How to Avoid Nasty Hangovers (We're Looking at You, New Year's Eve)
'Tis the season.
Holiday season brings with it joy, cheer, and, let's face it, a drink or two too many. Between office parties, family gatherings, going out with friends, and just toasting the holidays at home alone (hey, no judgment), it's easy to overdo it in the alcohol department and wake up the next day with a monumental headache. And if you are no longer in your 20s (welcome to the club), you may realize that an Advil and a good breakfast isn't the perfect cure anymore.
Dr. Gina Sam, MD, MPH explains why: "As we age, many of our internal systems slow down, which is why recovery feels so much longer." On top of all that, she says that women have it even worse. "Women metabolize alcohol very differently from men due to the enzymes present in the liver, which is why you might notice your male friends are able to drink a bit more."
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So what can you do about it? Well, first of all, Sam suggests you start exercising regularly.
"Exercise is great for every part of your body. Beyond improving your muscles and heart function, it boosts your metabolism and keeps your gastrointestinal tract moving swiftly," she says.
But let's face it: If you haven't been a regular at the gym for the past few months, a couple of visits before New Year's Eve won't do much to prevent a hangover. So let's talk short-term solutions.
First of all, make sure you have a big meal before you head to the bar. Sam suggests focusing on heavier foods such as bread and rice. Then pace yourself.
"Following each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water is sure to keep you a little steadier on your feet and a lot more comfortable in the morning," she adds.
Also, while everyone's body reacts to alcohol differently, you may want to avoid mixing too many types of alcohol as this may confuse your body and slow down your liver.
Finally, Sam explains that there's no evidence that top-shelf bottles are more likely to spare you the headache the next day. The most important thing to remember is to drink in moderation, she says, of course.
Know your own limits. Your body will thank you for that the next day.