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Hangover remedies: what works?

health and fitness Updated: Dec 22, 2012 19:39 IST
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While you may not be hanging from the chandelier, a season of holiday parties makes it easy to overindulge. But here are a few dos and don'ts to help tame the hangover beast.

A tried and true method is coffee and over-the-counter painkillers to dull a hangover, and research proves it works. A study published December 2010 in the online science journal PLoS One found that drinking coffee about four hours after a night out works best, since that is when acetate levels begin to spike, which is blamed for causing those crushing hangover headaches.

BeerAlso rehydrate: Juice, water, ginger tea, and sports drinks will make you feel a little better. Fitness blog Blisstree recommends coconut water: "It's chock full of electrolytes (especially potassium) and can rehydrate you pretty quickly."

While some blogs and websites attest to sweating it out with a hot bath or sauna, CNN writes that it could further dehydrate your already dehydrated system. Researchers from the Finnish State Alcohol Company's Research Laboratories in Helsinki warn that taking a sauna after a night of drinking is dangerous, in that it can cause drops in blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms.

The only real cure for a hangover is not to drink, or to drink in moderation. If you imbibe, sip no more than one alcoholic beverage per hour and remember to hydrate with water. If you are feeling drunk, lay off the cocktails and load up on water, and avoid bubbly and very sweet drinks.

"Everyone will have a method they swear by, but there is no evidence to suggest the hair of the dog, bananas, effervescent drink tablets (containing vitamin B complex and vitamin C), green tea, cabbage, exercise, eggs, fresh air, ginseng and a lot of other hangover cures actually work," wrote health columnist Dr. Luisa Dillner for The Guardian in the UK on Monday. Your best bet: go to bed. In eight to 24 hours, you'll feel better, she says.

Like to drink but never had a hangover? A 2008 study from Boston University found that 25 to 30 percent of people may be resistant to them.