The summertime is here and, let’s be honest, a lot of drinking and partying is about to begin. Everyone loves going out and having a good time with their friends, but it’s safe to say nobody loves the hangover that comes after a night of drinking. So here are a few tips that can help to avoid that pounding headache and nausea you usually feel the morning after.

For starters, I think it’s important to know exactly what a hangover is and what causes it. Drinking alcohol leads to an abnormal amount of peeing, shrinking of your brain, and the production of toxic chemicals that will make you feel terrible. The severity of a hangover depends on how much you drink, what you drink, what order you drink it in, and whether or not you have food in your stomach. Some things that can come with a hangover are a massive headache, nausea, fatigue, and trembling.

The biggest effect of drinking alcohol is serious dehydration. When alcohol enters your body, it tells your pituitary gland not to produce vasopressin, which is the hormone that keeps your body hydrated. Without vasopressin, all liquids go straight to your bladder, which is the reason that you urinate so often. Due to the constant peeing, you lose approximately four times more liquid than you gain. So, why does dehydration cause a headache? It’s because your organs are so desperate for hydration that they will take water from the brain, causing your brain to shrink. That just sounds painful.

Obviously, how much you drink will determine how severe the hangover is, but what you drink and the order that you drink it in also plays a big roll. Darker alcohols, such as red wine, whiskey, brandy, bourbon, and tequila, produce more impurities during fermentation than light colored alcohols like white wine, rum, or vodka. These impurities are called congeners and they tend to make all hangover symptoms worse. Carbonated drinks like beers and champagne also tend to give a nasty headache due to the fact that carbonation increases your blood’s absorption of alcohol. The order that you drink them also plays a roll. I’m sure most people have head the saying “liquor before beer you’re in the clear, beer before liquor makes you sicker”, and that is partly right. Drinking liquor before beer definitely does not guarantee that you will not get sick, so don’t think you have the green light to drink more than if it was the other way around. But, the reason the saying is partly true is because the carbonation in beer can create a mainlining effect if you switch to hard liquor.

So, here are some tips that will help you avoid – or at least minimize the pain of – a hangover.

Before you begin drinking:

  • EAT!* Have a full, quality, and protein packed meal. A full stomach will help to absorb some of the alcohol and will protect your stomach lining.

While you are drinking:

  • Take it slow. Chugging your drinks or taking multiple shots in a row is not doing anyone any good. Not only will drinking that much cause a severe hangover the next day, but it can lead to actions or decisions that can ruin not only your night but also the night for the people around you. Make sure to stay in control.
  • Stay hydrated. Throughout the night make sure to drink water. Dehydration is the main cause of so many of the hangover symptoms, so if you drink water in between your cocktails you will have a much better chance of not feeling awful the next day.
  • Don’t mix. All alcohols have different types of congeners, so mixing them together will cause some serious morning-after pain.

After drinking:

Before bed

  • Hydrate. Have at least two full glasses of water before you go to sleep.

Morning after

  • Eat a well-balanced meal.* Eat foods that will help to replenish all of the vitamins that were lost from the constant urinating. Good options are a banana and an egg dish.
  • Hydrate even more! You can’t imagine how much simply staying hydrated will help you to feel better. After drinking, a lot of people tend to turn to drinks such as Gatorade since it is known to replenish electrolytes, but a lot of sports drinks tend to have high amounts of sugar, which can actually make you feel worse. Instead, drink coconut water. Coconut water contains five of the electrolytes found in human blood, whereas sports drinks only contain two. Also, if you are feeling nauseous, try drinking ginger or peppermint tea, they will help to reduce the nausea. DO NOT drink coffee. I know a lot of people crave coffee in the morning, but the caffeine will only dehydrate your body even more, make you feel worse not better.

*Head over to our website’s recipes section to find some great dinner and breakfast ideas to make sure you are eating a delicious and healthy meal both before and after a night of drinking.

Another helpful tip would be to stay away from sugary drinks. Here is a list of some healthier drink options.

Cocktails

  • La Berceuse – any top shelf tequila (don julio, patron), absinthe, agave nectar, lemon, strawberries, and seltzer.
  • Crimson Crush – any top shelf vodka (belvedere, grey goose, crystal head), pink grapefruit, pomegranate seeds, and st. germain elderflower liqueur.
  • White Peach Julep – any top shelf bourbon (journey man, four roses, wild turkey), peach liqueur, fresh white peach, mint.
  • Brooklyn Cocktail – top shelf gin (leopold’s, schramm organic, tanqueray), arugula, raspberries, peach nectar, and lemon juice.

(Get the full recipes by clicking here)

Gluten Free Beer Brands

  • Dogfish Head (Tweason’ale)
  • Estrella Damm (Daura)
  • Omission
  • Harvester Brewing
  • Bard’s
  • Green’s
  • Redbridge

Non-GMO Beer Brands

  • Peak Organic
  • Wolaver’s Fine Organic Ales
  • Squatters Organic Amber Ale
  • Organic Zwickel Bier Pale Ale

Non-GMO Wines

  • Biokult
  • Tarantas
  • Frey Vineyards
  • Sofos

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to encourage people to get extremely drunk. It is to empower you to protect your body from the dangers of alcohol on the nights that you do decide to go out. Alcohol is still toxic to our systems, hence why we have hangovers to begin with. Try to keep the drinking to a minimum and always stay safe!