Had a rough night out? Maybe you've overindulged a bit and you're hoping for a bit of hangover relief.
There are plenty of supposed hangover remedies -- hair of the dog, maybe black coffee. However, from a nutritional and dietary standpoint, experts will tell you most of them don't actually work.
Rya Clark, a dietitian with Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center, says there are two types of drinkers -- those who plan before they slug back a few... and everybody else.
"If you know you're going out that night, start drinking water," said Clark. "Get your monogrammed water glass, get your Yeti growler, whatever you like and just drink from that."
Since alcohol dehydrates the body, Clark also suggests Pedialyte or sports drinks that help to hydrate and stave off dehydration's nasty side effects -- mainly headaches.
Another good practice before imbibing: eating a meal -- and don't skimp on the calories.
"Have a big fat burger. I would do like queso and cheesecake. That's how I would go down for the night," Clark said. "That fat actually slows down your stomach emptying and so as you're drinking, that alcohol is going into your body a little bit slower, it gives your body more time to metabolize. We're kind of hoping that a slower metabolism is going to mean less hangover in the morning."
You may have to do some extra gym time, but Clark says those high-fat foods are proven to stave off the pangs of a hangover.
For those of us who realize only after it's too late that our rough night will mean an ever rougher morning, there are a few things Clark suggests you do:
-Slow down drinking and match every cocktail with a glass of water
-Avoid dark alcohols that have more impurities and congeners
-Only drink coffee if you are already a coffee drinker
-Avoid more alcohol. "Hair of the dog" delays your body's ability to process a hangover
-Eat a carb-based, mild breakfast, even if you think you cannot stomach it
As for those over-the-counter hangover cures at the end of the checkout lane in the liquor store or at the pharmacy register, Clark says they are loosely regulated and might not be all that safe.
"You see the ones that are vitamin-based or have magnesium in them and you're starting to see a lot of herbal remedies come to the forefront," said Clark. "There really is not any evidence to see that these are going to help a hangover."
If you usually pop a few pain relievers at the end of a long night, Clark says it's actually better to wait until the morning.
"Let's make sure we've passed into hangover territory," Clark said. "That pain reliever you're taking requires your liver to metabolize it just like the alcohol and you don't want to tax it any further than you have to."
Depending on how much you've had to drink, a hangover can take between six and 12 hours to process, so sometimes it is just a matter of time.
Dietitians like Clark say there is actually a genetic component to a hangover. Some people get them, while others may never suffer their effects. In any case, Clark says if you have been drinking, your number one priority should be a safe ride home after all the festivities are over.
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