Headed out to a party or a big, boozy night out? Even when we don’t plan on drinking too much, sometimes those fancy cocktails and two-for-one pints can get the best of us.
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Unfortunately, having a hangover is seriously not fun, and can set us back on our diet and fitness goals, too.
This step-by-step party plan will help protect you from a morning of sluggishness and regret.
Before/During The Party
1. Keep Hydrated
You probably already know this one, but a huge part of being hungover is simply dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic and wildly dehydrating, leading to headaches and pain the next day. To combat this, drink at least one glass of water for every beverage you sip. In addition to counteracting the dehydrating effects of your libation, this will also slow down the rate at which you’re guzzling down booze.
2. Eat A Big, Healthy Meal
Before a big night out, enjoy a dense, high-fibre meal chockfull of complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. Lining your stomach with slow-digesting foods like proteins, carbs and healthy fats will cause the alcohol to be absorbed at a slower pace.
3. Add Garlic
When you consume alcohol, the liver breaks it down into a toxic compound called acetaldehyde. Garlic contains a chemical that can neutralize acetaldehyde, so add it liberally to your pre-party meal (just make sure to brush your teeth afterwards).
4. Avoid Sugary Drinks
Sugary cocktails are not only high in calories, but they tend to make hangovers much more intense. Instead, sip vodka sodas with lime or other, lower-calorie beverages.
5. Avoid Dark And Cheap Liquor
Congeners are an ingredient found in dark liquors and they tend to aggravate hangovers. You can avoid them by drinking clearer liquors like vodka, light rum and gin. In addition, more expensive liquors contain fewer congeners than the cheap stuff, so treat yourself and ask for top-shelf.
After The Party
6. Chug Some Water
It’s easy to get home and pass out in all your clothes without doing any pre-hangover prep, but this is a no no. You’ll feel much better in the morning if you take the time to wash your face, brush your teeth, and yes, force down at least two glasses of water. Also keep a glass or two next to your bed, in case you get thirsty throughout the night.
7. Avoid The Drive-Thru
It may seem like a good idea to indulge in your drunken cravings for salty, sugary or greasy foods, but resist the urge. These types of processed, sodium-filled foods will dehydrate you further and increase your likelihood of getting a hangover. (Plus, you’ll feel like garbage when you wake up).
8. Indulge In A Nutrient-Dense, Before-Bed Snack
Traditional “drunk food” of the junk variety can make a hangover worse, but eating a healthy late night meal that’s rich in vitamins can take the edge off of your morning wake-up call. Drinking all night can cause you to deplete your magnesium and potassium stores, so munch on foods that are high in these minerals – bananas, leafy greens, and avocados are good choices. You may also want to load up on some carbs to soak up the alcohol. A light sandwich filled with veggies and protein is a good bet for a happier morning.
9. Get Some Sleep
This one is pretty obvious, but your body will have a much easier time recovering from the night’s debauchery if you get a good night’s rest. Turn off your morning alarm and catch some well-deserved zzs. Your body will thank you for it.
The Next Morning
10. Take A Multivitamin
A night of drinking can deplete you of vitamins and nutrients. This is especially true of B vitamins, because your liver needs them to detoxify your system effectively. Taking a multivitamin will replenish your stores and help you feel better as the day goes on.
Remember, dehydration causes most hangover symptoms. First thing in the morning, drink two to three glasses of water and continue hydrating as the day goes on. Proponents of coconut water swear by its anti-hangover properties, while smoothies and green juices are great for getting some added nutrition in your system.
12. Eat A Hearty, Egg-Filled Breakfast
In addition to dehydrating you, you’ll likely experience a drop in blood sugar the day after consuming alcohol. (That’s why hungover brunch tastes so darn good). Enjoy a healthy, but hearty breakfast that includes complex carbs, lean protein, some dairy and fruits or vegetables. A research study conducted at Jiangnan University found that taurine, a compound found in eggs, can reverse liver damage caused by a night of heavy drinking, which also explains why you crave eggs benedict after a big night on the town.
13. Fight The Coffee Urge
Caffeine is a natural diuretic meaning it will cause your body to expel water. Since dehydration is at the heart of every hangover, you want to avoid any substance that will dehydrate you further. Stick to freshly squeezed orange juice, green juice or water instead.
14. Try Ginger
Ginger is known for its nausea-fighting properties, so a cup of ginger-infused tea may be just what the doctor ordered if your stomach is doing summersaults.
15. Get A Workout In
Exercise may be the last thing we want to do when we’re experiencing the effects of a hangover, but if you can get yourself moving, it’ll certainly take the edge off. Exercise give us a boost of endorphins and energy, and increasing your oxygen intake will speed up the breakdown of the hangover-causing toxins floating around in your bod.
16. Enjoy A Steam Or Sauna
Can’t bring yourself to move, let alone do a workout? Consider heading to the steam room or sauna for a good, lazy sweat. Sweating stimulates your lymphatic system and helps excrete toxins faster, so you’ll feel relaxed and refreshed. Just make sure to hydrate plenty if you’re getting your sweat on.