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How to avoid hangover headaches

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Oh your aching head

Whether you're enjoying a football party, weekend get-together or an evening in with friends, the last thing you need is a hangover the next morning. Here are some tips on how to avoid those nasty hangover headaches.

Just take it easy

If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation, suggests the National Headache Foundation. Try to sip your drink slowly. Mixed drinks containing fruit or vegetable juices will probably have less effect than straight alcohol.

Also, it is advisable to reduce the actual number of alcoholic beverages you consume. Spend time catching up with an old friend at the snack table with a soda or glass of water.

Skip the vino

Avoid red wine, which contains naturally occurring chemicals called congeners, that can send your head pounding. Forty-two percent of survey respondents listed red wine as the type of alcoholic beverage that most frequently causes hangovers. Congeners impart the specific characteristic tastes to different types of wine and other alcoholic beverages, though are more common in red than white wine. Unfortunately, they also may play a role in causing headache.

Eat some honey

Honey supplies fructose, a sugar that helps the body metabolize alcohol, is rich in vitamin B6 and can reduce hangover symptoms. Two tablespoons of honey on a cracker or piece of toast, before or after drinking, may prevent a hangover. Tomato juice, another good source of fructose, also allows the body to burn alcohol faster. The sugar in fruit and fruit juices may also reduce some symptoms of hangover, so consumption of these products can be beneficial.

Drink fluids containing minerals and salts

Liquids rich in minerals and salts offer relief from the dehydration caused by alcohol consumption. A cup of broth or bouillon, for example, will replace fluid and will not cause nausea. In general, replacement of fluids with beverages, such as sports drinks or water, is helpful.

Drink a cup of coffee

Caffeine may provide some relief in alleviating the headache symptoms and decreasing the duration of pain. The caffeine acts as a vasoconstrictor and eases the dilated blood vessels. Consider drinking a cup of coffee as soon as you wake up the next morning.

Take ibuprofen

While aspirin is okay, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) is typically less irritating to the stomach and can also ease the pain of hangover headache.

Alternate non-alcoholic beverages with alcoholic beverages

Drinking one non-alcoholic beverage between each alcoholic beverage reduces overall alcohol consumption and helps replenish fluids. An easy way to achieve this is asking for a glass of water in addition to your alcoholic beverage of choice when ordering a drink at the bar.

Eat greasy food before consuming alcohol

While it is wise to be health-conscious and avoid too much of these foods in general, this is a situation where eating fatty foods may be helpful. If consumed prior to drinking alcohol, these foods help line the intestines, which causes alcohol absorption to take longer. In other words, a burger or burrito before your beer or Bloody Mary might be beneficial.

Party on!

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