We understand. Staying fit, healthy, and happy sometimes means enjoying more than one glass of red wine. Still, there are healthier ways to help avoid hangovers and wake up ready to get back on track. Here are 13 scientifically-supported ways to help deal with that hangover—or even prevent it from happening in the first place!
1. Go one for one. It’s no secret that drinking water can help deflect that pounding AM headache (pretty much the opposite of a good morning). Tissues around the brain are mostly made of water, and dehydration will shrink these tissues, creating pressure in the head. Alcohol can lead to dehydration, so make sure to continuously drink water throughout the night Dehydration: a new alcohol theory. Klemm, W.R. Department of Veterinary Anatomy, Texas A&M University, Texas. Alcohol, 1990 Jan-Feb;7(1):49-59.. Try matching each alcoholic drink with one glass of water to avoid that next-day pain.
2. Chow down. No, just because beer has calories doesn’t mean it counts as dinner. Drinking on an empty stomach will allow alcohol to absorb faster, so try getting in a good meal with lots of healthy carbs before breaking out the bottle. Some research even shows a stomach full of food may help keep blood alcohol content at a lower level Effects of meal composition on blood alcohol level, psychomotor performance and subjective state after ingestion of alcohol. Finnigan, F, Hammersley, R, Millar, K. Department of Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian University, Cowcaddens, UK. Appetite, 1998 Dec;31(3):361-75..
3. Keep it light. Darker drinks like red wine or rum contain congeners (substances produced during fermentation), which may contribute to causing hangovers. Skip the whiskey in favor of vodka or a glass of white wine!
4. Stay classy. More expensive liquors contain less filler congeners—a cause for headaches. So pass on the well liquor and take it up a notch with some top-shelf booze.
6. Skip the bubbles. Opt out of champagne or other alcohol that’s mixed with carbonated beverages. The bubbles may cause alcohol to be absorbed more quickly. (Hence that New Year’s Day hangover.)
7. Down-dog. Scientists have yet to prove that a few sun-salutations will whisk away a hangover, but breathing and meditation exercises in yoga can get oxygen flowing and blood pumping to help relieve stress. Namaste!
9. Scramble eggs.
Eggs contain taurine, which has been shown to reverse liver damage caused by a night of heavy boozing Effects of dietary taurine on egg production, egg quality and cholesterol levels in Japanese quail. Wang, F.R., Dong, X.F., Zhang, X.M., et al. State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Jiangnan University, Jiangsu Wuxi, China. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 2010 Dec;90(15):2660-3.. Scramble them up with lots of veggies for added antioxidant power!
10. Sip ginger tea. Hangovers can sometimes come with a side of upset stomach. To settle that tummy, brew a warm mug of ginger tea. Ginger has been shown to help combat nausea Effects of ginger on motion sickness and gastric slow-wave dysrhythmias induced by circular vection. Lien H.C., Sun, W.M., Chen, Y.H., et al. Department of Internal Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan. American Physiological Society Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 2003 Mar;284(3):G481-9..
11. Refuel at the breakfast table. Alcohol will lead to a drop in blood sugar, so boost it back up with a glass of OJ in the morning Ethanol acutely stimulates islet blood flow, amplifies insulin secretion, and induces hypoglycemia via nitric oxide and vagally mediated mechanisms. Huang, Z, Sjoholm A. Karolinska Institutet, Department of Internal Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden. Endocrinology, 2008 Jan;149(1):232-6. Epub 2007 Oct 4.!
12. Get some fresh air. Oxygen increases the rate that alcohol toxins are broken down, so bundle up and get outdoors. A little exercise never hurt anyone—and it may even release some endorphins to boost that post-hangover mood.
13. Play D.D. We’re sorry to say that the only sure-fire way to avoid a hangover is to skip the booze altogether Interventions for preventing or treating alcohol hangover: systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Pittler, M.H., Verster, J.C., Ernst, E. Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth. British Medical Journal, 2005 Dec 24;331(7531):1515-8.. So if waking up to a pounding headache doesn’t sound fun, play designated driver for the night (even if not actually driving).