It's the most wonderful time of the year, where families, friends, and co-workers come together to celebrate the holidays with presents, food, and lots and lots of booze.
Of course, hitting the eggnog a little too hard at night can lead to a wicked hangover in the morning. What started out as a great holiday party ends with a throbbing headache, insane nausea, and a whole bunch of regret.
But what is actually going on after a night of drinking that makes everything so terrible? While dehydration plays a role, it's not the main culprit, as many think.
When alcohol is processed in the liver, a variety of enzymes break it down to acetaldehyde and then ultimately to acetate. The enzyme required for the final step isn't available in large quantities, which results in a buildup of acetaldehyde in the bloodstream. Unfortunately, this compound is actually more harmful than the original alcohol that was consumed and is the cause of the inflammation and the worst symptoms of a hangover.
A great way to prevent the hangover is to slow down your alcohol intake. Drinking a glass of water between each alcoholic beverage not only reduces the amount of booze you take in, but will also keep you hydrated and fight off the drink's diuretic effect.
While we've all had one of those "I'm drinking my dinner" nights, it's really important to eat and keep that blood sugar up. Eat foods with complex carbohydrates that take a while to break down to prevent a blood sugar crash and harsher hangover effects. This also slows down the rate alcohol gets absorbed by the body, giving the liver more time to process the booze.
Reading this article too late to stop your hangover? Check out our best hangover cures and some of the weirdest tricks from around the world to get back on your feet faster than you can say "I'm never drinking again."
If you have your own hangover tricks, let us know in the comments!
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