With the festive season upon us, here’s what science says you can do to minimize the pain of a hangover.
- SPRITE. Yes, Sprite, the soft drink. A study carried out in China investigating 57 different drinks found that Sprite was surprisingly good at ridding the body of acetaldehyde, the main chemical by-product of the breakdown of alcohol, which is thought to be the main reason you get a hangover. The Chinese study found that Xue bi, the Chinese version of Sprite, was best, followed closely by Sprite, 7-Up, soda water and drinks containing taurine. These drinks work by mopping up acetaldehyde and other toxins. Drink some at the first sign of a hangover.
- KOREAN (OR ASIAN) PEAR. Korean or Asian pears are another unexpected, and effective, anti-hangover remedy. Consumed as juice or slices before and after drinking, the pears can lower alcohol levels, preventing hangovers before they start, according to CSIRO, Australia’s government research labs. Professor Manny Noakes, the project’s lead researcher, noted, “It appears the Korean pear acts on the key enzymes involved in alcohol metabolism, alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), to speed up alcohol metabolism. In particular, reductions were seen in blood acetaldehyde levels.”
- OLIVE OIL. Oils can also minimize a hangover. The types recommended are olive oil and evening primrose oil. Taking a tablespoon of either oil before drinking alcohol lines your stomach, slowing the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream and reducing the severity of a hangover the next day. For best results, just add the oil to a healthy dinner before you go out.
- WATER. Another culprit behind that hung-over feeling is dehydration. Since alcohol is a diuretic, those hangover headaches, nausea and fatigue may actually be a result of dehydration. So one of the best ways to prevent this is the very simple process of drinking two to three glasses of water before alcohol intake, and one glass for every alcoholic drink after that, according to the Journal of Alcohol and Alcoholism.
- SLEEP. Lack of sleep combined with the effects of alcohol definitely makes a hangover worse, says Dr. Eric Goralnick, associate clinical director at the department of emergency medicine in Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. So being able to rest or sleep the next day, allowing our body’s physiology to reset itself and repair is a great, simple and potent hangover cure.