At some point in your life (probably in college), you had a little too much to drink one night and felt absolutely horrible the next morning. This is a hangover, and there are numerous ways to cope with it, but some are far healthier than others.

The best way to kill a hangover, of course, is to avoid it altogether by enjoying alcoholic beverages in moderation. But sometimes we just have to overindulge. If this was you last night, then before you shuffle to the nearest fast-food joint, ascribe to the “hair of the dog” method or any of the other commonly known (and usually ineffective) morning-after cures, consider these healthier ways to reduce those hangover pains (that we promise to inform you of quietly):


Even if you’re still feeling sick to your stomach, you need to try to eat. Your blood sugar is probably low, which just adds to your pain. But you need to watch what you eat. You should eat easily digested foods, so you don’t stress out that tummy any more than you already have, so start with toast, crackers or a simple cereal. Other foods great for helping hangover symptoms are eggs, bananas, blueberries (most fruits, really) and soups, especially miso soup.


If your college buddy convinced you years ago that the only hangover cure was more alcohol, then he wasn’t so good to you. Stay away from the poison that got you here and step toward the water. Rehydrating, especially if you’ve been sick, is the first good choice you’ll make. Sports drinks are okay, but aren’t any better than good, old-fashioned water and could overload you with sugar. If you drink coffee, have a little bit so you don’t get a caffeine-withdrawal headache. Have some green or kombucha tea. Coconut water is nature’s miracle drink, so a form of that not filled with extra sugar is a great idea. Or, if you can stand the sound of the blender, mix up some of those fruits from the food list and make a tasty smoothie.


If your head is pounding and you’ve taken them without incident in the past, take a pain reliever. But you should only take anti-inflammatory pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). Taking something like Tylenol just adds stress to your already overtaxed liver. If you usually take a multivitamin, get one of those down to replace nutrients, although it’s not imperative. The one supplement that could really help is an omega-3, which fights inflammation and helps with a number of other issues you may be experiencing.


Finally, you’ve been hard on your body and now it’s time to kiss and make up. Literally. If there’s a special someone in your life, get in at least a good cuddle (and some sex if you can). Your brain releases those happy chemicals called endorphins when you have welcome physical activity with someone you love, and those can help make you feel better. If that’s not an option, but you can still move, some light exercise could help. Maybe some yoga or a walk around the block. Don’t overdo it, but do get those endorphins working. Otherwise, if you have the option, get some rest. Sleeping it off after chugging some water can do a world of good and keep you out of trouble, at least for a few hours.

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