How To Prevent A Hangover

By Nataliya Schafer

So you had a few too many last night. It happens to the best of us, but unfortunately you’ll probably be paying for it this morning.

While extra strength Tylenol and coffee are the most popular remedies there are lots of more effective preventative measurements to help you lick your hangover before you get it.

Hydration, hydration, hydration. Never underestimate the power of a good glass of water. Alcohol dehydrates the body and causes a loss of electrolytes which  contributes significantly to a hangover. The regular recommended daily dose of water is 4-6 cups a day, but if you know you will be drinking it’s best to drink as much as you can (especially if you work out before a night of partying). A good rule is to have one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you have. If water is too plain for you mix it up with some Gatorade or fresh fruit smoothies and you’ll still get all the right nutrients.

Eat the right stuff.

  • Some believe that milk, milk thistle vitamins and/or yogurt will coat the lining of your stomach and prevent the alcohol from being absorbed too quickly and reduce your chance of getting sick.
  • Bananas are high in potassium (yet another vitamin depleted by alcohol), and can be eaten to prevent or cure a hangover, along with avocados.
  • Sweets and high glucose foods like white bread, marshmallow squares and candy will boost your blood sugar levels and help minimize ‘the shakes’.
  • Fatty foods will also line the stomach and prolong the absorption of alcohol, reducing your changes of a pounding hangover the next day. An old Mediterranean folk tactic is to take a spoonful of olive oil before drinking, but if that isn’t for you a Big Mac should do nicely.

Eat before and while drinking to compensate for vitamins and chemicals being depleted from the alcohol. Multivitamins can be taken in advance if food will not be available later.

Drink the right stuff. Congeners are toxins produced in the process of fermentation, and a general rule to avoid their wrath is ‘the darker the liquor, tomorrow feel sicker’. Clear liquors like vodka, tequila patron and gin contain fewer congeners than darker drinks like wine (especially cheap, sweet brands), beer, whiskey and bourbon. Sugary mixed drinks like piña coladas only add insult to injury so avoid them at all costs, and stick to one kind of drink throughout the night.

Pace yourself and know your body. Girls, keeping up with the boys is not necessarily a good thing. Men and women metabolize alcohol at different rates due to muscle mass, body size, weight and body water levels. Women have lower body water levels, which means they achieve higher blood alcohol levels faster than their similarly proportioned male friends.

Don’t smoke. As if there weren’t enough reasons to knock off the nicotine here’s one more: smoking restricts oxygen flow to the brain, and tobacco ingestion can enhance the headache, dizziness, gastrointestinal discomfort and sleep disturbance that go hand in hand with hangovers.