It’s always useful to have a few strategies for reducing the effects of alcohol on the body, especially if you need to perform at your best.
This article will give you 5 simple ways to get rid of alcohol with the least damage possible. These tips can also help protect you from everyday toxins such as a big dose of pollution, pesticides, and chemical estrogens.
It’s important to understand that alcohol metabolism can be influenced in at least two ways. First, you want to provide the body with the raw materials needed to eliminate the alcohol from the body. These include amino acids from protein, B vitamins, various other nutrients, and a lot of water.
Second, you want to give the body antioxidants that will decrease the production of liver toxins and free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Some of these will be highlighted below, but it’s also reasonable to try other nutrient-rich foods that are known to speed the metabolism of waste products out of the body like berries, green veggies, or whey protein.
Tip #1: Eat Probiotic Foods
Probiotic foods such as high-quality yogurt, pickled foods, and kim chi all contain probiotic bacteria that are beneficial for the gut and the liver. Probiotic bacteria are key players in the elimination of toxins from the body.
In addition, increasing probiotic intake has been shown to reduce oxidative damage caused by alcohol, and in one study a probiotic supplement that was added to milk significantly reduced the production of inflammatory markers more than a vitamin E supplement. The probiotic mixture was also though to reduce gastric stress caused by alcohol.
Many probiotics are salty and soothing, which can be just what you need after a night of drinking: Try miso, tempeh, and pickled vegetables like ginger or seaweed, or sauerkraut. Kefir (a fermented drink from grains) and kombucha tea are other options.
Tip #2: Drink Green Tea
Green tea is very high in antioxidants—predominantly a kind called epigallocatechins—that protect the liver from damage due to alcohol. Not only do these antioxidants counter oxidative stress that compromise liver function, they help speed detoxification of alcoholic compounds from the body.
The short-term effect is no hangover and the long-term benefit is less fat gain around the belly if you make the mistake of over-indulging regularly.
Pound high-quality green tea before and after imbibing—a pretty large dose (300-500 mg) appears best to reduce liver stress from alcohol. Opt for caffeinated tea since caffeine can radically reduce the physical misery caused by a hangover. It literally blunts sensations of pain and fatigue, while improving brain function.
Coffee does this too and it’s also packed with antioxidants, which may be protective against alcohol, but this has not yet been tested.
#3: Pound Water with Citrus—Avoid Artificially Sweetened Beverages
Part of the suffering caused by alcohol is a result of dehydration—the process of metabolizing alcohol results in the loss of water from the cells and from the bloodstream.
So, rehydrating is the first step, and adding lemon or lime to your water will further help the liver as it tries to keep up with the influx of toxins. A squirt of lemon or lime in the water will provide minerals and bioflavonoids, like hesperidin, which can improve elimination from the body.
The normal recommendation is to drink 0.6 to 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight. Feel free to bump that number up after enjoying alcohol. For further relief, take electrolytes, which can be depleted as the body becomes dehydrated from the alcohol.
Avoiding diet drinks that contain artificial sweeteners is also smart because this will reduce the overall toxic load that your liver must process.
#4: Eat Asparagus, Green Veggies & Fruit
Perhaps not your foods of choice post-drinking, asparagus and other sulfur containing veggies will aid liver metabolism so that you are able to breakdown and remove dietary fat from the body.
Asparagus in particular has been shown to protect liver cells after alcohol use. In addition, researchers write that asparagus provides nutrients that improve enzyme function, which will help alleviate the effects of a hangover.
Fruit may also be a good choice since most fruits are high in antioxidants, but relatively low glycemic, so they will raise blood sugar slightly, but won’t spike it.
Of interest, research consistently shows that consuming a large dose of fructose will significantly accelerate the metabolism of alcohol. The catch is studies indicate you need to consume a lot of fructose (roughly 100 grams) and it’s unlikely anyone is going to willingly eat 6 to 8 apples when they’re hung over.
Eat foods that will stabilize blood sugar (protein, beneficial fat, and low glycemic foods such as green veggies and fruit). Opt for the most nutrient-packed plants: asparagus, broccoli, chard, cauliflower, collards, berries, kiwi, and mango.
#5: Train Hard
Studies show athletes eliminate toxins through sweat at a higher rate than sedentary people. Scientists think this indicates that physical activity counteracts the cumulative effect of a toxic environment in physically trained people.
Additionally, sweating is one of three ways that alcohol can be eliminated from the body—the other two are from breathing and urination. Exercise elevates breathing rate and increases oxygen levels in the blood, which can speed metabolism and the clearance of alcohol and its metabolic byproducts.
Get your sweat on with a short moderate-intensity workout in the gym, outside, or on the track with the goal of raising heart rate, blood flow, and sweat rate.
Try intervals that decrease in distance (400, 300, 200, 100 meters for example) or time to reduce the mental challenge of enduring physical stress. Or do a rep-based circuit for time in the gym or with strongman equipment.
Don’t beat yourself up if your speed or strength is reduced because research shows that 12 hours after consuming three standard alcoholic drinks, power and strength ability are reduced by as much as 45 percent.