13 Things You Should Know About Hangovers

A few too many last night? Here’s how to handle your aching head and queasy stomach today.

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Forget the hair of the dog adage. A morning-after Bloody Mary just delays the pain and will likely make it worse when it finally catches up.

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Research from 2010 identified congeners, or impurities, in alcohol as a factor that leads to worse hangovers. Tequila, particularly the cheap stuff, is riddled with them. Multiple distillations remove impurities, so try to drink clean.

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Take your vitamins. Supplements that help to replace the B6, B12 and other vitamins lost through multiple trips to the bathroom the night before will speed up recovery.

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Be it menudo, miso, pho, borscht or chicken noodle, the whole world turns to hot soup to nurse a hangover. It’s a smart move: many soups replace lost salts and help you ease back into solid food.

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Aspirin is hard on the stomach, and Tylenol tough on the liver. The anti-inflammatory ibuprofen is a better remedy; take two before you head to bed. New research by the Alcohol Hangover Research Group points to the inflammatory reaction from our immune system as the cause of the following day’s headaches, gut problems and exhaustion.

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Sleep it off. The Alcohol Hangover Research Group contends that some of the symptoms associated with hangovers, especially drowsiness and trouble concentrating, likely come from staying up too late and not getting enough shut-eye.

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Skip the bacon. A morning-after trip to the local greasy spoon is a time-honoured tradition, and although the amino acids in eggs will help your liver, you risk irritating your stomach even more with fatty meat.

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Both raw and cooked eggs contain cysteine, which helps the liver metabolize the toxic by-product acetaldehyde that causes your next-day pain.

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Avoid your usual jolt of morning java. Caffeine narrows the blood vessels, which alcohol has already affected, and the high acidity will further aggravate your stomach lining.

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Be it Gatorade, coconut water or H2O from your tap, rehydrating will help correct your electrolyte imbalance and minimize dizziness. Also consider the banana, which will replace any potassium you lost.

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Since exercise leads to further dehydration, some fitness experts say to opt out. But as long as you keep downing water, the endorphin rush from a light workout will help you deal with guilt and anxiety the following day. (Stay away from saunas and steam rooms, though.)

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Try a dose of Chinese medicine. UCLA researchers studying Hovenia dulcis, a raisin-like fruit used to make tea in China and Korea, believe they’re onto a potent liver protector that minimizes alcohol withdrawal symptoms and hangovers.

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Gwyneth Paltrow swears by Mercy, a hangover-prevention drink that’s chock full of cysteine, vitamins, potassium, magnesium, milk thistle and camomile, but the product has mixed reviews. The only universally endorsed cure? Limiting your booze the night before.    

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