Drinking Sensibly: 6 Tips for Avoiding a Hangover.

Published: 11th June 2009
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If you've never experienced the shakiness, throbbing headache, queasy stomach, cotton mouth, sandpaper tongue, and the overall feeling of having been trod upon by a herd of cattle that comes with the dreaded curse called a hangover, congratulations. It's something you don't want to experience ever. Unfortunately, most people who drink will experience it at least once in their lifetime - if not many times over. So we're going to talk about ways to prevent a hangover.

Actually, the only sure fire way to avoid a hangover is to not drink alcohol. But that's probably not the tip you had in mind; otherwise you wouldn't be reading this article. The next best thing is to drink sensibly and moderately. That means taking the following precautions.

1. Eat a substantial meal before you start drinking. Food will coat your stomach and enable it to better absorb the alcohol you'll be imbibing. If you can't get a meal in or have a pizza or a burger, then drink some milk. Eat as well while you're drinking. Nibble on some pretzels or nuts. This will slow down your rate of alcohol absorption.

2. Drink water before you start drinking. And continue to drink water while you're drinking alcohol. This will serve you well in several ways. First, it'll slow down your alcohol intake. Your body can only process so much alcohol in one hour. So you need to keep consumption to a level that your body is capable of processing. Secondly, alcohol dehydrates. One of the main causes of hangovers is extreme dehydration. So drink water. After your drinking spree and before going to sleep, drink at least 24 to 32 ounces (that's 3-4 big glasses) of water again. As you sleep, the alcohol molecules in your body will be replaced with the much more beneficial water molecules.

3. Take some Vitamin B and C, either in supplement form or other forms such as orange juice (for Vitamin C). Alcohol depletes nutrients and vitamins from your body so it's advisable to replenish immediately. It's a good idea to have an orange or grape juice chaser in between sips of alcohol so that you continue to replenish what's being removed by the alcohol. Vitamin B is good because it helps the body to process and, therefore, eliminate alcohol from the body at a faster rate.

4. Select your drinks smartly. Generally, darker drinks such as red wine, brandy, bourbon, whisky and tequila give worse hangovers than lighter drinks. That's because darker drinks have more congeners than white wine and clear liquors such as gin, vodka and rum. Congeners are impurities produced during fermentation that give the liquor most of its taste, aroma, and color.

From experience, you should be aware of how much and what type of drink you can handle. If you're not accustomed to drinking, perhaps you should think of having one of those low-alcohol content drinks that are available.

5. Do not mix drinks. Different alcoholic drinks have different congeners. By drinking a variety of alcoholic beverages, you're just giving your body more impurities and toxins to contend with. A particularly severe hangover may result when the body is incapable of processing all the impurities effectively.

6. Pace your drinks. Try and slow it down as much as possible. The body metabolizes alcohol at the rate of one half ounce per hour. An ounce would roughly equal one beer, or one glass of wine, or one shot of liquor. So that gives you an idea of how you should be pacing yourself. You can achieve a good pace if you sip rather than gulp your drinks down, dilute your alcohol with water, juice, or soda, avoid taking shots, and alternating between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Take these measures and you can rest assured of waking up clear-headed and hangover-less next morning.

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