Fit Tip Friday: Hangover Helpers

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We're all adults here. We know there's going to be some drinking going on this weekend and probably next weekend. It's the holidays - of course we're going to celebrate! Maybe you start the evening with the best intentions of having only a drink or two. Maybe you're having a really good time and those two drinks turn into four...or six. It happens! And while there is no magic "cure" for the hangover you're going to have when you wake up, for this week's Fit Tip Friday we do have a few helpful tips to keep your suffering to a minimum.


Prepare with Prickly Pear. If you plan ahead for your night of drinking, taking prickly pear extract several hours before you drink might lower your hangover symptoms by about half. Experts aren't sure how it works, but the extract has a protein that prevents the inflammation you can get from over-drinking. That may help ward off a hangover.

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In the Clear.
When choosing your holiday cocktails, steer clear of darker liquors and stick with vodka and gin, or even the clear versions of rum and tequila. Darker booze like whiskey and tequila have higher levels of chemical compounds called congeners. These congeners can bring on the inflammation that makes hangovers worse.

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Eat and Drink (Water).
Having food in your stomach while you are drinking alcohol "reduces how high your peak blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) gets by about a third," says Aaron White, PhD, senior advisor to the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The less drunk you get, the less hungover you'll be the next day. Makes sense, right? So don't want to scarf that pizza at the end of the night, have something to eat while you are drinking.
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Don't forget about drinking water. The fluid from water slows the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol. This also lowers your overall BAC. A good rule of thumb is to alternate a glass of water for every alcoholic drink. And don't forget to down some extra water before bed. Hangover symptoms are partially caused by dehydration, so get a head start and hydrate before crashing into bed.


Treat the Symptoms. While there's no magic potion that will take away your hangover, you can treat some of the symptoms. If you're tired from the unrestful sleep, have some coffee. Tummy mad at you? Try some Pepto-Bismol. Head screaming? Take some ibuprofen. Though be careful not to take too much. Ibuprofen can upset your stomach, which may already be queasy.

One thing to avoid is any medication that contains acetaminophen. I can really mess with your liver when it is mixed with alcohol. 

Hair of the Dog? Does the good old "hair of the dog that bit you" trick actually work? Sort of. In a nutshell, scientists say downing another drink or two the next morning may improve your hangover symptoms, but not for long. Once you stop drinking you'll still have to deal with the hangover.

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