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 can 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, poultry, pork, or peanuts), 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.
Have a balanced meal to stabilize your blood sugar.
Here’s what you can do during drinking:
Spend a little extra on your booze. The lower the quality, the more sugar there is in the alcohol, which may intensify your hangover.
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.
Have a glass of water between alcohol-containing beverages. This will help to keep you hydrated, and create a pause moment for you to check in with yourself about how you're feeling.
Continue eating regularly. Have regular meals and snacks every few hours to regulate your appetite and keep your blood sugar levels from tanking.
Here’s what you can do after drinking:
Hydrate! Drink fresh vegetable juices including carrots, celery, cilantro, beets, parsley, and ginger.
Drink herbal teas. Try 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.
Have a substantial breakfast in order to promote recovery...one that includes carbs like toast or juice.
Eggs, whey protein, garlic, and onions 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 improve 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.