What does a hangover do to you?

What does a hangover do to you? - Have you ever wondered how your body copes when you’re hung over? Here’s your answer…

Drinking alcohol affects nearly every part of your body. And that hellish next-day, also called hangover, is when the body goes into recovery mode, trying to fight the toxins you’ve put into your system. You feel lethargic, nauseous and wish you had stopped drinking long before you actually did. Here’s how the body fights back.



Ever woken up with a pounding headache the morning after a big night drinking? Headaches are the most common side effect of being hung over. Unfortunately, says naturopath Amy Cooper, the cause of the hangover headache is still not clearly understood. “All we know is that alcohol is a known vasodilator, which means it widens our blood vessels, and that in turn increases the blood flow to the brain,” says Cooper. “This combined with the effects alcohol has on various neurotransmitters and hormones contribute to the painful throbbing in your head.”

Stomach and liver

“Our digestive system is not as efficient when alcohol is consumed,” says Cooper. Increased alcohol intake also puts extra strain on our liver, which doesn’t allow it to metabolise sugar as effectively causing a decrease in blood sugar levels. The decreased levels can cause weakness, tiredness, moodiness and depression and in severe cases loss of consciousness.


That next-day nauseous feeling occurs from an increase of stomach acid, a result of excessive alcohol consumption. “To improve the acid alkaline balance, you could try drinking lemon juice in warm water,” says Cooper.

Mouth and throat

By the time your mouth and throat are ‘dry and scratchy’, you are well and truly on your way to dehydration. “Along with replacing your fluids with water, it’s also a good idea to replace your body salts through an electrolyte drink,” adds Cooper.


It is often obvious to others when you have had a big night on the town due to the redness and puffiness of your eyes. The redness is again due to the vasodilation, and the puffiness is a result of fluid retention.


When you have been drinking, your body needs to eliminate the alcohol in the most efficient way possible. Usually this is through the kidneys, however your skin assists with this and that’s why you sweat more.


After a night drinking your blood sugar levels will begin dropping the next day. This means the fuel your muscles need is not readily available. And while you are dehydrated, it means your blood is not as efficient as normal, therefore nutrients don’t reach the muscles that require them causing them to ache or feel weak.

Healthy hangover recipe

Lycopene, a carotene, can help cure hangovers. It is most commonly found in tomatoes but also other red fruits and vegetables, like watermelons, papayas and red carrots. To get a healthy dose of lycopee try this wholesome homemade pizza recipe.

  • 1 sml Pita bread (carbohydrate)
  • 1-2 tsps tomato paste (lycopene)
  • Chopped chicken pieces (protein)
  • 1 avocado (essential fatty acids)
  • Baby spinach (full of nutrients including magnesium)
  • Pineapple pieces (digestive enzymes – to help with digestion)
  • Chopped banana (potassium and B Vitamins – and is surprisingly good on pizza!)
  • Small amount of cheese to bind it all together

Pre-heat oven or grill to a high heat.

Cover one side of pita bread with tomato paste and add other ingredients to taste and preference.

Grill until cheese is melted. ( fridaysfivecents.wordpress.com )

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