Obviously, the easiest way to avoid a hangover is to steer clear of alcohol altogether. But willpower and festive cheer is likely to get in the way, even for the very best of intentions.
Drink in moderation?
For most women, experts recommend having no more than three standard drinks in one sitting.
Another easy guideline?
Stick to one standard drink per hour, recommends Dr Zamani. This is because your liver typically takes about an hour to process one drink, she explains. Drink any more than that, and you’re more likely experience a hangover because you’re consuming more alcohol than your body can handle.
If that sounds unlikely, here’s some hacks to help avoid the hangover…
Eat before you drink (lots)
When you drink alcohol on an empty stomach, it just passes the alcohol right to your intestines and then it’s absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly,” says Dr Maryam Zamani. That means you’ll get drunk faster and feel way more hungover the next day. Drinking on a full stomach ensures your blood alcohol stays lower.
What’s more, foods like red meat, chicken, shellfish, avocados, mushrooms, and whole grains, that are rich in zinc and nicotinic acid, two nutrients that were shown to reduce the severity of hangover symptoms in a 2019 study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.
Since alcohol causes inflammation, which is thought to be one of the factors that goes into creating a hangover, you want to avoid adding any additional inflammation to your body—which is exactly what sugar does! And speeds up glycation – the ageing process.
Opt for organic wine.
Preservatives and pesticides may be why people feel more hungover drinking wine. So, if you can get an organic, preservative-free, or lower alcohol wine (think 12.5 percent or less) that might help prevent hangover symptoms.
Drink a coconut water when you get home.
Following your alcohol with coconut water (or a sports drink) helps replace the fluids and electrolytes, the nutrients you lose when you drink. It is also recommended sipping either a coconut water or a sports drink throughout the night to prevent a pounding headache when you wake up.
Stick with clear alcoholic drinks.
Clear spirits like vodka and gin have less congeners, which are compounds that have been linked to hangovers, than dark liquors like whiskey and rum.
Before you go to sleep, don’t overdo it on the water.
It’s true that hangovers can happen when your body gets too much alcohol and not enough water. However, too much water can put undue stress on your body. And frequent bathroom runs can mess with your sleep. So, after a night of heavy drinking, down a glass of water and leave a full glass on your side table to treat dry mouth early morning.
The next day, avoid herbal teas.
Researchers have found that herbal teas make your body process alcohol more slowly, so your hangover lasts extra-long!
Instead, drink Sprite or soda.
The effects of 57 different drinks on alcohol metabolism have been tested, and they found that the Chinese version of Sprite and regular soda water help speed up the body’s alcohol metabolism, which decreases the amount of time your body is exposed to the harmful chemicals produced when your body digests alcohol.
Think what you eat for breakfast.
Here’s exactly what you should order to help a hangover: an omelette with spinach and cheese, fries, and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Eggs are high in N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), which helps your body metabolize alcohol. Similarly, spinach is a good source of Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA), which also helps move alcohol through the body. So are home cooked fries. And Orange Juice has vitamin B1, to promote some of that mental clarity back caused by a hangover.