Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s there seems to be copious amounts of alcohol consumed — well, at least in my house (but that’s all year long, not just the holidays). While sipping a glass of your favorite Merlot with friends or re-watching A Christmas Story cozied up with a hot buttered rum is always a good time, sometimes we may go overboard and have one glass (or bottle) too many.
Aside from going to drastic measures (there are some pretty gnarly ideas out there), what’s the best way to beat a hangover? Although they may not make that pounding in your head go away completely, there are a few proven tactics you can use that may help diminish it a skosh.
Pretend water is wine and chug it like there’s no tomorrow.
Acting as a diuretic, alcohol increases urine output (as I’m sure you know from experience). This extra loss of fluid means your body has less of what it needs to perform its basic functions. Ideally, you should sip the aqua while you enjoy your drink or, at the very least, chug a glass of water before slipping between the sheets (if you make it that far) to get a head-start on that headache. As soon as you pry your eyes open the next morning/afternoon (I’m not judging), head to the sink and start rehydrating that aching body to minimize the effects of the hangover.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day when you’re nursing a hangover.
Low blood sugar is a common side effect of too much alcohol consumption. Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is what your brain uses for food. When your levels plummet, hangover symptoms such as fatigue, weakness and mood disturbances rear their ugly heads. So, after you’re done with your first glass or two of water, get some food in that belly – this is one time when carbs are your friend. Throw in a glass of pure coconut water to replenish your electrolytes and a side of scrambled eggs; they’re rich in the amino acid cysteine (helps break down hangover-causing toxins) and taurine (known for its ability to reverse liver damage caused by overindulging).
As much as you’re tempted to lay with your face buried in your bed all day long, you’ll feel better if you get yourself moving. Gently working your body will increase oxygen and nutrient delivery and may even help get that circulating chemical concoction out of your system just a little bit quicker. Please restrain yourself from engaging in vigorous high-intensity exercise – you cannot sweat the alcohol out of your system, not to mention it will further tax your already straining liver. A nice walk outside with a dose of fresh air should get you feeling better. Make sure to grab your water bottle on the way out the door.
Opt for the white over red.
It turns out, the alcohol in our beloved drinks isn’t the only hangover-contributing attribute. Compounds known as congeners occur naturally as a result of the distilling and fermenting process. Drinks that contain more congeners have a tendency to produce more severe hangover symptoms and are darker in color – red wines, whiskey and tequila have a higher content of these nasty little guys than vodka, gin, rum and white wines. Another point worth mentioning; stay away from the stuff you drank in college – cheap versions of wine and booze are prone to have higher levels of congeners than the classier options.
Bottom line: Rehydrate, eat breakfast, move your body, and opt for light-colored drinks to beat and mitigate that holiday hangover.