Updated on December 29, 2022
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With the holidays right around the corner it’s time for delicious food, and lots of alcoholic drinks. The problem is that those drinks will come back to get you the next morning, and you never know how bad they’ll bite. The hangover is coming for you whether you like it or not.
Don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to make sure your hangover is bearable, but it will still be there. It’s important to always keep in mind that the only way to totally avoid a hangover is to abstain from drinking alcohol altogether. For those of us willing to take the risk, let’s talk about 7 ways you can prevent a bad hangover.
1: Herbal Remedies
The best cure for a hangover is to prevent it from happening in the first place. One of your options when it comes to trying to prevent a hangover are herbal supplements. In fact, there have been several studies on herbs as a hangover prevention aid. Some herbs that are good for reducing hangover symptoms are:
- Milk Thistle
- Prickly Pear
- B Vitamins
For example, a study was done in 2004 on 64 healthy young adults to determine whether prickly pear cactus extract would relieve hangover symptoms. The subjects received either prickly pear extract or a placebo 5 hours before drinking alcohol. (1)
The results showed that while prickly pear extract did not reduce overall hangover symptoms, it did reduce the risk of a bad hangover by 50%.
Research was also done on ginseng and hangovers. The study showed that red ginseng was effective in relieving hangover symptoms in healthy adult men. (2)
Brands such as AfterDrink have created proprietary blends that combine these ingredients into one pill. You need to take 3 pills before your first drink and 3 more after your last drink.
Remember, there’s no magic pill that will allow you to wake up feeling like a ray of sunshine after too many drinks at the office holiday party. They could, however, be an additional tool to add to your evening recovery regime and help soften the blow.
2: Hydration Mixes
Another item to keep in your hangover arsenal for the holidays are hydration mixes. These little packets are full of a blend of minerals that will replenish your electrolytes after a night of drinking. A good rule of thumb is to take them with you to the bar, and drink them while you’re out too. It never hurts to hydrate while you’re in the process of drinking alcohol.
Here’s how these little mixes work. They are made of a perfected ratio of electrolytes and sugar to activate the sodium-glucose cotransporter. As the channels open, sodium and glucose along with water can flow easily into the bloodstream.
3: Stick to Lighter Colored Drinks
If you don’t want your hangover to ruin your whole day after, try to stick to light-colored drinks. This is because one of the culprits of a hangover are congeners. They are the byproduct of the fermentation process of alcohol, and have been known to make hangover symptoms such as nausea, headaches and fatigue worse.
It’s known that congeners are found in higher concentrations in darker alcohols such as red wine, whiskey and rum. Even darker beers have a higher number of them. So, stick to lighter liquors such as vodka and gin to potentially lessen your hangover symptoms.
4: Eat a Good Meal Before Drinking Alcohol
One of the biggest mistakes you can make before going out drinking is not eating a decent meal. The reason you get drunk when you drink alcohol is that alcohol absorbs into your bloodstream. When you eat a good meal before going out, it’s going to slow down the alcohol absorption process, and also makes your drinking easier on your stomach.
This isn’t going to save you from a hangover the next day, but it can keep you from drinking as much and dealing with stomach issues.
5: Drink a Glass of Water Between Drinks
Dehydration is one cause of hangover symptoms the next day. Alcohol is a diuretic, so you lose a lot of liquid while you’re out drinking. Think about how long the bathroom lines are at the pub. You along with everyone else’s kidneys are slacking off and not absorbing fluids.
To avoid extreme dehydration, drink a glass of water in between alcoholic drinks. That way, you’re always drinking something but also being nice to your body by giving it some good old-fashioned water in between cocktails. Trust us, you’ll thank yourself in the morning.
6: Avoid Doing Shots
Throwing back shots all night is a sure fire way to know you’ll wake up feeling terrible the next day. You’re going to feel drunk way quicker than you would sipping on beer or cocktails, and you’ll likely drink more. If you don’t want to be hugging the toilet the next day, avoid shots at all costs.
7: Avoid Caffeine
When you wake up with a splitting headache, the first thing you probably reach for is a pot of coffee. If you’re hungover, stay away from caffeine! There’s also a theory out there that if you drink coffee after a night of drinking, it will sober you up. This is definitely not the case. In fact, you’ll only make matters worse.
Drinking coffee will not get alcohol out of your system. Caffeine may make you more alert, which means it can reduce the sedating effects of alcohol for a short amount of time. All you’re doing is putting a very temporary bandage on the situation.
To sum it up, there’s no way to actually avoid a hangover. All you can do is lessen your chance of having a bad one that ruins the whole next day. The best thing you can do for yourself if you don’t want a hangover is to not drink at all.
The holiday season is a time when people who may not drink often are going to parties and throwing back more cocktails than usual. Hangovers are unavoidable, but there are solutions to make you less likely to be crawling to the toilet the next morning.
If you want to try to prevent a terrible hangover, follow our tips. Grab some recovery supplements and stay hydrated throughout the night. Set a limit and pace yourself to make sure you don’t drink too much, and eat a good meal before you head out. As always, please drink responsibly. Cheers!