How do I avoid a hangover?

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Before your night out begins and throughout the night you can make some wise decisions that will lessen the effects of your misery the next day. Who knows, you may even avoid one completely.

Before you drink:

  • Eat. Fill your stomach with a healthy meal of starches and essential vitamins and minerals. Note that I said healthy. The food will absorb the alcohol and lessen it’s effects on you. If you decide a greasy bar burger or drippy pizza is your idea of a good meal you may regret that idea when the grease mixes the wrong way with liquor and carbonation and you end up staring at the toilet bowl.
  • Hydrate. Drink lots of fruit juice and water now. Think of it this way, for every glass of non-alcoholic beverage you drink now you will save yourself from having to drink two glasses in the morning.
  • Prepare your favorite hangover remedy and place it in an easy to open container in the fridge. If you do over indulge the last thing you will want to do in the morning is gather ingredients, mix things and worse yet, run the blender.
  • A clinical study from 2004 suggests that drinking prickly pear fruit extract several hours prior to drinking will reduce the symptoms of a hangover.
  • Try one of the many anti-hangover remedies found at convenience store registers and drug stores. I have heard good and bad things about these but have never tried them personally, but it is an option.

While you drink:

  • Grab a bite to eat at the bar. This is where greasy fries would be okay to eat because it is a snack that will keep your stomach full and add extra material to absorb the alcohol. Bar peanuts, popcorn, any type of food will do the job.

  • Choose the booze carefully. Again, dark spirits contain more congeners, light spirits fewer, cheap liquor more. More congeners equal more headaches. Stick with quality light color drinks most of the night to reduce your hangover.
  • Memorize this rhyme and abide by it, it will save you a lot of pain. “Liquor before beer, never fear. Beer before liquor, never sicker.”
  • Alternate alcoholic with non-alcoholic beverages. This trick will slow your alcohol consumption down and still give you something to drink. Choose water, fruit juices or light carbonated beverages. If you are worried about what your friends may think order a mocktail or dress up a straight virgin beverage with a garnish and lie. Call Sprite or 7-Up with a lime a Vodka Tonic or orange juice a Screwdriver or cranberry juice with a lime a Cape Codder. They are probably too drunk to know the difference and who cares anyway, you will feel so much better in the morning than they will, HA!
  • Consume less than one drink per hour. Your liver breaks down alcohol at the rate of one beer per hour, so spreading out your drinking over many hours will give your body a chance to keep up with you.
  • Once you make it home and before you crash on the bed force yourself to drink a glass of water and take some Vitamin B. This is also not the time to take any headache medicine (Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Aspirin) as they could seriously damage your liver.
  • Important: If you experience tremors, stomach pain, or see blood in your vomit seek professional medical attention IMMEDIATELY. You may have overdone it too much and should go to the emergency room right away.

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