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Hangover Cures from the Land of Science

Just in time for New Year?s Eve, the London Science Museum has a new exhibit on hangover cures. It turns out that the headache and flu-like feelings are caused by dehydration, despite the fact that you?ve been drinking all night, because alcohol removes precious water from the body?s cells. First: Eat a big meal before the party and eat while you drink. This slows down the rate of alcohol absorption by the body. This works best if the foods you eat contain plenty of fat, so wait until after New Year?s Eve to begin your annual diet. Fat is digested slowly, so it will stay in the stomach and protect it from the irritating effects of alcohol. If you don?t have time to eat a meal, drink a glass of milk before you go.

Second: Take lots of vitamin B6 before and after drinking. This can reduce the severity of a hangover by half, although scientists don?t know why it works.

Third: Stick to white drinks like white wine, vodka and gin, because the fewer additions to the pure spirits, the less chance for a hangover. Substances called congeners that are found in red wine and colored liquors magnify the effects of a hangover. Mixed drinks like Brandy Alexanders are a killer.

Fourth: Have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink, but avoid carbonated sodas because they increase the amount of alcohol that gets into the blood stream. This is why people who stop at a couple of drinks, then stick to soda for the rest of the evening, may find that this strategy doesn?t help. Drinking lots of water along with the alcohol stops your brain from shrinking so much, which is a common side-effect of alcohol consumption.

Fifth: After you get home, drink lots of water and take a vitamin C, which speeds up the metabolism of liquor by the liver. You might also drink a sports drink like Gatorade, which replaces lost electrolytes and body sugars.

Sixth: The next day, if the above preventatives didn?t work, don?t believe the old advice about "the hair of the dog." Drinking more alcohol only puts off the inevitable reactions. Along with the aspirin, take more vitamin C. Eat eggs, because they contain cysteine, a substance that cleans out the destructive chemicals that build up in your liver.

Good luck and Happy New Year!

For more details from BBC Health, click here.

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