how to prevent a hangover

A guide: how to prevent a hangover


The best protection, of course, is not to drink alcohol, but for those who have suffered a hangover, and would like to avoid repeating the experience, this post is for you.

What causes hangover

Hangover is primarily due to the accumulation of toxic breakdown products formed when your body metabolizes alcohol. Until enough of these chemicals (such as acetaldehyde) are eliminated from your system, you won’t feel totally fine. Dehydration (alcohol is a diuretic) makes all the symptoms worse.

Before an event 

Know your medication

If you taking any medication, know if it interacts with alcohol. Some medications, when mixed with alcohol, can increase or decrease their blood levels and how your body metabolizes alcohol. Ask your pharmacist to know.

Arrange for transportation 

For legal, moral, and safety reasons, you don’t want to drive if you have been drinking. Arrange ahead of time for a non-drinker to drive home or use a rideshare app or taxi. 

Eat food

Food in your stomach slows the absorption of alcohol, which is less harsh on your liver. A super-healthy choice before alcohol would be fatty fish such as salmon. Whatever you eat, a tablespoon of olive oil on your food can help. Try for a substantial meal with complex carbohydrates and fat, such as whole grain pasta, pizza, or a hamburger. 

Vitamins and antioxidants

Alcohol may especially deplete your B vitamins. Taking a multivitamin and/or a B complex vitamin a day before, the day of, and the day after an event could help. Also consider eating antioxidant rich foods before and after. 

Hydrate yourself

Drink water before you go. Alcohol dehydrates, and lack of fluids will concentrate the toxins and make you feel worse.

During event

Know your limits

Know how much alcohol your body can tolerate, and don’t go beyond your limits.

Alternate Water

For every drink of alcohol you drink, drink a glass of water or juice after. Make it your policy that after every drink, you drink a glass of clear fluids.

Avoid mixing alcohol types

The more types of alcohol you mix together, the greater the risk of hangover. Be especially careful with sweet cocktails that combine multiple alcohol types. Energetic mixed with alcohol is dangerous—you can be severely intoxicated yet feel awake.

Drink light colored drinks

Drinks that are light colored such as white wine, vodka, or gin are less likely to cause a hangover. Darker drinks such as bourbon, whisky, red wine, or brandy are full of chemicals, called congeners, that worsen a hangover.

Limit sparkling

Sparkling drinks such as champagne are absorbed faster, so you will get drunk quicker. Avoid drinking more than one glass. 

Watch your drink

Unfortunately there are people who “spike” drinks. Always hold or keep a close eye on whatever you are eating or drinking.

Eat snacks

Keep eating during the event. Nuts and snacks with fiber are especially good. If you are prone to acid reflux, avoid your trigger foods, as alcohol can make the reflux worse.

After event

Do not take paracetamol (Tylenol, etc.)

The mixture of alcohol and paracetamol is severely toxic to your liver. If you need a pain reliever, an NSAID is much safer.

Eat snack

If you are hungry, eat a snack before bed, but try not to lay down immediately after food, as it might trigger reflux.

Drink water before bed

Drink water or tea again before bed. If your urine is not clear or light yellow, you are dehydrated, and need more water.

Keep water by your bed

You may wake up at night (alcohol disturbs normal sleep cycles), and if you do and have a dry mouth, drink more water.

Get enough sleep

Don’t stay up too late. You need as much sleep as you can to recuperate. If you are a snorer, you will probably snore worse than usual after alcohol. Sleeping on your side may help.

In the morning

Eat a good breakfast, maybe eggs, fiber, fruit, and fluids. 

To find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, check out our website:

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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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