calories back into your body. You may be craving that fatty dish but go easy. While a greasy meal before drinking may help, a hangover needs foods that are easier to digest, like toast and cereal.

Eat some ginger. People have taken ginger for centuries to reduce nausea and vomiting. You could try nibbling crystallized ginger in the aftermath of a night of drinking. The National Institutes of Health reveal early research that consuming a combination of ginger, tangerine pith, and brown sugar before drinking can decreases nausea and vomiting.

Try prickly pear cactus. While it’s still being tested, one study has shown that taking 1,600 IU of prickly pear extract five hours before drinking reduced the risk for a severe hangover by 50 percent. You should be able to find it at your local drugstore, grocery store or online.

Head back to bed. A hangover isn’t caused by lack of sleep, but it definitely doesn’t help matters . Take a nice nap the day after:  It’s the body’s way of healing itself.

Between snoozes, rehydrate and restore with this globally used recipe from 500 Time-Tested Home Remedies and the Science Behind Them. It returns starch, sugar, sodium, and potassium to your depleted system.

  • Stir 1 teaspoon of salt and 8 teaspoons of sugar into 5 cups of distilled water.
  • Whisk in ½ cup orange juice or ¼ cup mashed banana.
  • Sip the mixture slowly throughout the day, storing it in a cool place. It’s good for 24 hours.

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Cheers and a Happy New Year!

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