Drinking alcohol in moderation is key to enjoying its effects and benefits. When consumed responsibly, alcohol can provide relaxation and a good time with friends, help you socialize more easily, and even improve your sleep. With that being said, sometimes we lose track of the number of drinks we have consumed and then comes the hangover.
Imbibing should be done responsibly in order to feel good. What is the one drink to limit or not partake in at all to avoid a hangover? Alcoholic drinks that contain fizz. Alcohol with bubbles, such as champagne, sparkling wines or carbonated beverages, are absorbed into the bloodstream at a quicker rate than other types of alcohol. To help counter some of the effects of these drinks, it’s recommended that you ‘prime your gut microbes’ by having a high-protein meal before drinking or snacking on protein-rich snacks during or after having the fizzy drink. This can help with the absorption and digestion of alcohol and provide long-term health benefits.
1. Prime your gut microbes
Looking after our gut microbes should be a top priority before an indulgent night out. Eating a nutrient-dense diet is known to have many benefits to our overall health, but what you eat pre- and post-party can make all the difference. Before reaching for those alcohol-filled tipples, nourishing plant-rich dishes such as gut-loving Greek baked beans or other protein dishes can help give your gut a protective boost and set it up to withstand the effects of alcohol.
During the morning after, satisfying salty or carby cravings with protein dishes can help make sure you start the day off feeling healthier than before.
2. Skip the fizz
It may be tempting to reach for a bubbly alcoholic drink such as prosecco or champagne on your night out, but researchers have found that limiting these drinks can help prevent you from getting too intoxicated. The bubbles in fizzy drinks increase the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, heightening the concentration of alcohol and increasing intoxication levels.
A much better option is to stick to flat alcoholic drinks like wine - by limiting your intake of anything with bubbles, you are preventing yourself from feeling even worse later in the night or the next day.
3. Limit mixers with artificial sweeteners
Adding frozen fruits to alcoholic drinks is an easy and fun way to get more of your five a day. It also helps reduce your intake of the artificial sugars commonly used as mixers alongside alcohol - a great option for those looking to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Although this can sometimes be hard to do when out, making creative drinks with frozen fruit is both enjoyable and great for you in the long run. You can even use recipes like virgin daiquiris and margaritas with no added sugar, saving both calories and cash! And it always goes down well with friends, too.
4. Nosh before imbibing
Eating food before drinking alcohol is a simple yet effective strategy for reducing the effects of intoxication. Eating something an hour or two before a long night of drinking is essential in giving your liver a chance to keep up with the alcohol and slow its absorption rate.
Eating foods high in protein, such as chicken, fish or eggs, can help by providing energy and ensuring you don't fall asleep too quickly when you have been drinking. Doing this should limit hangover-related symptoms and keep the whole experience far more enjoyable. If you want to make sure your night out is all fun and no pain, always remember to reserve your cocktail glass for after you've emptied your plate.
5. Keep hydrated
Keeping your body hydrated before, during, and after a night of drinking is essential for having an enjoyable time. An easy way to make sure you stay hydrated is to alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Instead of another beer at the bar, switch it up with an order of sparkling water with frozen berries, or try kombucha for a more flavorful option.
If you find yourself worse for wear in the morning, an electrolyte drink may help. There are several brands that come pre-made, and some popular choices include Gatorade and Powerade as they contain salts like potassium that can assist in fluid absorption while your body replenishes itself. Staying ahead of your hydration needs is essential for a safe and enjoyable evening.
6. Keep microbes happy with carbs
Eating a healthy diet does not mean that you have to follow a restrictive, one-size-fits-all plan. Looking after your gut health is about including a variety of plant-based foods from different sources in moderate amounts. Having 30 different types of plant-based foods in your weekly diet can help cultivate a more diverse range of gut microbes - an indicator of good health. Eating this way ensures that you are receiving the right fibers and chemicals to feed the different bacteria in your system, which can contribute to greater long-term health benefits.
We have become accustomed to the idea that carbs are unhealthy, but this actually isn't true. Cutting back on carbs could be detrimental to your body's in-house microbiome. Consuming fiber is essential for maintaining a healthy gut ecosystem, as these friendly microbes feed off it.
An important distinction should be made between natural sugars (like those found in fruit) and items with added sugar like soft drinks, which don't hold the same nutritional benefit. Through an understanding of what specific types of carbs our body needs, we can find a way to effectively enjoy the foods we love while fostering a happy system.
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