On New Year’s Day, millions of Americans will wake up feeling sick, headachy, nauseous and dizzy. They will be suffering from what’s commonly known as a hangover, an uncomfortable condition that’s laid low over 77 percent of drinkers at one point in their lives.
Unfortunately too much champagne can cause pain. And while we don’t know exactly why booze can trigger hangovers, the theory is that alcohol is a diuretic. If you don’t drink enough water during or even after imbibing, your body will feel like the Mojave Desert and won’t be able to function properly.
Another reason is that the fermentation process in producing alcohol yields a byproduct called congeners, also known as fusil oils, that are essentially impurities our bodies treat like a poison, and a headache is a very common sign of poison processing.
Dr. Alexander Mauskop, the director of the New York Headache Center who is also a board-certified neurologist, tells Newsmax Health that drinking water between alcoholic drinks can help prevent a hangover. He adds that certain drinks also appear to be more likely to cause problems than others.
“Clear spirits like vodka and gin tend to produce less intense hangovers than congener-rich spirits such as red wine and cognac,” he says.
Here are some other tips on how to enjoy the spirits of the holidays without a hangover:
1. Eat something salty. Contrary to popular belief, having a salty snack might prevent a headache when you are drinking at a party.
2. Strike a pose. A little yoga can reduce headache pain, especially deep diaphragmatic breathing, says Mauskop, the author of “The Headache Alternative: A Neurologist’s Guide to Drug-Free Relief.” “I wouldn’t do headstands or other inversions but gentle stretching and deep breathing can ease the discomfort of a hangover,” he says.
3. Pump iron. Hit the gym or get outdoors and do some form of exercise. “I wouldn’t over do it or lift heavy weights but follow a beginner’s guide to strength training to get the blood pumping and circulating through the body,” he says.
4. Have a glass of water with every drink. Dr. Kevin Smith, a facial plastic surgeon in Houston Texas, and an expert on headache remedies recommends a one-to-one ratio of water-to-alcohol to prevent dehydration.
5. Drink quality alcoholic beverages. Smith tells Newsmax Health that, especially with wines, the superior labels cause fewer problems. The bubbles in champagne and Prosecco wine can increase the speed of alcohol absorption, so be doubly wary of the bubbly.
6. Try a topical gel. To avoid stomach related problems caused by ingesting the common pain reliever aspirin, apply a topical product such as Topofen or Aspercreme, says Mauskop, at night before you go to bed.
7. Try an OTC painkiller. It’s better to go with Tylenol or Advil than aspirin when you are drinking because alcohol increases your risk of stomach bleeding, says Smith.
8. Take magnesium and folate. “Eat a lot of dark leafy vegetables at the party,” says Mauskop. Researchers at Australia’s Queensland University of Technology found that folks who ate foods like spinach, broccoli, cantaloupe, lentils, and grains fortified with folic acid suffered fewer headaches.
9. Go easy with food. If you have a hangover, eat a bland diet to settle your tummy and take a Migralex caplet. Migralex is a unique blend of aspirin and magnesium developed by Mauskop to ease headache pain and is widely available at pharmacies nationwide. “I don’t recommend Hair of the Dog,” he says. “Drinking more alcohol the next day is primarily for alcoholics who are going through withdrawal. Best to take it easy and recover!”
10. Moderation is key. The best way to avoid a hangover is to avoid drinking too much in the first place, says Smith. “When you feel you are getting a buzz on, slow down and enjoy the celebration. Your body will thank you the next morning!”
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