For decades, imbibers of beer, wine and spirits have awoken from nights of inebriated jubilation with throbbing heads, dry mouths and nauseated stomachs. The hangover has been a drinker’s rite of passage, the next-morning sacrifice to the gods of alcohol. To combat the pain and oppression brought on by the hangover, there have been many homemade and rumored “cures,” such as black coffee, cold showers, two aspirin, greasy food and the famous “hair of the dog,” which consists of drinking more alcohol the following morning to appease the hangover demons.
But what most drinkers never learn is that there is no such thing as a hangover cure after the damage has been done. Completely curing a hangover is possible only through preventative measures and drinking maintenance. It requires five “ingredients” and careful mindfulness before, during and after alcohol consumption. Let’s break down the five best hangover cures and the proper times to use them:
Before drinking alcohol
Greasy meals like Philly cheese steaks or sausage links and bacon have always been held in high regard for their potential as hangover cures. They are indeed effective, but only before a night of drinking. Eating a fatty meal before drinking will slow the absorption of alcohol as well as lesson irritation of the stomach lining.
Loading up on carbs with your greasy meal is a key preventive measure as well. Plenty of carbs will prevent low blood sugar and ease nausea, which lowers your chances of vomiting. So greasy-carb combos of pork lo mein and sausage pizza are ideal pre-game meals before a night out.
During drinking alcohol
“Water, water everywhere” needs to be your motto while drinking. Ideally, every drink consumed should be followed by a glass of water. Although that isn’t really convenient in a crowded bar, do your best to tack on a club soda and lemon here and there, especially near the end of the drinking session when you’re settling the tab. It’s a good idea to hydrate yourself before drinking, but it’s critical to rehydrate just before you go to bed. The hangover headache you’re looking to avoid is the result of a shrunken, dehydrated brain.
After drinking alcohol
Taking an aspirin right before bed will inhibit the production of prostaglandin, which is the body’s pain receptor. It’s key to take aspirin and avoid other over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen because these can be harmful to your liver and stomach lining after consuming alcohol.
A Balanced Breakfast
You’ve already had your greasy meal the night before, so now it’s time to have a healthy breakfast of eggs, fruit juice and a banana. Eggs contain cysteine, an amino acid required in the liver’s breakdown of alcohol to acetate. Fruit juice provides fructose and vitamins to increase the body’s rate of excreting toxins, and bananas are packed with the potassium you’ve lost from drinking.
It’s also helpful to keep in mind a few more tips regarding what you drink: Try to avoid the darker drinks, such as red wine, whiskey, brandy and bourbon, as they contain congeners, toxic chemicals created in alcohol’s fermentation process. Carbonation is a factor to keep in mind, as it increases the absorption of alcohol. And always remember the sage advice: “Liquor before beer, have no fear; beer before liquor, never been sicker.”egree, be sure that you get full credit for work completed.
About the Guest Blogger – This article was written by Community Relations Coordinator Joshua John on behalf of the University of Southern California which provides a Masters in Military Social Workdegree online. You can follow him on twitter: @joshuavjohn.