If you drink too much alcohol the night before, you may wake up with a nasty hangover. Read on for our tips on minimizing the effects of alcohol and avoiding a hangover this holiday weekend.
Stay hydrated. When you drink alcohol, it inhibits the secretion of a hormone from your brain that conserves fluid from your kidneys. Regardless of the amount of food or water you consume while you drink alcoholic beverages, you are losing more fluid, potassium, sodium and minerals than usual and can become dehydrated. Aim to drink a large glass of water after each alcoholic beverage. Drink more water before you go to bed.
Pick a better beverage. Congeners, a byproduct of the fermentation process, can lead to a more severe hangover. The highest concentrations of this byproduct can be found in dark liquids, like tequila, bourbon and whiskey. Stick with vodka, white wine and gin as they contain little to no congeners.
Have an indulgent dinner before you go out. This is the one time your doctor may encourage you to eat a fatty meal. Rich, greasy foods can help slow your body’s absorption of alcohol and protect your stomach.
Don’t drink too much too fast. Your body can only metabolize about an ounce of alcohol an hour, so don’t have more than one drink every 60 minutes.
Treat a hangover headache safely. If you do end up with a hangover headache, the pain medication you choose matters. Acetaminophen, a common pain reliever, can lead to acute liver failure when taken in high doses with too much alcohol. If you drink more than two drinks in one day, don’t take more than two grams of acetaminophen (four extra-strength Tylenol) in a 24-hour period.
For more information about how alcohol impacts your health, visit Piedmont’s Health Library.