If you were out late last night wining and dining with friends, it's not until the next morning that you realize that last glass of pinot was a bad idea. Your head is pounding, the room is spinning, and if it's really grim, you have the urge to throw up every time you move: hangovers suck.
If you're going to go all out, you're going to pay the price; our bodies are not designed to binge on bad stuff and feel great the next day. But, there are a few things that you can do that may prevent a hangover from happening — or, at least make it less painful.
- Don't drink, or at least drink less. Instead of having four drinks, try for two, maybe even one. Drink slowly, and as a rule don't consume more than one drink per hour to give your body enough time to break down the alcohol. Also, one drink does not mean a Long Island Tea. We're talking a beer, a small glass of wine, or roughly one ounce of hard liquor. Keep in mind that certain factors help determine your body's ability to metabolize alcohol: weight, height, and overall health.
- Drink water, and lots of it. Since alcohol dehydrates the body, begin and end your night of drinking with plenty of water, and for every alcoholic beverage you consume, match it with a glass of water.
- Don't drink on an empty stomach. Having food in your stomach helps dilute the concentration of alcohol in your belly.
- Be choosy with what you drink. Stay away from sugary and carbonated drinks because they speed up the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. Drink clear liquors over colored ones: darker alcohol like bourbon or red wine contain more of the toxic substance congeners, which help contribute to hangovers. Don't drink booze from the well either; the cheap stuff has way more congeners than the good stuff.
If it's too late for you and you're reading this with a hangover, check out my recovery tips instead.