It isn’t a bad thing to indulge in a few too many drinks at the holiday party, or lose count of cocktails at a dinner with the in-laws. But no one wants to suffer from an intense hangover from letting loose. Have no fear. You may be able to naturally and easily treat that hangover with a simple, natural, beneficial substance that looks like liquid gold – honey!
Most of us have honey in our cupboards all the time, so it is one of the easiest go-to’s for a hangover cure. Scientists have long known the healing benefits of honey for countless other diseases, including antibiotic-resistant infections, wounds, and coughs. What many people don’t know, however, is that honey may also help to break down the remaining alcohol in your body after a night of drinking too heavily.
A hangover is just your body’s reaction to toxicity. As alcohol breaks down in the system through a process of metabolism in your liver, it produces acetaldehyde. This results in a byproduct that is more toxic than the original alcohol you drank. The effects of this substance on your body are at least short lived, but if you consistently drink too much, the acetaldehyde can cause serious liver damage. So honey is a remedy for a once-in-a-while over-indulgence, not a regular binge.
Unfortunately, women tend to have a longer hang-over than men as it takes their bodies’ longer to process the alcohol they consume, and they produce less of the enzyme needed to do so. Lack of sleep can also cause your hang-over to be worse due to a glutamine rebound. And since alcohol is a depressant, it inhibits natural glutamine production. This means your brain will stay active even after you have fallen asleep in the wee hours of the morning.
Stomach upset is another reaction to the toxicity of the alcohol. Your need to vomit is the body tells you that you are producing too much hydrochloric acid.
Honey can help all of these symptoms by neutralizing the toxins the body creates when you drink too much.
Dr. John Emsley, a writer for Popular Science, explains that the natural fructose in honey helps the body to rapidly metabolize alcohol.
According to Dr. Emsley:
“The fructose in honey is an essential compound that helps the body break down alcohol into harmless by-products. The body uses the fructose found in honey to convert the acetaldehyde made during alcohol metabolism into acetic acid, a substance that is burned up naturally by the body.”
Dr. Merle Diamond, a headache clinic physician from Reuters Health, says that eating honey could help you avoid a headache altogether. It is the fructose in honey that competes with the metabolism of alcohol.
This competition prevents the rapid change in alcohol levels that causes the monstrous headache in the morning. While tomato juice, another go-to for the party-weary can help, honey works best.
Make sure you drink responsibly this holiday season, but if you do overindulge, try a little honey to speed up your recovery.