How To Prevent And Manage A Hangover; Part 2/5
Part 2/5: Do This Before Drinking
In part one of my How to Prevent and Manage a Hangover series, I outlined symptoms and causes of hangovers. In the next four posts, I will provide you with tips for what you can do before, during and after the party/drinking. In this article, I give you four tips on what to do before you drink.
Alright, so you know you are going out and will probably booze it up. You want to drink but do not want to be wallowing in hangover hell the next day. Whats a guy/girl to do? Here are four things you can do before you drink so that you will not be praying to the porcelain gods later.
1. Eat a high quality meal
Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach is asking for trouble and may guarantee you a very painful night and morning. As soon as you drink alcohol, the body starts to break it down, and some alcohol is always absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Having food in the stomach, particularly a combination of proteins, fats and dense carbohydrates, will slow this absorption process.
Before going out, be sure to eat:
A. Healthy fats
- Many experts believe a meal moderate to high in healthy fats is most beneficial before drinking. This is because fat is digested slowly and will protect the stomach from the irritating effects of alcohol.
- An old folk remedy in certain Mediterranean countries is to drink a large spoonful of olive oil before a night of drinking. If drinking olive oil straight-up does not appeal to you, a more manageable technique is to dip bread into the oil first.
B. Vitamin B and C rich foods
- Consuming fruits rich in vitamins B and C is helpful. The vitamins will help replace nutrients you will lose from drinking and the fructose (fruit sugar) aids in the absorption of alcohol.
- Studies have proven that fructose also increases the rate at which the body removes toxins such as those left over from alcohol metabolism.
- Eating fruit will also keep your blood-sugar levels steady and will aid in hydration.
Some fruits to eat include:
Think ahead and start hydrating your body long before you take your first sip of alcohol. Start drinking 24-36 hours before.
Drink the following:
- One of the main causes of hangovers is dehydration, which means you should drink lots of water one to two days before your party.
- Continue to hydrate during the morning, afternoon and evening of the party.
- To make water more flavorful, infuse fruits and veggies with water. Doing this will increase your vitamin intake too. For some ideas on which fruits and veggies to blend together, check out my article, “Increase Hydration With Infused Water.”
B. Green tea
- Some natural health practitioners suggest that drinking one to two cups of organic green tea before imbibing is helpful.
- Green tea is believed to detoxify the liver and in return, reduces hangover symptoms the next morning. One of my favorite brands of green tea is Rishi Organic Jasmine Green Tea.
3. Consume vitamins and supplements
Consuming the right supplements before a night of drinking can be beneficial in avoiding hangovers. As with any nutrition advice, be sure to consult a physician or health practitioner before self-prescribing and combining vitamins, supplements, and/or herbs.
Here are three supplements that are known to thwart a nasty hangover:
- Many people are deficient in this anti-inflammatory mineral. Alcohol depletes magnesium from the body and hangovers are linked to inflammation.
- If you do not have magnesium capsules handy, you can choose to eat foods rich in magnesium.
Food sources of magnesium include:
- certain fruits (bananas, figs)
- fish (halibut, salmon)
- green leafy vegetables (Swiss chard, spinach)
- nuts (almonds, cashews)
- seeds (sunflower, sesame and pumpkin)
B. Milk thistle extract
An herb native to the Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa, milk thistle has been used for thousands of years to cure and treat ailments of the liver.
- Milk thistle contains the chemical compound, silymarin, which aids in protecting and restoring normal liver function. It prevents toxins such as ethanol from fully invading the liver, increases cell reproduction after damage, and prevents inflammation in liver cells.
Studies performed with rats have shown that taurine speeds up the breakdown of acetaldehyde into acetic acid and aids in the reversal of liver damage.
4. Plan ahead
Stockpile your favorite hangover remedies and put them somewhere that will be accessible when you get home from your joyous celebrations. The last thing you will want to do before bed or first thing in the morning is gather whatever you will need to battle the hangover from hell that has invaded your body.
Here are some essentials that you should have ready:
A. Homemade sports drink
Skip the store-bought sports drinks. Instead, make your own. Your homemade version will contain less sugar, no artificial additives and preservatives, fewer calories, and will be less expensive.
- To make your own version of Gatorade, all you have to do is combine some water, a sprinkle of sea-salt, the juice of a lemon and/or lime, and a splash of juice from a freshly squeezed fruit such as an orange. You can also add a little bit of coconut water to your concoction. Stir and place this in the fridge for later and you will have a great go-to drink for when you are feeling woozy.
B. Water bottle
- Fill one or two large stainless steel sports bottles like a Klean Kanteen or HydroFlask with water and place them somewhere for later. This is one less step that you will have to do when you get home from the party.
- For convenience, put one in your fridge and one by your bed.
C. Vitamins and supplements
Gather your vitamins and supplements together. Before you go out, put them somewhere that will be easy to get to when you get home and when you wake up in the morning.
Make sure you have all the ingredients needed for a snack before bed and for a breakfast meal the next morning.
- Stock your fridge. In my upcoming articles I outline which foods are best.
Preparation leads to success. This saying is not just true with work and school, but it also applies to hangovers. If you know ahead of time that you are going to be drinking (and want to curtail feeling like crap), it is essential that you plan ahead. Hydrate, take your supplements, and make sure that your fridge and pantry is stocked with the food and drink your body will need after over-indulging.
Share your thoughts
I know many of you have a trusty anti-hangover plan. I want to hear about it.
- When you know you are going to be drinking more than the occasional one or two cocktails, beer, etc., do you follow a special “avoid-a-hangover” routine?
- What do you do before a night (or day) of drinking?
Share your tricks in the comment section below this article.
Part 3 of How To Prevent And Manage A Hangover
Now that you know what you need to do before you drink, stay tuned for the next article in this hangover series. The next post tells you everything you need to do while drinking. Read it here:
To read any articles in my How To Prevent A Hangover Series, click on the corresponding link below:
- How To Prevent And Manage A Hangover; Part 1/5: Symptoms And Causes
- How To Prevent And Manage A Hangover; Part 2/5: Do This Before Drinking
- How To Prevent And Manage A Hangover; Part 3/5: Do This While Drinking
- How To Prevent And Manage A Hangover; Part 4/5: Do This After Drinking/When You Get Home
- How To Prevent And Manage A Hangover; Part 5/5: Do This The Next Day
When she is not slaying fat and building muscle, Jennifer can be found trekking barefoot, traveling, cooking and refining her photography skills. She also enjoys reading and writing about food culture, history and the science of human movement.