How to avoid a Hangover
I am writing this as the festive season is about to / has already kicked in, in most parts of India. A LOT of people, especially up north, don’t consume alcohol during the Navratras (a nine day holy period dedicated to the feminine divine).
Nine days of no alcohol and no eating out (for most) is definitely going to lead to a massive overkill once it is over.
I can’t stop it, and I’m not gonna try either. In fact I am going to participate wholeheartedly.
However, one factor that bothers me to the point of being a party-pooper, is the morning-after rager. The headache, the nausea, the feeling of all encompassing doom.
And that brings us to the holy grail of party season questions.
How to avoid a hangover?
I have done a fair amount of research, and here is a list comprising of science based, as well as tried and tested hacks. Try these out, and if they work, send good vibes in this direction. 🙂
Avoid a hangover – Eat before (and while) drinking
Does two things:
- Reduces your craving for calories. When you eat after starving for a while, it’s almost always to the point of overdoing it. That is because the body (now in starvation mode) wants to eat more to have reserves in case you starve again, and also because your brain doesn’t immediately get the signal that you’ve eaten. Basically, if you’ve eaten prior, you will not use alcohol to get you your calorie fix. Your levels of craving and hence consumption will end up being lower. Tried and tested. Works.
- Lines your stomach so that the alcohol is absorbed at a slower rate. In fact people in the mediterranean cite drinking olive oil before a night of partying as a solid hack. Never tried. Will this time. Maybe just douse some bread in extra virgin and hope it does really work.
Avoid a hangover – Have multivitamins prior
The body uses up a lot of vitamins and nutrients when breaking down alcohol. Alcohol by itself destroys B vitamins too. Without these vitamins hurricane hangovers rock you to misery. Promoting chants of “never again”. Take a vitamin supplement(s) leading up to the party. Go for B complex, B6 or B12 vitamins. Tried and tested. Works.
Avoid a hangover – Avoid the bubbles
It’s good to avoid sparkling wine / aerated mixers / beer chasers. Again, two reasons:
- The CO2 competes with oxygen in our bloodstream and your brain gets lesser of the latter, in addition to the effect of the alcohol at the same time. Result? Drunker, faster > lesser inhibition > MOAR drinking > disaster.
- CO2 increases the pressure in your stomach, forcing alcohol out through the lining of your stomach into the bloodstream which speeds up the rate of alcohol absorption. Result? Drunker, faster > lesser inhibition > MOAR drinking > disaster.
IDK how that is gonna work for me given my staple is beer. However, I am DEFINITELY gonna avoid the interspaced shots. LIKE THE PLAGUE.
Avoid a hangover – Water is your best friend
I have found that it is incredibly hard to find drinking water at most parties. It’s like people forget that it even exists! If you’ve been drinking for a bit, you already know that the crappiest effects of the hangover are the result of you being dehydrated (because, when you start drinking, an anti-diuretic hormone is suppressed and you tend to piss yourself to being parched).
What you gotta do, is follow every drink with a 250-300 ml glass of water. It will rehydrate you and also slow down your consumption (how much can you fit inside your stomach anyway?).
PARTY. ALL. NIGHT.
Smooth. AF. in. the. morning.
Tried and tested. Works.
Avoid a hangover – Drink lighter coloured alcohols
Remember high school chemistry? Alcohol by itself is colourless. So HOW do darker coloured alcohols like wine/brandy/whiskey get their colour?
The colour comes from the particles that are mixed (some naturally, some artificially) during the manufacturing and ageing process. These particles are known as congeners and are your WORST enemy when it comes to causing a hangover.
Also, alcoholic beverages such as wines and beers contain toxic byproducts of fermentation, known as aldehydes. Aldehydes release stress hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine into your body and act as pavers to the oncoming hangover.
Best bets (light): Vodka, Gin, White Rum
Middle path (medium): Tequila, White Wine, Champagne, Beer
Inviting trouble (heavy): Whiskey, Dark Rum, Red Wine
Also. Never EVER mix alcohol. (Just in case you HAVE to, move on to a lighter spirit from a heavier one. See chart above.)
Tried and tested. Works.
Avoid a hangover – Stay away from cheap alcohol
More expensive spirits are filtered more and contain way fewer congeners and impurities than their cheap counterparts (where sometimes in the manufacturing process, like adding colour artificially, the levels of congeners are raised). Hence, worse hangovers.
The more expensive the alcohol, the lesser you drink of it too!
So stay classy. Stay hangover free!
Tried and tested. Works.