With New Year’s Day upon us, a word or two on overindulgence might be in order. Specifically, if you happened to over-imbibe while the ball dropped on 2015, don’t wail and gnash your teeth at the course of fate that turned you into a party hound on New Year’s Eve.
No, that’s on you, but at least take a few key steps to minimize the effects of a nasty hangover the next day, while learning a few limits on how much liquor you can and should endure on any day of the year.
Health experts at LabDoor.com helpfully point out a few myths that too many New Year’s revelers rely on to help with a hangover. First, if you wake up on New Year’s Day feeling like W.C Fields on a bad day, don’t expect any “hair of the dog” remedies to solve the problem.
“Drinking more alcohol when you have a hangover, only works temporarily by raising your BAC — blood alcohol concentration,” LabDoor tells TheStreet. “A hangover will return once BAC begins to drop.”
Don’t expect simple sugars to relieve that upset stomach and pounding headache, either. “Glucose or fructose taken after intoxication produced no change in hangover symptoms in a clinical study,” the company states.
Slugging down a few cups of hot coffee isn’t necessarily a great idea, some say. “Alcohol and caffeine are both diuretics, so lots of coffee just leads to more dehydration, which will make a hangover worse,” Glass Door points out.
Others believe coffee can actually be a major help.
“A popular ‘myth-shatter’ is the idea that coffee is not good for a hangover,” says Bradford Hines, a lifestyle and workplace consultant. This concept is often conflated from the reality that coffee is not good for sobering people up, Hines explains. “While that is true – nothing sobers up a person other than time and their body metabolizing alcohol – coffee, which is a vasoconstrictor, can at least help relieve the headache aspect of a hangover the next day.”
The answer may not lie with herbal hangover pills, which turn out to be more placebo than pacifier for hungover Americans on New Year’s Day. “In a study of hangover pills with yeast, borage, artichoke, and/or prickly pear extract, no significant hangover benefits were found,” GlassDoor adds.
Everyone, it seems, has an idea of what hangover cures work best. One common denominator is most involve some combination of vitamins and nutrients. “As we kick off 2016, instead of reaching for fried food or a greasy breakfast, combine fresh juice with 100% chilled natural coconut water, providing the ultimate combination to fight your hangover without killing your diet,” say the experts at El Zegundo, Calif.-based ZICO, which provides a variety of chilled juice blended drinks to consumers.
Chilled juices do offer some healthy benefits for Americans who over indulge on New Year’s Day (or any day). “Number one, they’re packed with potassium,” the company explains in an email to TheStreet. “And potassium are naturally occurring electrolytes that hold onto water to decrease dehydration.”
Healthy juices can promote blood sugar boosting, too, which can alleviate a hangover.
“Alcohol can result to a drop in blood sugar,” ZICO reports. The fresh juice present in the chilled juice blends treat mild to low blood sugar. Add some vitamin C, as well. “Vitamin C is a primary nutrient depleted by alcohol and stimulates the liver to break down the booze,” ZICO reports.
Or, about how some pure, fresh oxygen to cleanse the hungover palate? “When you’ve had one too many drinks and things are a bit hazy, increasing your oxygen intake can help you to revitalize and restore your body in an all natural way,” say the specialists at Oxygen Plus (O+), an oxygen products provider based in Minnetonka, Minn. The company offers night time imbibers lightweight canisters that contain 95% pure oxygen, to get a boost of energy, reduce stress, help out with recovery from a night out and more, company officials tell TheStreet.
Food can help, too, albeit in uniquely created recipes.
Pastry chef Ryan Butler of the Michelin-rated Piora restaurant in New York City, puts a twist on the classic bacon, egg and cheese sandwich for his personal hangover cure. He uses a scone instead of a traditional roll, and makes the sandwich with candied bacon (cooked in the oven with brown sugar). “The key to making great scones is mixing the dough by hand to produce a flaky, light crumb,” Butler says. He advises using cold butter for the dough and to let it rest for 20 minutes before baking. “This lets any gluten that has developed to relax, resulting in a tenderer scone,” he adds. “Make the scones ahead, then top with bacon, egg and cheese the morning after and enjoy with my signature hair-of-the-dog drink: a Mango-Orange Mimosa Smoothie featuring champagne and the fresh fruit blended with ice.”
Virtually all experts we contacted agree hydration is a “must have” during and after a holiday binge.
“Much of the hangover is related to a hydration issue,” says Dr. Arielle Levitan, co-founder of Vous Vitamin LLC, a “personal vitamins” company. “The cells in your brain lose vital electrolytes from drinking — the cells dehydrate and these cause your symptoms. The key is therefore the proper balance of electrolytes and water during and just following drinking to prevent the hangover.”
Levitan says that, in hospitals, medical staffers use a specific bright yellow IV formulation for people who have been drinking, referred to as “a banana bag”. “It contains the right mix of nutrients and water,” Levitan adds. “So we have created our own version of the banana bag in pill form, called the Recovery Act and it comes in handy pocket sized. It’s best taken while drinking and again before going to bed. If needed it can be taken in the morning.”
Of course, to avoid that hangover complete the next day, it’s best to have gone easy on the champagne on New Year’s Eve. There’s always this year to remember that sage piece of advice.