How To Prevent/Reduce A Hangover

How To Prevent/Reduce A Hangover

There are many commercially available hangover cures, they all claim they can cure a hangover. This article focuses on natural ways that are proven to reduce your hangover and for some people it may prevent your hangover altogether.

Of course you would be much healthier if you did not drink alcohol to the extent of getting a hangover but to stick to a perfect diet and lifestyle is not only unpractical but also in many cases impossible and getting drunk with your friends and family can be a lot of fun!

There are some people that simply do not get hangovers at all, but for everyone else try these techniques;

Some Alcohol Gives You More Of A Hangover Than Others


You also need to take into account what you mix your alcohol with.

If you are drinking alcohol mixed with soft drinks especially cola, then you are going to have an even greater hangover due to the excessive caffeine and refined sugar that you are consuming.

Mixing energy drinks with alcohol is the worst thing you can drink as it over loads your liver can cause heart palpatations and energy drinks are very bad for your health, many people will consume much more than they normally would as well.

Some people may be sensitive to preservatives, so drinking an organic alcoholic beverage may help reduce your hangover.

Another reason to drink organic alcoholic beverages or to just make your own is that for some reason manufacturers are not legally required to display an ingredients list on their products so you really do not know exactly what is in your drink!

A little bit of anecdotal evidence, I notice I get much less of a hangover when consuming high quality (expensive) alcohols, such as a small batch whiskey. May have something to do with extra filtering or higher quality ingredients.

Different types of alcohol effect you differently.

Alcohol made with sugar fermenting yeasts have side products called congeners that are formed as well (2)

Congeners are formed in small amounts along with the ethanol and these have been known in to increase the severity and intensity of hangovers, Well known congeners are methanol, isopentanol and acetone (3, 4).

So the drinks that you need to watch out for include but are not limited to whiskey, tequila, and cognac. Bourbon whiskey is one of the worst.

Vodka, gin and rum, contain much lower levels of congeners. Vodka being the best, contains almost no congeners at all! (2).

Here are some studies comparing whiskey to vodka in regards to hangovers (5, 6, 7).

Choose a white wine over red wine, light rum over dark rum and try to avoid whiskey if hangovers are not your thing.

Drink More Water

hangover-quoteMost people are aware of this one but just forget to do it. Alcohol is a diuretic meaning it makes you urinate more often than what you would if you were just drinking water.

However this is a very simple problem to solve, yep you guessed it, drink water.

You should always have a glass of water before going to bed and have another on your bedside table but what many people do not do is drink water in between alcoholic beverages. Maybe a glass of water for every 2 drinks, ideally between every drink but you are likely to feel too bloated that way.

Drinking coconut water or an electrolyte drink before you going to be and when waking up is an excellent way to restore electrolytes and rehydrate yourself.

Breakfast Of Champions

Hangovers are sometimes the product of hypoglycemia (8). Although low blood sugar is not the primary cause of hangovers, people with low blood sugar seem to experience much worse hangovers (9, 10).

Again this is another easy solution either eat a nutritious breakfast, have a meal after you have finished drinking, have finger food whilst drinking, or all of the above and do not drink on an empty stomach.

I personally prefer to eat fruit whilst drinking, something greasy complimented with a salad after drinking then a nutritious green smoothie for breakfast.

Supplements That Help With A Hangover

Alcohol damages your body’s tissues, inflammation is a natural response to counteract this. Another reason for hangovers are believed to be caused by inflammation.

There have been some anti inflammatory drugs that have shown to be quite effective in easing symptoms of a hangover (11).

Although I always prefer to go the natural route so here are 3 natural supplements that will help with inflammation red ginseng (12), ginger (13) and prickly pear (14).

There are also many foods that help combat inflammation and many foods that promote it;

Try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible:

  • refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
  • French fries and other fried foods
  • soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
  • margarine, shortening, and lard



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Sleep It Off

Plan your ahead for your night on the booze. Make sure you have food for when you get home from the club, some filtered water by your bedside table and make sure you have a good place to get some quality rest.

Poor sleep does not necessarily give you a hangover but it is far worse to be both hungover and tired then just hungover. Also your body needs to recover from all the alcohol you have consumed so getting some good rest can help shorten the duration of your hangover.

Hair Of The Dog


drinking-quoteThere is actually a bit of science behind it – methanol is one of the congeners that I discussed earlier in this article, it gets converted into formaldehyde, a highly toxic substance. This partly responsible for many hangover symptoms (15, 15, 16).

These studies (17, 18) show that drinking ethanol (the main form of alcohol responsible for getting you drunk) can inhibit formaldehyde from being formed.

Basically what happens is; the methanol can potentially be discharged harmlessly from the body via your breath and urine. This is one of the reasons why ethanol is quite often used to treat methanol poisoning (19).

So the best alcohol to be used for this is a lighter spirit such as vodka, gin or white rum. Although I personally believe that if you start drinking as soon as you wake up then you may have a drinking problem…

 A Few Mixes That Will Give Less Of A Hangover

#White rum, sparkling water and lime juice. You can substitute the rum for gin or vodka.

#Fruit juice and vodka. Go for a fruit juice that does not have lots of sugar added and again you can substitute the vodka for light rum or gin.

#Gin and tonic. Go for a tonic water without added sugar.


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