Scientifically, hangovers a super weird. Physically and emotionally, a hangover is like when a parent comes home to find their house has been completely trashed by a rabid gang of high schoolers. When it comes to curing hangovers—like most things in life—a good defense is the best offense. Rather than tying one off with the boys and hoping for the best the morning after, there’s a lot you could be doing before you hit the streets to make sure your morning-after experience goes smoothly. Whether it’s taking more vitamins or sopping up booze with a big fat cheeseburger, here are 7 ways to prevent a hangover from happening.
Know What To Drink:
First thing’s first… Knowing what to drink and learning what’ll cause the worst hangovers is crucial to developing a cohesive strategy against them. Sugar-fermenting yeasts produce ethanol (the fun stuff that gets you drunk), but also produces these things called congeners, which increase the intensity of hangovers.
In a nutshell, the drinks that contain the least congeners are lighter stuff—grain alcohol, vodka, gin, white rum, etc. The brown stuff—whiskey, dark rum, scotch, etc.—is the worst. There’s a moderate middle that consists of things like tequila and beer, but if you can, stick to the clear stuff.
Drink A Lot Of Water Earlier In The Day
It’s common knowledge that you should drink water after a night out (although common knowledge can be known to get things wrong). But why put yourself through even a second’s worth of hangover hell when you can nip it in the bud earlier on in the day? If you know you’ll be going out start escalating your water intake at around lunch. Better yet, keep yourself hydrated constantly. Even if scientists aren’t sure of water’s direct effect on hangovers, they’re positive that it has beneficial effects overall. Not only will it help keep you up and moving at night (water is a big fatigue killer), it’ll also help lessen the trauma to your brain and blood.
Vitamins, Vitamins, And More Vitamins
Vitamins are misleading. Their popularity is based on a celebrity scientist’s insane desire to achieve immortality and people are still loading up on supplements, thinking they’re the key to health. That being said, alcohol may be a bit of an exception.
It does a hell of a lot more than dehydrate your body. As a diuretic, it makes you pee way more, flushing out a ton of vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and acids that are critical to brain and blood health. More importantly, it depletes magnesium, which is used all over your insides. Having less of any of these things is bound to make you feel worse and getting more of them in your body in preparation for losing a lot is a good preventative step.
Eat A Big Fatty Meal Beforehand
Dieticians cringe at this advice, but it’s worth its weight in gold. You remember getting the advice the first time your parents found out about you going to a college party. They’d say, “Make sure you’re eating, and never drink on an empty stomach.” We’ll do you one better. Don’t just make sure you’re eating, but make sure you’re eating big, fatty meals. French fries, cheeseburgers, and all the greasy shit you’d ordinarily stay away from. Those macros (carbs, proteins, and fats) will help your body metabolize all those shots, thus absorbing the alcohol before your liver does while also coating your stomach lining and preventing the absorption of alcohol in the first place.
Get Lots Of Rest
We don’t need scientists to tell us not sleeping is bad for us, though it certainly helps. If you know Friday’s going to be a long night out, make sure you get plenty of rest Wednesday and Thursday night. Not only does it help boost your immunity and prepare your body for a night of abuse, it also keeps your metabolism up to speed. That is where it really counts. A quick metabolism will help power through the alcohol in your body, which means you’ll recover quicker.
It may not fight the hangover completely, but it’ll make the hell you’re inviting on yourself a lot easier to manage. Also, sleeping off drunkenness might not actually be a great idea. Alcohol plays hell with a body’s sleep, so you may actually be setting yourself up for a worse hangover if you pass right out instead of taking action.
Don’t Smoke Cigarettes
A study by a research group at Brown University revealed that the chemicals in cigarettes greatly heighten the effects of dehydration and hangover symptoms. Nicotine helps release cytokines in the body, which are chemicals released upon brain injury that directly result in the exact kinds of headaches and nausea we know as hangovers. Avoiding smoking cigarettes obviously puts you at far less risk.
Oh, and you know, the whole, “smoking causes cancer” thing. Just a suggestion…
Pull Out That Juicer, Bud
Quite frankly, any juice is going to work wonders for your hangover. All those nutrients and vitamins, coupled with all that natural hydration—it can honestly do you no wrong.
However, a good green juice has everything you need to get the job done; a little kiwi, a little apple, some asparagus, some tomato and lemon, and even some ginger really get the blood flowing. Filling your body with these nutrients as early as possible before a night out of drinking will help ensure you’re getting the best value possible for them.