What a joy to introduce you all to, Ash Stevens (see pic & bio below). We met on The Liquid Muse Facebook Page and I’m now excited to share her delightful writing here on the site. I tend to sidestep the topic of “hangover cures” because I don’t want to sound like I encourage over-indulgence. However, I think that Ash covers this topic very well and has such a fun voice – and, honestly, some great tips – so take a swig and read on… Natalie
We like to think we’re smart and we know our limits, but every now and then there’s a special celebration that has us pushing our liver just a little too far. Fun as it may be in the moment, it’s not so great the next morning. We all know by now sneaking a few glasses of water into our night will help us avoid the hell of a hangover, but there are other means of prevention that are just as easy. Even healthy!
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Sure, orange juice is a welcome addition to cocktails come cold season, but it has a place anywhere booze is involved. The vitamin C that oranges are so famous for actually plays an important role in reducing the damage of oxidative stress. Oxidation just happens to be the process that makes alcohol metabolization possible, thus you have alcohol’s impact on the liver.
Luckily, vitamin C has shown that it can help cut down on alcohol’s damage. The antioxidant is also known for it’s ability to speed the rate at which the liver detoxifies, so a “shot” of vitamin C is the perfect end to every big night out. Oranges are an obvious resource for liver love, but some of the the sources below are even higher.
- Citrus likes lime offer an average of 29mg in every 100g of fruit, while grapefruit totes around 31 mg. Navel orange take the vitamin C content even further with an impressive 53mg of the antioxidant, but that leaves it in a tie with lemon. A delectable addition to alcohol of nearly every variety.
- Tomato Juice can vary in vitamin C depending on tomato type or brand of juice but, given the vitamins and cocktail possibilities, it’s always a smart choice. A juice like R.W. Knudsen’s Organic Tomato Juice serves 20% of the vitamin, plus 25% of the RDA for potassium, 16% of daily sodium, and a dash of calcium. Is there a better reason to indulge in capers, SKYY, and lemon juice?
- Strawberries make their way into romantic picnics and Valentine’s desserts, but this delicious berry in an edible hangover remedy! Gram to gram, it lugs more vitamin C than the standard orange.
- Guava is loaded with so much Vitamin C, oranges will run away in shame. For every 100g of fruit, oranges offer 53mg while guavas are packing an incredible 228mg. That’s nearly 4.5x more vitamin C! If that doesn’t impress you, then you should know it’s being studied as a way to improve or flat-out prevent diabetes. Now who’s ready for a guava cocktail?
Yes, electrolytes are actually as important as Powerade claims. However, they’re neither exclusive to sports drinks, nor post-workout routines. Electrolytes (specifically sodium calcium, potassium, chlorine, phosphate, and magnesium) are a group of minerals that keep necessary electrical currents flowing through our bodies to enable fluid transportation, muscle contraction, and an array of other cellular functions. Needless to say, they’re pretty dang important.
Sweating it out in the gym or the field will cause electrolytes to push their way out through our pores — thus the sports drinks — but alcohol’s effect on these precious minerals can be even worse than a session on the stairmaster (and anyone who’s ever been on one knows that’s saying a lot).
Because drinking has a diuretic effect, we’re losing electrolytes with each and every flush of the toilet. So, too many drinks and bathroom trips will have us wincing with achy muscles and the piercing headache from a dehydrated brain. Spare yourself the pain by keeping these electrolyte sources on hand. Or, better yet… In your martini glass!
- Olives are beloved by martini drinkers for their taste, but their use in drinks may be as appealing to the tastebuds as they are to the body as they pack about 61 mg of sodium. Drop a few into a bloody mary and you’ll boost your Friday night hangover defense.
- Coconut water may seem overhyped and overpriced, but it’s the Gatorade of Mother Nature. According to Dr. Axe, a 240g serving of fresh coconut water will get us 17% of our daily potassium while packing in 15% magnesium, 11% sodium, and 6% of the RDA for calcium. The average coconut milk can actually take these mineral numbers even higher, so a coconut cocktail is as smart a choice as it is delicious.
- Pickles offer a tasty snack that delights a variety of palettes, and that comes with a salty concentration of liquid sodium. That makes pickle brine an electrolyte booster, and a welcome addition to shots and drinks alike. Just don’t go crazy with the sodium because too much will be less hydrating than dehydrating.
- Baking Soda offers hangover help in a pinch, and you can find it in cupboards and fridges everywhere. Just a teaspoon gets us about 52% of our daily sodium, plus the bonus benefits of its buffering properties, so it will help neutralize the acidic effects of alcohol while restoring imbalanced sodium levels. Try a spoonful in a glass of water and see it for yourself.
This name may be new to you, but this amino acid is what makes libations and celebrations possible. The process of metabolizing alcohol requires two steps; converting from ethanol to acetaldehyde, then converting from acetaldehyde into acetic acid. Acetaldehyde is quite toxic, but our liver is there to help us out with a special compound called glutathione. However, the average liver can only produce enough to metabolize about a drink per hour.
It’s obviously wise to limit drinks to a max of 3 or 4 per session (women are supposed to stick to 3 — Dang it!). But since cysteine is used in the formulation of glutathione, you can enjoy your favorite drinks and love on your liver at the same time.
- Eggs are one powerful little bundle of cysteine. A large egg packs 250mg of the recommended daily 425mg
- Soybeans could be your new favorite bar snack. Just one cup of these roasted beans will give you 593mg of cysteine. That’s a day’s worth in a single shot! No pun intended…
- Dairy also dishes up some cysteine, with the highest source being swiss cheese, then going down to yogurt and feta, and finally to milk. If you ask me, this is sounding like the perfect excuse to throw a drink pairing party…
If you’re going to be drinking, then test out some of these remedies to see what happens. And don’t forget to treat your tastebuds and liver to some extra TLC with one of our fabulous detoxifying mocktails. A healthy morning mocktail is the perfect counter to every evening cocktail. I’m sure your liver will agree!
Ash Stevens is a writer who doubles as a pretend philosopher and a wannabe shaman. When she isn’t writing her soul out on her blog, she’s listening to the great minds (or great comedians) on YouTube, soaking up sunshine, or having yet another fascinating conversation with herself (she gives excellent advice, you know). Find her on Twitter or Facebook and make a new friend!