Let’s be honest guys, if our true loves got us the “magic cure” for hangovers as a gift this holiday season, we’d be stoked. All those cups of cheer can add up, especially when everyone around you is slamming down one drink after another.
The good news: It can actually be easy to avoid a hangover while still enjoying some festive cheer. Heed these five tips and you can get your buzz on without paying for it like the boys in The Hangover.
1. Chase every drink with a glass of water
Not a sip or two of water after every drink. Not a glass of water for every three drinks. One bottle of beer. One glass of water. One scotch on the rocks. One glass of water, you get the picture. Water helps your body process and eliminate alcohol, so removing it from your system ASAP with plenty of water will result in a milder, or even non-existent, hangover.
2. Drink plenty of water after indulging as well
If you didn’t follow #1, this definitely applies to you: Dehydration isn’t considered to be the main cause of hangovers, but it does contribute to symptoms such as thirst, headache, fatigue, dry mouth. Okay, if this is starting to sound a lot like a hangover, you get the point: Drink water during and after a few highballs.
3. Drink clear liquor on the rocks
Adding ice to drinks dilutes them, cutting the alcohol content (by volume) and reducing the frequency of refills. Fewer mixed drinks mean less fuel for a hangover. It also turns out that whiskies and other dark liquors cause worse hangovers than vodka, gin and other clear liquors.
4. Wine and dine…on protein, not sugar
A full stomach slows down the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream. High-protein foods such as eggs, nuts and lean meats take longer to digest, and so they give your body more time to break down alcohol.
Booze is full of sugar, especially when mixes such as pop and juice are involved, and this sugar is thought to be part of the reason we get hangovers in the first place. That’s why shortbread cookies and milk-chocolate Santas are not ideal foods to eat while drinking.
5. Get your Zs
Alcohol can impair both the sleep quality and duration of sleep, and staying up late while drinking can disrupt your entire sleep schedule. Although poor sleep doesn’t cause hangovers, it contributes to the fatigue and irritability associated with them.
There you have it folks, it’s easy enough to get your buzz on and come out of it feeling great. But remember, the key to preventing “Rudolph Nose” is simply moderation.
Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.