Well, having done YEARS of research (;-D) on hangover cures, here are
my scientific findings:
- There is one preventive measure that is absolutely
foolproof for every person in the world:
Don't ever drink. You'll be guaranteed to avoid hangovers for the rest
of your life.
- Since 99.9% of the people who are concerned with hangovers
will never follow method #1, then the next best preventive measure is
Never drink enough to get really drunk. That way, hangovers will be
rare, if not nonexistent.
- Methods #1 & #2 apply to ALL people. From this point
on, we enter the mysterious realm of experimental
The problem here is that all people are not alike in such things as
size, weight, metabolism, chemistry, etc. So, what works for me may
not work for you. But I offer these as good ideas to try when you've
done what 89% of us do - namely, said to hell with methods #1 & #2.
You've just opened your eyes to find yourself crumbled into a
collapsed mess, hopefully in a bed, hopefully in somewhat familiar
surroundings, but, worst of all, awake. Your mind gradually manages to
reconstruct some sort of memory of some portion of the previous
night's activities. You feel like the worst part of hell (this is the
cue for the proverbial "I'll-never-drink-again" declaration, one of
the most pitiful demonstrations of bull$#!+ in all of human
behavior). You need help. Quick.
A little understanding of what a hangover actually IS really comes in
handy here. It's a combination of a few physiological things:
- Dehydration - the alcohol has forced evaporation of a certain
vital portion of the body's water.
- Nervous shock - you're coming off the effects of a mild overdose
of a depressant drug, so your nerves are displaying the great
Newtonian natural law of action/reaction by going into a relatively
- malnutrition - pumping all that alcohol and liquid through your
body has effectively flushed away a significant supply of your storage
of vitamins and nutrients, chemicals which would stimulate natural
defense systems, but you're running seriously low on them now.
What you need to do is take some restorative steps to begin a recovery
process. This means doing the same things that you should've done in
method #3 (it's really too late now, but it can't hurt). It means rest
and as little nervous stimulation as possible. It also means trying to
eat something that will help to replace the nutrients you've
lost. That really should be in the forms of fruits/vegetables, NOT
fatty, greasy junk, not dairy foods, something that isn't too tough on
the already beat-up digestive system. Bananas are great for key
vitamins. But I'll tell you what I've found to be a real miracle
medicine for me - tomatoes!
Strange but true. This came to me by pure accident. I was a suffering
bastard one day following a night of revelry, and I knew I needed some
food, but I found myself in a situation where I didn't really have any
choice about the lunch that I'd been served. It was a basic
Italian-American dish that included a tomato sauce (something like
lasagne or spaghetti). In less than an hour after eating, I felt
rejuvenated, almost back to normal! I couldn't believe how quickly I
had gone from hangover hell to basically ok. I figured it was just a
fluke. But the next time I was in a similar situation, I deliberately
tried it again, and it worked! This sort of explains half of the
reason that a Bloody Mary is the standard morning-after drink. (The
OTHER half, of course, is that more alcohol - "hair-of-the-dog" - acts
to relax your shattered nerves and numb the pain in the head, but more
alcohol is also a great step on the road to alcoholism, not a habit
So, next time, try it. Maybe a little light pasta
with a meatless, greaseless, tomato sauce. Cold gazpacho or a mild
salsa may work too, but your stomach will be in no mood for onions and
peppers. A glass of V8 may be just the thing. Citrus juices tend to
bother the stomach too; but tomatoes are highly acidic, so I can't
explain that part.
If you know you're going to be drinking a LOT of something,
there are certain definite DON'Ts:
- Don't mix a lot of different types of alcoholic drinks (liquor,
then wine, then beer). Loudon Wainwright wrote a song about this:
Drinks before dinner and wine with dinner and after-dinner drinks
Help me, Rhonda
Locate my cufflinks
Come with me and you all will see that it all be alright
Rudolph the red-nosed wino will guide our sleigh tonight.
- Don't overdo it with colored liquors (red wine, whiskeys,
cordials, dark rum). A cheap red wine hangover is absolutely THE
WORST. Death without actually passing into the next world.
- Don't overdo it with sweet blended concoctions. This is the
classic mistake of high-school idiots, dumb college undergrads, and
basic novice drinkers (who will probably never drink again). All of
these sick sugary trendy drinks with cream of whatever, and
doughnut-flavored schnapps, and layers of nifty floating colored
syrups and liquers. Oh, please. Gag. Gallons of Coca-Cola mixed
with hard liquor. Imitation raspberry-flavored margaritas and
"daiquiris". (Raise your hand if you've ever even SEEN a real
daiquiri.) The combination of all of that sugar in the stomach with
the mandatory alcoholic kick in the head - the end-result is almost
always the same. (I STILL remember the sight of the sidewalk outside
of a cheezy teen bar in Underground Atlanta back when they served
18-yr.-olds.) Most kids still have to learn the hard way. Some people
think it's a rite of passage to "adulthood". Yeah, right.