Hangover remedies

You crack your eyes open, the room is spinning, your vision is blurred, and the details from the previous night are vague at best. This is your body’s way of punishing you for that extra shot of tequila from the night before.

From countless nights of drinking, students develop their own theories on how best to avoid a hangover. We all know how to get one, but cannot agree on what cures them.

The most effective way to prevent that dreaded hangover is to drink in moderation, or not to drink at all. Since this is much easier said than done, here are a few tips for the next time you decide to go out boozing.

Eating before a night out partying is always a good idea, as the food soaks up a great deal of the alcohol before it enters the bloodstream, which may prevent a hangover. Eating high-fat foods before drinking (instead of after, which tends to be the case) helps to line the intestines, slowing the absorption of the alcohol.

Foods high in protein, such as fish, nuts and beans, are also thought to slow alcohol absorption.

Always remember to leave your chemistry skills in the lab, and avoid mixing different types of drinks during the night. By sticking to one drink, you limit the variety of toxins your body has to deal with and you are less likely to suffer from an upset stomach the following morning.

When considering your drink of choice for the evening, keep in mind that drinking clear alcohol, such as vodka and gin, has less adverse effects on the body than dark-hued drinks. Red wine, bourbons, scotches and stout beers contain higher levels of toxins known as tannins that require greater effort by the liver and kidneys to rid from your system.

The headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, tremors, vomiting and heartburn that characterize a hangover can best be prevented by drinking plenty of fluids, preferably of the non-alcoholic variety, and eating sufficient nutrients.

Most alcoholic drinks contain diuretics–chemicals that cause the body to expel large amounts of water. Due to over-consumption and frequent trips to the bathroom, brain cells become dehydrated and shrink, causing nerve endings to stretch–the source of those pounding headaches.

To replenish your body’s fluids, drink water throughout the evening, especially before you go to bed. Sports drinks are also effective, since they supply essential salts and minerals flushed out in the bathroom.

Fruits and veggies also replace lost nutrients. Fruit juices are packed with sugar and vitamins, and act as a good thirst quencher. Grapefruit juice helps detoxify the liver.

An easy recipe to prevent or relieve a hangover that fits into any student’s budget is honey on toast. When eaten before going to bed, or shortly after waking up the next morning, the fructose in the honey will speed the processing of alcohol remaining in the system. The B6 Vitamin in honey also helps metabolize alcohol. The simple carbohydrates of bread neutralize the overly acidic stomach, and help raise and stabilize blood sugar levels. If the thought of honey on toast makes your stomach turn (as if it needed any encouragement), other foods like muffins, cereal or oatmeal have similar effects.

For those lucky individuals with assignments to finish, or tests to study for, have a cup of coffee. Not only will the caffeine provide that extra boost you need, but it also constricts blood vessels in the brain and counters the cerebral blood pressure that amplifies headaches.

In extreme cases, where the aches and pains are more than you can handle, ibuprofen or aspirin may be taken before going to bed, or the next morning. Take one or two pills with a tall glass of water in order to prevent and relieve hangover symptoms, and avoid further dehydration.

Don’t let all this talk about pain and suffering the day after hold you back though. Go out, get drunk, and embarrass yourself a little or a lot, because you likely won’t remember it the next morning anyway. Even better, everyone else may be just as intoxicated and not remember either!

Happy drinking!

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