If ever there were one activity that alerts you to the ageing process, it’s the aftermath of a Big Night Out. Where it used to be the case that we could mix all kinds of spirits and alcoholic beverages on a stomach lined with the kind of junk food that boasts little nutritional value, party until the early hours of the morning, and then down a Berocca in the morning as we embark on the work commute, these days a great deal of forethought has to go into such activities. We need Panadol on hand for the morning after, when the headache proves so intense we have to consult with the WhatsApp group chat just to ensure we made it back safe and didn’t somehow stumble into a glass door.
Nothing dampens the drinking process quite like the realisation that your actions have consequences, namely those of feeling like you never want to emerge from a darkened room for a week during the midst of such a hangover. But with the festive season around the corner, hangovers are something to be expected and while going light on the booze is certainly recommended if you want to make it to the New Year intact, sometimes our willpower deserts us.
Thankfully, it turns out Anthony Bourdain may have discovered a hangover cure of sorts. The celebrity chef beloved for his quick wit and humour, and ability to connect with people from all walks of life as he ate and drank his way around the world for Parts Unknown, had long spoken about his love of daytime drinking.
In Medium Raw: Bloody Valentine to the World of Food & the People Who Cook, Bourdain wrote: “There’s something wonderful about drinking in the afternoon. A not-too-cold pint, absolutely alone at the bar…even in this fake-ass Irish pub.”
But after being asked by TMZ for some advice on recovering from a night of drinking, Bourdain prescribed the following: “Aspirin, cold Coca-Cola, smoke a joint, eat some spicy Szechuan food – works every time.”
While it goes without saying that some of the aforementioned items listed in such a recovery routine are illegal and we would strongly deter anyone from engaging in criminal behaviour simply to procure it, ultimately this approach from Bourdain is one founded on his philosophy to simply “enjoy the ride.”
“Eat at a local restaurant tonight. Get the cream sauce. Have a cold pint at 4 o’clock in a mostly empty bar. Go somewhere you’ve never been. Listen to someone you think may have nothing in common with you. Order the steak rare. Eat an oyster. Have a Negroni. Have two. Be open to a world where you may not understand or agree with the person next to you, but have a drink with them anyways. Eat slowly. Tip your server. Check in on your friends. Check in on yourself. Enjoy the ride.”
The moral? Enjoy yourself this festive season and know that those hangovers you might be dreading, are short-lived. But, if you really want to prevent a hangover, here are some things you can do to prevent those stubborn headaches.
5 tips to prevent (or at least reduce) a hangover
If you know you’re going out drinking, the best thing you can do is stay hydrated throughout the day. Alcohol tends to dehydrate you and while it’s not the only cause of a hangover, it certainly contributes to symptoms like increased thirst, fatigue, headache and dizziness.
Increase your water intake and, when drinking, try to alternate between a glass of water and an alcoholic drink.
Eat a good breakfast
Long touted as the most important meal of the day, eating breakfast helps maintain steady blood sugar levels with research suggesting this could help mitigate some of the bodily changes that occur with alcohol consumption. It can also help provide important vitamins and minerals, and reduce the symptoms of a hangover.
Stick to one kind of drink
Along with allowing you to keep better track of how much you’re drinking, you’re also less likely to upset your stomach. It’s also recommended to avoid congeners, which are compounds that give liquor its flavour and colour – think red wine and whiskey. These toxic chemicals may set off an inflammatory response that helps bring on hangover symptoms. Ultimately, you want to opt for lighter colour, highly filtered alcohol.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen provide headache relief without upsetting the stomach. But be sure not to make a habit of relying on them as some doctors warn they can eat with alcohol to damage the liver.
If up to it, try ease into some movement
While it’s important to listen to your body and give it the rest it needs, some people swear by exercise to help clear the hangover. Getting some mild to moderate activity into your day can help increase circulation and metabolism, and helps to rid the body of toxins.