A hangover is an unpleasant feeling associated with too much alcohol intoxication. It’s characterized by symptoms such as thirst, nausea, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, increased blood pressure, dizziness, muscle aches, weakness, and sweating. These hangover symptoms result from mild dehydration, inflammation, disrupted sleep, acetaldehyde exposure, and gastrointestinal irritation. Although alcohol is the primary cause of a hangover, there are many other components contained in these beverages that can make the unpleasant feeling worse. For instance, compounds like congeners enhance the smell and taste of alcoholic beverages. Other compounds like sulfites act as preservatives, especially in wine. There are many ways to prevent a hangover, as explained below:
1. Drink in moderation
This is among the best ways to prevent hangover symptoms. Too much drinking of alcoholic beverages leads to hangovers. On the other hand, moderate drinking or complete abstinence is the best option. However, most people don’t know how much moderate drinking is. There’s no specific quantity that’s safe for drinking. The quantity will vary between individuals depending on some factors like the amount of food taken, the level of sleep one has, and the amount of water taken/hydration levels.
2. Stay hydrated
Most alcoholic beverages are diuretic in nature, meaning they largely contribute to dehydration. It’s not dehydration that leads to hangovers, although it contributes to hangover symptoms such as thirst, fatigue, dry mouth, and headache. To prevent dehydration and the symptoms associated with it, you should stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, including water, green tea, and soda water. Staying hydrated will lower the risk of liver damage from alcoholic drinks. Experts warn of taking beverages like energy drinks or fresh orange juice with alcohol since their combination with alcohol produces ethanol compounds that can result in liver damage. One can also eat water-rich foods such as watermelon, zucchini, cauliflower, cucumber, and lettuce.
3. Have a hearty breakfast
A recent study found that low blood sugar levels directly affect hangovers. Taking alcohol results in low levels of blood sugar by interrupting glucose release from the liver into one’s bloodstream. This can possibly harm diabetic patients taking insulin who are glucose deficient. Low blood sugar levels lead to hangover symptoms like headaches and general body weakness.
4. Avoid alcoholic beverages with high congener levels
Some alcoholic drinks have chemicals called congeners, which are responsible for hangovers. These chemical compounds include acetone, methanol, and isopentanol. If you take an alcoholic beverage containing any of these congeners, you’ll experience a high hangover intensity, particularly methanol. Some of the alcoholic beverages containing high levels of congeners to avoid are tequila, whiskey, and cognac.
5. Get enough sleep
Too much alcohol can interrupt your sleep patterns and reduce sleep quality. In most cases, poor sleep doesn’t result in hangover symptoms but can lead to irritability and fatigue. It’s essential to get enough sleep immediately after taking alcoholic beverages so that your body can recover. Sleep duration and quality will help you prevent a hangover.
6. Eat before drinking
It’s advisable to take a good meal before you start drinking any alcoholic beverage. This way, you’ll slow down alcohol absorption into your bloodstream, thus preventing a hangover. Additionally, food also lowers the concentration of alcohol in the bloodstream, thus lowering hangover effects.
7. Take supplements
You can take some specific supplements to prevent a hangover. Body inflammation assists in fighting infections and repairing damaged tissues. Studies show that low-grade inflammation is the main cause of hangover symptoms. Experts recommend taking NSAIDs drugs like naproxen, ibuprofen, or aspirin since they’ve got some components that relieve hangover symptoms. The only downside to these drugs is that they can cause stomach irritation. People should also avoid taking acetaminophen since its combination with alcohol can harm the liver. Some of the best supplements to help prevent hangovers include red ginseng, clove extract, pyritinol, and tolfenamic acid.
In conclusion, these are some of the top ways to prevent a hangover. You can also consider engaging in one form of exercise or another after drinking to metabolize the alcohol content in your bloodstream. To completely prevent a hangover, you can avoid alcoholic beverages.
Sources: https://ez-lifestyle.com/blog/16-hangover-prevention-tips https://www.wikihow.com/Prevent-a-Hangover https://greatist.com/health/13-legit-ways-stop-hangover