We understand. Staying fit, healthy, and happy sometimes means enjoying more than one glass of red wine. Still, don’t go reaching for the hair of the dog—there are healthier ways to wake up ready to get back on track. Here are 13 scientifically supported methods to help deal with that hangover, and possibly prevent it from happening in the first place.
- Refuel at the breakfast table.
Alcohol will lead to a drop in blood sugar, so boost it back up with a glass of apple juice in the morning! Fruit juices are a good way to treat mild low blood sugar, but if the situation feels dire then choose something with a high glycemic index, like darkhorse Rice Chex or a French baguette.
- Go one for one.
It’s no secret that drinking water can help deflect that pounding a.m. headache (pretty much the opposite of a good morning). Tissues around the brain are mostly made of water, and dehydration will shrink these tissues, creating pressure in the head. Alcohol can lead to dehydration, so make sure to continuously drink water throughout the night. Try matching each alcoholic drink with one glass of water to avoid that next-day pain.
- Chow down.
No, just because beer has calories doesn’t mean it counts as dinner. Drinking on an empty stomach will allow alcohol to absorb faster, so try getting in a good meal with lots of healthy carbs before breaking out the bottle. Some research even shows a stomach full of food may help keep blood alcohol content at a lower level.
- Keep it light.
Darker drinks like red wine or rum contain more congeners (substances produced during fermentation), which may contribute to causing hangovers. Skip the whiskey in favor of vodka or a glass of white wine!
- Stay classy.
The more expensive liquors are usually distilled more times, so contain fewer congeners—as we just learned, a cause for shaking-fist-at-the-sky action. So pass on the well liquor and take it up a notch with some top-shelf booze.
- Take a multivitamin.
Drinking depletes nutrients in the body, including vitamin B12 and folate. Try popping in a multivitamin to replenish what’s lost from a night of drinking.
- Skip the bubbles.
Opt out of champagne or other alcohol that’s mixed with carbonated beverages—research shows that the bubbles may cause alcohol to be absorbed more quickly, hence that New Year’s Day hangover.
- Practice your downward dog.
Scientists have yet to prove that a few sun-salutations will whisk away a hangover, but breathing and meditation exercises in yoga can get oxygen flowing and blood pumping to help relieve stress, usually abundant when the world feels sideways. Namaste!
- Grab some potassium.
When dehydrated, we lose not only water but electrolytes too. Gain ‘em back by snacking on potassium-rich foods like bananas or spinach. And if you’re thinking ahead, stock up on Pedialyte—one bottle has twice the sodium and five times as much potassium as the same size bottle of Gatorade.
- Scramble eggs.
Eggs contain taurine, which has been shown to reverse liver damage caused by a night of heavy boozing. Scramble them up with lots of veggies for added antioxidant power!
- Sip ginger tea.
Hangovers sometimes come with a side of upset stomach, so try a warm mug of ginger tea to settle things down. Ginger has been shown to help combat nausea.
- Get some fresh air.
Oxygen increases the rate that alcohol toxins are broken down, so bundle up and get outdoors. A little exercise never hurt anyone—and it may even release some endorphins to boost that post-hangover mood.
- Play D.D.
We’re sorry to say that the only sure-fire way to avoid a hangover is to skip the booze altogether. So if waking up to a pounding headache doesn’t sound fun, play designated driver for the night (even if not actually driving). At the very least, you’ll have some great stories to tell.