6 Ways to Have Your Beer and Drink It Too.
There is nothing I adore more than “coming home from work” (I work from home…) and cracking open that first delightful concoction of hops, barley, and yeast known as beer. But beer, just like any other form of alcohol, is not without its drawbacks if you overdo it. In order to drink a couple beers and avoid any ill feelings the next day, follow these hangover prevention tips specifically for beer drinkers.
Drink beers that are 6.5% ABV or less
Everyone knows that hangovers are caused by alcohol consumption. Duh.
If you want to avoid a hangover but still want to have fun, don’t drink high ABV beers. All of those 9% and 10% beers are up there in the wine alcohol percentage range, albeit still the low end for most wines, but you get the idea. It’s a whole different ball game when you up the alcohol by volume so significantly.
You’re probably going to be drinking more than one or two anyway, so opt for beers that contain less alcohol if you actually care about how you’re going to feel the next morning.
Stick with beers that are light in color
Not only is the alcohol percentage an important variable when it comes to hangovers, but so is the color of your beer.
Research has found that darker forms of alcohol (like bourbon, dark beers, and red wines) contain byproducts of fermentation called congeners, which have been shown to increase the post drinking discomfort.
These congeners are responsible for the darker colors found in these types of alcohol, and unfortunately, they wreak havoc on your body the next morning. (The people in the study who drank bourbon as opposed to vodka were more likely than the vodka consumers to feel hungover the next morning.)
Not to worry, there are plenty of tasty lighter options.
If you like something that is on the hoppier side, try a Blue Moon White IPA. This beer is the result of an experiment where the brew masters combined four different hop varieties. They ended up with an unfiltered beer on the lighter side, with pronounced citrus and fruit hop taste.
Or, if you’re more into beers with less assertive bitterness, try an Allagash White (one of my personal favs). This beer is a fabulous American witbier packed with citrus undertones and spicy goodness.
Also, there’s Sapporo and Sapporo light (if you’re trying to cut calories), which are both great options if you plan on downing a few. Although on the lighter side, this lager has a much more refined flavor than Budweiser or Coors, and has a smooth finish that is perfect for extended drinking sessions.
So next time you go out and want to have a couple beers, stick with something lighter. Future you will thank you.
Drinking water as a hangover prevention method seems to be a contested idea amongst professionals. A few studies have found that drinking water does not eliminate your chances of having a hangover.
Hopefully, that’s not news to you.
Obviously, the only way to completely reduce your risks are to not drink beer or alcohol at all. But, although drinking water during a beer guzzling session is not going to completely eliminate your risk of developing a hangover, it can still be beneficial to do so.
Most people know that alcohol consumption causes dehydration. But, it has been found that dehydration is not the leading cause of hangover symptoms. It is simply a side effect that leads to some of the discomforts of being hungover like dry mouth, headache, and fatigue.
That being said, if drinking water can help to eliminate those minor discomforts, you might as well try your best to do it. Some of the worst hangovers are the ones where literally everything hurts…
Eradicating 25% of the potential uneasiness will make your hangover seem exponentially less abysmal. Also, drinking water can help you pace yourself so that you don’t drink too much beer too quickly, but we’ll get to that in just a second.
Overall, if you remember to drink water while you’re out and about, there is a higher likelihood that your hangover won’t be as bad as if you didn’t drink water. So, if you want to wake up feeling better than terrible, consume your H2O at regular intervals throughout the night. And don’t forget to leave yourself a tall glass of water by your bedside in case you wake up with the dreaded “desert mouth” associated with having one too many. If you can even remember that glass of water, you’re in good shape and shouldn’t have too much to worry about.
Eating food before going to bed is another highly contested hangover prevention technique. But, I’m actually going to focus on a better method. And that’s to avoid drinking too much on an empty stomach.
Now, if you’re anything like me, my favorite (and sometimes only) beer of the day happens right around the time where my stomach starts to tell me that it’s almost dinner time. That’s how I know when it’s drinking time!
Usually, this one beer takes me from being super hungry to not feeling as peckish, and I am able to hold off on preparing dinner for another hour or so. But, if you are planning on having more than one or two beers in a night, don’t drink on an empty stomach!
Having food in your stomach slows the absorption of alcohol, so you won’t get tipsy as quickly.
Also, food has been shown to reduce the formation of acetaldehyde in your stomach, which is commonly believed to be the substance responsible for hangovers.
While most people think that having a greasy breakfast the next morning will help alleviate hangover symptoms, but it’s actually better to eat something greasy before you start drinking. In some countries, it is a tradition to swallow a tablespoon of olive oil before going out drinking because the contains certain antioxidants that help with liver function.
The best food options are actually foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates, so if you’re drinking beer at a bar, you’re in the right place. If you’re looking to cut back on calories, opt for an oily fish like salmon or mackerel. While remaining low in calories, these fish contain the necessary oils to help combat the negative effects of alcohol.
So, the next time you plan on enjoying a couple of beers, make sure you eat something high in fat and carbohydrates before you indulge.
As discussed earlier, overdoing it can be fairly easy if you aren’t careful. Being mindful of how much you are drinking is the best way to avoid having a hangover.
One of the best ways to do this is to make a game plan and set a limit on the amount of drinks you plan to have before going out, and pacing yourself while you are consuming them. This task is easier said than done when you’re having a good time and lose track of your inhibitions…
But setting a goal to pace yourself before actually drinking has better results than not thinking about it at all. Just think about how horrible you will feel if you wake up with a hangover and be content to have the fun that you are having without convincing yourself that it will be more fun if you drink more. It won’t. It’s hardly ever worth it. You know this.
Another way to pace yourself is to avoid drinking games at all costs.
Even though they can be a lot of fun, they also lead to binge drinking, which will almost certainly produce a wicked hangover. If you HAVE to play drinking games, instead of pounding beers, try substituting the beer for water and only sipping on your beer as a side beverage. This kills two birds with one stone if you think about it.
The last favor you can do yourself is to stop drinking if you feel good and are having fun. This is usually a sign that you are about to be one drink too many. Now’s the time to switch to water if you want to make sure that you feel ok tomorrow.
Drink rehydration salts (or something similar)
We’ve all been there.
You tried your best to be good, but you have a sinking suspicion that you may wake up with a hangover, even though you followed all of the rules (aside from not drinking alcohol). Here’s where rehydration salts come in. This is your last ditch effort to evade that nasty feeling. Sometimes it helps, and sometimes it doesn’t. But, if you think that there may be a chance of recovering your tomorrow, it’s time to start sippin’ the salt water.
Rehydration salts were created for adults (and infants) suffering from dehydration caused by diarrhea and/or vomiting. These substances usually contain a mix of electrolytes, salt, and sugar which help to quickly rehydrate and balance out the body.
One of the reasons you wake up with a headache is due to low blood sugar. Alcohol increases blood sugar, but once it wears off, your blood sugar plummets. If you drink the mixture before bed, it helps to rehydrate you and restore some of the sugars that have been lost.
If you wake up and still feel off, you can drink another one to help cope with the pain.
Those are my 6 tips for avoiding a hangover while still enjoying a couple of beers. If I missed anything, please tweet at me or leave a comment in the comments section! I’d love to hear your favorite hangover avoidance techniques 🙂
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