New Year's Eve is around the corner. And that means parties that last all night, as does that magically refilling glass of alcohol. We're not going to be a killjoy and say, don't drink. Enjoy yourself. But follow these guidelines to save yourself that terrible hangover.
Before you leave home
Eat up: Think of food like a force field against the effects of alcohol. Commonly called soakage, what eating up basically does is lessens the ill-effects of the spirit. The general rule is, the more you eat, the more time it takes for the alcohol to affect you. This is because food helps reduce the formation of acetaldehyde, the main cause of hangover - in your stomach. Fat- or carbohydrate-rich foods, such as pizza and pasta, work best.
Drink milk: Well, what do you know. The childhood habit might just come in handy now. Milk apparently helps by forming a layer on the lining of the stomach, which may help limit the amount of alcohol going into your bloodstream. Wonder if a glass of White Russian counts.
At the bar
Do not mix: Here are the words your Google Glass (if you own one) should be flashing all night: Stick with one type of alcohol. Different alcohols contain various additives, and elements which, when combined, can give you terrible hangovers, as your body struggles to process everything at once. Also, avoid smoking while drinking. Yes, it looks cool. But it constricts your lungs, and decreases the oxygen flow to your blood.
Light over dark: White rum is better than dark; white wine is better than red. Dark liquors, and some tequilas, have a higher concentration of toxins formed during fermenting and distilling alcohol. These toxins can contribute to the severity of your hangover.
Drink more water: Didn't mummy always say, 'Drink more water'? Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that for every glass you have, your body can expel up to four times as much liquid. The diuretic effect, and the dehydration, makes a hangover worse. The more water you drink to rehydrate before, during and after, the less severe your hangover is likely to be.
Water can help you beat that hangover (Photo: Shutterstock)
Take it easy: Sip it, don't chug it; even if all your friends insist that's the appropriate thing to do. Your body absorbs alcohol quicker than you metabolise it. The faster you drink, the more time the toxins spend in your body, affecting your brain and other tissues.
Skip the fizz: According to the wise researchers at the University of Manchester, UK, the bubby mixers increase the delivery of alcohol to your blood, making you intoxicated faster. Now you know why dad drinks whisky with water.
Keep munching: Eating slows down the absorption of alcohol, so you have more time to metabolise what you're drinking.
After the party
Rehydrate: If dehydration is the main culprit, drinking water before going to bed naturally helps. The next morning, regardless of how you feel, drink another big glass of water at room temperature. You can also replace lost electrolytes with energy drinks, orange juice or coconut water.
Do not crash diet: In order to make up for the calories consumed at a party, do not diet the next day. Relax, there's time yet to feel guilty about it. But you don't want headaches, sluggishness, acidity and discomfort on the first day of the new year. Eat more frequently and have raw salads, fruits, lime juice and fluids.
As per international recommendations, the advisable consumption of alcohol is three to four units a day for men and two to three units a day for women. It is believed that if alcohol is consumed in this range, it would not pose significant health risks. But if you have existing health conditions, or are aged above 65, even sticking to these limits may not help.
- With inputs from Dr Saurabh Jain, consultant physician, Cumballa Hill Hospital And Heart Institute; Tripti Gupta, lifestyle nutrition consultant for health, beauty and wellness, iPink; Dr Amrapali Patil, weight managment expert, Trim N Tone.