Because beer before wine won’t make you feel fine, according to experts…
As dry January becomes nothing but a distant (and rather blurry) memory, many of us are re-embracing booze to help us through the February gloom.
Sadly, you can always count on science to ruin your fun. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has busted yet another alcohol myth, ‘Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine’, finding that the order in which we have drinks has no affect on how we feel the next day. As if we hadn’t had enough bad news in 2019 already…
So is there actually any way to avoid waking up feeling like your brains been put through a blender? We’ve put together some top tips on how you can actually combat the morning after the night before. No myths, we promise.
Best food to cure a hangover
For starters, you need to eat right before heading out. Lining the stomach with healthy carbs such as brown rice or pasta is a great way to start. Add in some asparagus too, as the amino acids and minerals in the greens stalks are one of the keys to preventing the dreaded nausea and headache combo.
Unfortunately, eating well the night before isn’t a sure fire way to avoid waking up feeling like roadkill. But before giving yourself up as a lost cause, drag your feeble frame out of bed and into the kitchen to try to save the situation with a delicious morning-after breakfast. We know a greasy fry up’s always tempting when you’re in this state, but nutritionist Amanda Hamilton explains that that’s not what your body needs. Step away from the sausage and opt instead for a balanced meal including lean protein such as eggs or salmon and plenty of carbs and greenery. Amanda has even proven that avocado is a legitimate hangover cure due to its high potassium levels. It really is the gift that keeps on giving…
How to cure the hangover nausea
Food may be the last thing on your mind when you’re feeling nauseous, but it’s important to take on plenty of vitamins and minerals to help top up your depleted resources. If you can’t face anything as big as brunch, try something light like a vegetable-based soup. It’s easy to digest when your stomach’s feeling fragile.
It turns out that the fabled ‘tactical chunder’ is also a myth. Dr Kai Hensel from the University of Cambridge told the BBC that trying to rid your body of alcohol may be tempting, but there’s no proof that it’ll make you feel better the next day. The NHS website suggests you opt instead for antacids to settle a gurgling stomach.
The worst drinks for a hangover
When you’re out, try to match your alcoholic drinks with a glass of water - that way you’ll stay hydrated and won’t feel as bad in the morning. This makes total sense of course, but who can honestly say they’ve ever remembered to do this on a night out? Answer: Nobody.
You can, however, try to remember how different types of alcohol effect you in different ways. Dark alcohol is known to cause worse hangovers, as drinks such as red wine and whisky contain a higher concentration of congeners (a type of toxin.) Go for white or clear liquids for less serious hangovers. Though, if you turn your nose up at a glass of red wine only to down 8 vodka shots instead, don’t come crying to us when you wake up with a headache.
More expensive alcohol products also typically have fewer congeners, so you now have the perfect excuse to treat yourself and splash out on something fancy rather than the cheap stuff. It’s not extra, it’s science!
Unfortunately, however, champagne and any other bubbly is also best avoided as research has shown that alcohol with bubbles can cause your body to absorb alcohol more readily. Sob. Luckily, there are plenty of low-alcohol and alcohol free alternatives that you’ll still look fabulous sipping but won’t leave you drunk as a skunk.
The best drinks to cure a hangover
Another long-held myth about alcohol that has literally no grounding in scientific fact is the universally beloved ‘Hair of the Dog’. We know it can be tempting to reach for the bottle and descend once more into fuzzy nothingness, but this is a slippery slope that will ultimately leave you in an even worse state than before. Another drink is to a hangover what scrolling Instagram is to a procrastinator. Face the music (the crashing, clanging music in your sore old head, that is) and move on. You can’t be drunk forever, however hard you may try.
Try to curb the hangover by downing a pint of water when you get home to ensure you go to sleep hydrated. When your body gets dehydrated it will draw any water it can from other parts of the body, which includes the brain – hence the splitting headaches many of us suffer from after a night on the town. Water before bed is also a good way to avoid waking up in the morning with a mouth like the Sahara.
Things to avoid on a hangover
We know it’s tempting, but try not to take painkillers before you go to sleep as they can do damage to the liver when mixed with alcohol, and there’s nothing to say doing so helps remedy the hangover anyway.
Finally, some good news! Although many people swear by exercise when they’re hungover to ‘sweat it all out,’ it turns out it actually isn’t a great idea to drag yourself from bed and hit the gym. Drinkaware’s medical advisor Dr Sarah Jarvis explains that alcohol reduces our performance and reactions, so it’s actually quite dangerous to exercise the morning after - you won’t know your limits like you normally do, so risk straining something or injuring yourself.
On top of this, the dehydration you suffer from when you’re hungover will be made worse by exercising, so the idea of sweating it out doesn’t really make sense.
Now you have a genuine excuse to vegetate on the sofa and indulge in a serious boxset binge. It’s not lazy – it’s science.
Other quick hangover cures
Pop some vitamins, drink some juice and just breathe, as oxygen helps to break down the alcohol. Just. Keep. Breathing.
Follow these rules, and world-shattering hangovers might just be a thing of the past. We’ll definitely remember all of this when we’re three tequila shots down on a Saturday night. No, yeah, we totally will. What’s that thing they say about beer before wine?