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First, some real talk: The only way to avoid a hangover is to limit your alcoholic intake. But there are still some steps you can take to avoid getting too turnt up while still enjoying yourself. And drinking smart is something you can really raise a glass to.
Before Happy Hour
Take Your Vitamins – It isn’t just dehydration that leads to the dreaded hangover. Part of the problem is inflammation. Head the effects off at the pass by popping an extra multivitamin or getting in some antioxidants in the form of some pomegranate juice before you hit the bar.
Get Some Sleep – A strong immune system is better equipped to deal with a night of drinking and getting a good night’s sleep is a surefire way to build a stronger immune system. Make sure you are well rested before you meet up with friends for cocktails.
Chow Down – It’s never a good idea to drink on an empty stomach. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and walnuts, are a great way to get your body the fuel it needs for breaking down alcohol.
While You Toast
Kill Carbonation – In a study conducted by Oxford University, the carbonation in bubbly drinks like Champagne and sparkling wine accelerate the body’s absorption of alcohol, getting you drunk faster. So skip the Champagne cocktails and avoid soda mixers in favor of fruit juices. You’ll avoid carbonation and sneak in some antioxidants too.
Stay Hydrated – Dehydration is what usually leads to those killer morning-after headaches, so supplement your alcohol intake with water. A good practice is to alternate each cocktail or beer with a glass of water. Or keep a water bottle handy and sip it continuously throughout the night.
Go for the Top Shelf – Finer spirits are filtered more so they contain less congeners, or byproducts of fermentation in alcohol, making the hangover associated with them less rigorous. Plus, you aren’t as likely to pound a pricey martini the way you would $2 shots.
After Last Call
Walk Home – Walking home from the bar is a good idea on two counts. First, if you’ve had a lot to drink, it’s not safe or legal for you to drive. Secondly, oxygen speeds up the rate at which alcohol toxins are broken down, so a brisk walk could do a lot to sober you up.
Take a Pill – It wouldn’t hurt to pop another one of those multivitamins you took earlier.
Sip Seltzer – Carbonation with alcohol is not good, but bubbles after are OK. A study at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China found that drinking regular soda water can help speed up the body’s alcohol metabolism, which means a shorter recovery. Stick to clear sodas like Sprite.
Let Yourself Heal – And if you still wake up with a hangover, don’t fall for the “hair of the dog” myth. If you’ve had a heavily distilled night, more drinks will only prolong your buzz and delay your hangover, not cure it. More real talk: The only true cure for a hangover is time.