By Carolyn Brown, MS, RD
Had a little too much fun last night? It may be an old wives’ tale, but it certainly seems to me that the older you get, the worse the post-fun hangover. Of course, the only real way to avoid a hangover is by not drinking – which is a great challenge for many to take on for a few weeks or months. But as the summer soirees appear to be never-ending, there are many ways to make your post-party day more bearable, beginning with before and during the festivities.
- Eat a real dinner: Drinking on an empty or hors d’oeuvres-filled stomach is a pretty surefire way to cause excessive pain tomorrow. Meals that combine healthy fats (olive oil, nuts or avocado) and complex carbohydrates (like beans, brown rice, or quinoa) are ideal because they are slowly digested and will slow down the rate of alcohol absorption. This gives your body more time to process the toxic alcohol byproducts.
- Hydration: Did you know your brain literally shrinks from dehydration when you drink? And brain shrinkage, besides sounding awful, is one of the causes of pounding headaches. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it makes you pee a lot and when you lose water, you also lose it from your organs, including your brain. So keep your cabeza hydrated; switch off between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, 1:1, all night long.
- If you’re going the liquor route, keep it light and top shelf: During the fermenting process, dark liquors like rye, dark rum, and whiskey create toxins called congeners. The darker the alcohol, the more congeners and the more toxins in your body. So stick to clear or light liquors like vodka, lighter rums, tequilas, or gin. Cheap-o liquors have more of these impurities as well, so stick to top shelf – what would you rather it hurt, your wallet or your body?
- Pick a number: Starting a night by saying “I’m not going to drink a lot” doesn’t help your cause much. Pick a number. I like the number two, but whatever yours is, keep track and stick to it.
Next time, what to do when it’s too late for the pre-hangover advice…
Do you drink alcohol? Do you still fall victim to hangovers? What do you do to avoid them?