To understand what happens in your body when you drink, consider this: since alcohol is a diuretic, it causes massive dehydration in your body, causing you to feel sick. It does this by suppressing a hormone that helps you to recycle water released by your kidneys.
When your body tries to digest alcohol, it needs to enlist help from B vitamins. And once your liver uses up its available B vitamin stores, the remainder needs to get pulled out of your blood stream.
When this happens, of course, the cells in your body become deprived of critical nutrients. This nutrient deprivation on a cellular level is what causes feelings of anxiety, shakiness, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and depression. Plus, the drop in blood sugar that results from drinking alcohol may worsen these symptoms.
Here’s what you should do before drinking:
Eating salty brines (think pickles), or drinking electrolyte-rich beverages (like coconut water) can help to replace electrolytes, which get depleted during drinking. Just make sure you’re already well hydrated before you fill up on salty-brine snacks.
Taking vitamin B complex, or eating more vitamin B from a natural food source (like hummus), can help to keep your B stores going strong to prevent hangover symptoms.
Eggs are a good source of the amino acid cysteine that helps to breakdown the toxins of alcohol. Try having a couple before going out.
Drinking a base like milk will help coat the stomach and slow the absorption of booze into your bloodstream.
Here’s what you should do during drinking:
Spend a little extra on your booze. The lower the quality, the more sugar there is in the alcohol.
Carbonation actually increases the amount of alcohol that gets to the bloodstream, so steer away from the fizzy drinks like champagne if you plan on drinking more than just a little.
Avoid eating sugary snacks and foods while drinking. Having cake, cookies and candies while drinking just adds more sugar to the equation--which adds depth to the hangover.
Watch out for other unhealthy cravings: The neurotransmitter galanin, which increases your appetite for fats, kicks into high gear when you drink alcohol. This is why fatty foods like cheeseburgers, pizza, and French Fries usually become appealing on the way home from the bar. But the more grease you eat, the worse you’ll feel the next day.
Here’s what you should do after drinking:
Eat vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, collards, kale, and brussel sprouts
Drink fresh vegetable juices including carrots, celery, cilantro, beets, parsley, and ginger
Drink herbal teas containing a mixture of burdock root, dandelion root, ginger root, licorice root, sarsaparilla root, cardamom seed, cinnamon bark and other herbs, as they all reduce hangover symptoms
Eat eggs, whey protein, garlic, and onions (they are all high quality sulfur-containing foods that can help rid your body of toxins)
Try engaging in light-to-moderate exercise, like going on a brisk walk or swim, to improe your blood flow and metabolism. This will help flush the toxins out of your system faster.
Be careful to avoid high-impact activities that might make you sweat a lot, since you’ll need to avoid dehydration while your body recovers from drinking.