Waking up with a hangover is everyone’s worst nightmare, but with New Year’s Eve merely days away it’s about to become reality for a lot of overzealous party animals. When these people do wake up with a pounding headache and nausea that just won’t quit, they’ll undoubtedly be searching for the Gatorade they thought they purchased last night before drinking water straight from the faucet.
Kanye recommends sunglasses and Advil, but what if you could turn back the clock and take steps to prevent the current state of misery you find yourself in?
While some partiers turn to unorthodox hangover treatment methods on New Year’s Day, such as Pedialite, over-the-counter pills, and even an actual IV drip, let’s try and take some preventative steps to stop this New Year’s hangover before it starts. After all, it is easier to prevent a hangover than it is to battle it on a Sunday morning when you’re not even trying to roll out of bed to charge your iPhone.
What Is A Hangover?
The term hangover refers to a variety of signs and symptoms that are a direct result of drinking too much alcohol and combine to make up some of the worst mornings of your life. It’s caused by alcohol’s diuretic effect on the body and, of course, by diuretic effect, we mean it increases the body’s production of urine. This is why hangover prevention and treatment revolves around water and hydration.
If you notice yourself urinating more after you start drinking, it’s because of the alcohol consumption that’s causing you to become dehydrated. Your body is telling you that you’re dehydrated through an unquenchable thirst, dizziness, and lightheadedness. Other sources of hydration, like Gatorade and coconut water, are all well and good when you’re in the full swing of a hangover, but stick with water before and during drinking time to cut down on sugar.
“I will avoid sugar and desserts as much as possible because sugar taxes the adrenal glands and the immune system,” Dr. Carolyn Dean, Medical Advisory Board Member – Nutritional Magnesium Association, told Medical Daily in an email. “When adrenal function is impaired or weak, a person may suffer from low blood sugar, low blood pressure, low body temperature, and a fatigue/exhaustion.”
Hydration may be key, but dehydration is not the only cause of a hangover. Factors such as inflammation and oxidative stress also play a role. As your immune system comes into contact with the alcohol coursing through your body, it correctly identifies it as a toxin and triggers an inflammatory response. Alcohol-induced oxidative stress is not only linked to the ethanol in alcohol being metabolized, but it also caused the depletion of antioxidants and glutathione (GSH) levels — something tied to more than 90 diseases, conditions, or complications.
Preventing a hangover is one of the only times it is recommended that you avoid healthy food and go right for fried and fatty foods. Clearly, this is not ideal for people looking to stay trim and fit for whatever ostentatious outfit they picked out for the night. However, if you’re more concerned about the crippling hangover that awaits anyone who drinks alcohol on an empty stomach, then go right ahead and fill up on a satisfying meal packed with macros (carbs, protein, and fat). This will smooth the transition as your body metabolizes all of those shots. Nothing absorbs alcohol quicker than an empty stomach.