We all know that the best way to prevent a hangover is to drink in moderation. But sometimes we skip dinner, go straight to happy hour, forget to hydrate, or celebrate that new promotion a little too enthusiastically. And that's OK, because we're human. Luckily, we have resilient bodies that will deal with that extra alcohol while sending us some clear signals that we overdid it the night before, so we're less likely to do it again.
Some of the classic signs? Headaches, nausea, fatigue, and stomach upset—which are all no fun. We scoured the internet for the best science-backed, all-natural hangover remedies. Try these out, and we have a feeling you'll be back on your feet in no time:
1. Hot-to-cold showering:
Hydrotherapy is one of the most underrated alternative therapies. According to Michele Conigliaro, a yoga teacher and detox expert, alternating between hot and cold every 30 seconds while you're in the shower "improves elimination, decreases inflammation, stimulates circulation, and helps remove waste from tissues." Hydrotherapy has been used for years to treat a wide range of ailments—including pain and fatigue—and may even stimulate the immune system, as some studies have shown that cold showering can reduce sick days.
When you drink alcohol, your liver (with the help of some specific antioxidants and enzymes) breaks down the ethanol into a compound called acetaldehyde, which is classified as a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization. When there is more acetaldehyde in the body than normal, it causes a lot of the classic hangover symptoms. In other words: Hangovers aren't just due to dehydration. To counteract this buildup of acetaldehyde, we can turn to cysteine, which is one of the substances that help break down this compound in the body. Luckily, cysteine is present in eggs, which is why scrambled eggs are the perfect choice for breakfast.
3. N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC):
Speaking of antioxidants, you're going to want to stock up on them if you're feeling a little slow on Saturday or Sunday morning. NAC will help increase your body's glutathione levels, which is the "master antioxidant" and very important for the health of your liver. You can get NAC in supplement form, and it's also present in foods like garlic and cabbage. You could also use Glutathione, but it's important to get it from a good supplier so it doesn't degrade.
4. Dry brushing:
Dry brushing has long been used as a natural detoxification method, as it bumps up circulation and helps stimulate your body's largest organ, the skin, which plays a big role in detoxification. Dry brushing is the perfect remedy to use in combination with hot-to-cold showering. (Try this dry brush from Saje Natural Wellness.)
Everyone reacts to alcohol a little differently, but if you're someone who gets nauseated, ginger is the way to go. Studies have supported the idea that ginger can reduce feelings of nausea, so brew yourself some ginger tea and grate some fresh ginger on top for a little extra spice. Pro tip: It's even more delicious (and refreshing!) when served over ice.
6. Coconut water:
If you're hung over, you're likely dehydrated and also in need of electrolytes that were lost the night before. One of the best natural sources of electrolytes is coconut water, which contains the five electrolytes found in human blood and is low in sugar, unlike most sports drinks.
When we're hung over, we sometimes find ourselves asking the question: To caffeinate or not to caffeinate? The health world seems to be divided on this topic. Coffee is also a diuretic, so it has the potential to dehydrate you more. Other people say that coffee helps reduce swelling in your blood vessels, which can help soothe headaches. I think the best strategy here is to stick with your normal routine. If you're a coffee person, go for it, since refraining could even lead to a caffeine withdrawal headache. If you don't normally drink coffee, this probably isn't the time to start. Coffee can trigger anxiety, which is often already triggered the day after too much alcohol.
Magnesium is one of our favorite minerals and is affectionately known as the "relaxation mineral." Studies have shown that taking magnesium may help with the pressure and pain associated with headaches. Plus, alcohol can deplete the much-needed magnesium in your body. Try a magnesium supplement or one of these next-level Epsom salt baths to replenish your stores.
9. Ginger broth:
Alcohol is hard on the gut lining and your digestion in general. According to Dr. William Cole, an mbg class instructor and functional medicine expert, bone broth is the perfect gut-healing remedy: "Rich in collagen and a wide array of other nutrients, organic chicken or beef bone broth is a great tool to rebuild gut function from problems such as leaky gut syndrome, SIBO, and candida overgrowth." Pro tip: Add some fresh ginger to the broth for some anti-nausea plant medicine.
10. A workout:
This might not be what you want to hear, but according to mbg health expert and integrative medicine physician Dr. Eva Selhub, this isn't the time to skip a workout. Sweating will help you rid your body of toxins and release endorphins, which will help you feel better. Bear in mind, there's no need to hit a 6 a.m. spin class when you're not feeling well; just focus on working up a sweat at some point during the day.
To be proactive, try drinking a glass of water per every drink, and try to be aware of how much you're consuming.
Ever wonder how yogis recover from hangovers?
Gretchen Lidicker has a B.S. in biology and earned her master’s degree in physiology with a concentration in complementary and alternative medicine from Georgetown University. She's the author of CBD Oil Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Hemp-Derived Health and Wellness and Magnesium Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Epsom Salts, Magnesium Oil, and Nature's Relaxation Mineral. A Kripalu Center for Yoga and Ayurveda-trained yoga instructor, expert bread baker, and farmers market fanatic, she believes that no day is complete without a good dance party.