Nov 12, 2014 Comments (0)

Five Steps to Avoid a Hangover

Most people who drink alcohol have experienced a hangover at one time or the other. No one wants to wake up with a spinning head, a terrible headache and nausea to boot, which is why there are so many tips on how to deal with it. Most of them are wives' tales and have no scientific basis (like drink whiskey before beer or do not mix drinks), but there are some tips that have been scientifically tested. Here are a few of them.

Do not smoke when you are drinking

People who smoke when they drink, swear that smoking takes the 'kick' to a new level. Even non-smokers may fall into the trap and light up when they are drinking. Here is some food for thought. A study from Brown University has found that smoking can make hangovers worse. Nicotine forces the body to release more cytokines - a type of protein connected to injuries. Smoking when drinking leads to an inflamed brain, head spinning and headaches.

Smoking when drinking leads to an inflamed brain, head spinning and headaches.

Dark liquors have a higher chance of causing hangovers

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Whiskey, brandy and bourbon are more likely to cause a hangover than vodka. The fermentation and distillation of alcohol creates toxins called cogeners. Cheap alcohol has a high concentration of cogeners (which explains why you are more likely to get a hangover after drinking cheap alcohol). Dark liquors also have a high concentration of it. One study found that there if you drink bourbon, there is a 33 percent chance you will suffer from a hangover, compared to just 3 percent if you have an equivalent amount of vodka. Note that in high quantities, any alcoholic drink can give you hangovers.

Take multivitamins

Alcohol is basically a toxin and toxins are metabolized and made harmless in the liver. To metabolize alcohol, the liver needs nutrients (zinc and vitamin Bs). The more alcohol the liver has to process, the more nutrients it needs. The liver stores some nutrients, but they are not inexhaustible. So when it sees that it is running out of nutrients, it calls for them from the bloodstream. Alcohol also destroys Vitamin B. So when the body's nutrients start getting depleted, you get a hangover. You can alleviate the effects to some extent by taking multivitamin tablets the next morning.

Do not drink fizzy drinks with liquor

Adding carbonated drinks to liquor is a bad idea. Fizzy drinks are carbonated. The gas goes right past the stomach into the intestine. It is important because the small intestine has a high absorptive capacity. The irony is, the gas also pushes cogeners into the small intestine where they are easily absorbed.

Do not drink on an empty stomach

When you are a bit tipsy, there is a high chance that you will forget your reservations against junk food which contain a lot of calories. So eat a good meal before you drink. It will also slow the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into your body, giving your liver more time to process it.

Eat a good meal before you drink. It will also slow the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into your body, giving your liver more time to process it.

Increase your water intake by a bit when you are drinking alcohol. One of the reasons why people suffer from hangovers is because they are dehydrated. So rehydration is key to avoiding the worst effects, the next day. If you can, drink coconut water. It will replenish electrolytes in your body. Follow these tips every time you have an hangover. The best thing however, is to moderate your intake of alcohol.