Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Reduce the effects of a hangover?

Reduce the effects of a hangover?
Research supports the concept that the major cause of a hangover is simply drinking too much; drinking a large quantity of liquor quickly, as in drinking games, tends to increase the incidence of hangovers, not to mention other negative effects, like alcohol poisoning. So, pacing yourself and limiting yourself to one drink an hour are ways to keep headaches and stomach upset at bay. Try:

* drinking slowly
* sipping rather than gulping
* diluting drinks
* avoiding shots
* alternating alcoholic with non-alcoholic beverages
* eating a substantial meal before drinking

Here are some popular tips on how to do just that:
Chow down. Eat a substantial meal before you go out to a party or bar. Bread products and foods high in protein, like milk and cheese; slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream by coating your stomach and small intestine. Nibbling on finger foods throughout the night can also slow the intoxication process.

Drink for the right reasons. Social occasions and celebrations are pretty good reasons for having a drink. Reducing stress, releasing anger, or trying to prove something to someone are unhealthy motivations for alcohol consumption and may actually quicken the intoxication process and increase nasty side effects.

Hold that line. You're probably familiar with your tolerance of alcoholic beverages (the point when the alcohol you've consumed begins to cause noticeable physical and psychological changes). Crossing your line can easily send you into hangover land the next morning. Challenge yourself to hold that line -- set and state a drink max before you go out -- your body and friends will thank you tomorrow.

Consider the congeners. Congeners are natural by-products of alcohol fermentation. The higher the congener content, the greater the hangover. Gin and vodka have the fewest congeners, while bourbon and red wine claim the most.

Pace yourself. Hangover helpers and healthy drinkers recommend one drink per hour as a guide. This rate gives your body a chance to process the alcohol without sending it special delivery to your head.

Mix, not! Avoid alternating the types of alcohol you consume. If you begin with beer, stick with beer to the end. Starting with Scotch? Stay with Scotch, and so on. For many, downing different kinds of drinks leads to headaches and sick stomachs. It's challenging enough for your body to react to one type of foreign substance, so why give it a harder time with two, three, or four?

Alternate. Start your partying with some food, then have a beer, then down some water or juice, then have another beer (remember to pace yourself along the way). Don't switch off with carbonated drinks -- they can speed up intoxication and heighten hangovers.

Sip or sink. Drink each alcoholic beverage slowly. Remember, your liver can only handle about one ounce of alcohol an hour. Rapid consumption of alcohol via shots, funnels, and drinking games are sure to win you a big hangover.

Have another drink... of water. Alcohol is a diuretic. Drink plenty of water during and after alcohol use to ward off dehydration, headaches, and arches.

Enough said. Cheers to healthy drinking!

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