Hangovers, ach! Who needs them? Not the people experiencing them, and their myriad unpleasant symptoms, that’s for sure.
However, it’s New Year’s Eve, which means that if you’re celebrating the occasion, especially at a high-end gala event with an open-bar, you run the risk of overindulging and suffering through a hangover the next day.
So, in order to avoid your 2016 starting off with the cruel light of day shining through your 2016-framed novelty glasses, we’ve compiled a list of hangover cures that science says actually work. Maybe.
Delicious pears! According to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia’s federal science front, “pears, in addition to lowering cholesterol, relieving constipation, and reducing inflammation, can also lower alcohol levels, preventing hangovers before they even start.” CSIRO says pear juice works really well in this situation, too. And, if you’re willing to believe a statement from the group from last summer, the pears, by counteracting alcohol metabolism, actually reduce your blood alcohol levels, too.
Unfortunately, this is probably not an invitation to try out a pear-juice-based cocktail, great as that sounds. The effects were only seen when the subjects consumed the fruit or the juice before drinking.
Leave it to the wizards at Coca-Cola to let you obey your thirst—for an end to your hangover (thank you!). Researchers in China found that lemon-lime soda breaks down alcohol enzymes faster. The study, done at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou (go Wildcats!), included 57 other beverages and Sprite was the best one. 7-Up works, too. No word on Slice.
3) The Scent of Bacon
“Bacon, egg, and cheese, please.” — You, 2016
This “cure” is both helpful and delicious. An amino acid in eggs (cysteine, if you simply must know) helps break down alcohol enzymes, in a sense giving your liver a hand in the process. Yogurt and oats have this amino acid as well, so vegetarians aren’t SOL with this one.
Bacon Today, the most trusted source for bacon news, reports that a study at Newcastle University found that the rich protein in bacon helped neurotransmitters get back up to speed after a night out. Even smelling the bacon helped.
Truthfully though, the “heavy” meal, like a bacon cheeseburger with fries, should come before your first Twisted Tea as the food will slow alcohol absorption and you will get drunk slower.
Another tip: toast. Carbs help raise blood sugar levels which booze depletes.
4) Don’t Drink
This is the only way to 100% avoid a hangover according to science. Hey wait, come back!
5) Coffee and Ibuprofen
OK, you’re back, you lush. A cup of joe and a pain reliever could help. Michael Oshinsky, director of preclinical research at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, studies hangovers to better understand the science of migraines. He found that by giving a drunk rat caffeine and a non-inflammatory, the effects of the alcohol were reduced. Rats: maybe not all bad.
6) Cured Meats
The science behind this one pretty much stops at the observation “people drink” but the proprietors of Serious Pig jerky in the UK say it works. And what reason would they have to lie? According to Munchies, “Hangover Cured” is a sort of high-end Slim Jim, as well as “a high-protein meat snack that contains 100 percent British pork, along with chili and ginger, both of which are alleged to ease symptoms associated with hangovers.” Sound iffy? Take the word of food nutritionist, Angela Dowden who told Munchies:
“Nibbling on high-quality meat protein at the same time as drinking is a really good idea, as it’s rich in the amino acids you need to make neurotransmitters (messengers that transmit signals throughout the body),” Dowden says. “Alcohol interferes with the levels of these neurotransmitters, which is one of the reasons we can feel bad after overindulging.”
7) This Ivy Leaguer’s Supplement
Yummmm. Korean researchers published a study in the Journal of Food Science in 2011 that said asparagus boosts “levels of key enzymes that break down alcohol after heavy drinking” and makes you feel better. Asparagus is also just plain good for you, but..
9) Bananas, or: General Potassium
According to The Wire: “Alcohol makes you pee a lot, and that means that not only do you get dehydrated, you drain a lot of important nutrients, chief among them potassium.” Bananas have potassium! A George Mason University study backs this up. Other foods with potassium: spinach, avocados, and even potato chips.
10) A $200 IV drip
Hangover cures? The New York Times is on it. Want to stave off pains when you wake up at Head-Hurty? “All that’s required is a vein, an hour and a few hundred dollars,” the paper of record reports.
Adam Nadelson, a surgeon, started an in-home IV service with his father Elliot, a urologist. For $200, a registered nurse injects you with a mix of saline and vitamins and you feel a little better. A banker-type in the story swears by them.
In Vegas? Book a trip to Hangover Heaven. Let’s let some experts ruin your expectations though. Via the Times:
“There’s no scientific support that these treatments do anything,” said Lewis S. Nelson, a toxicologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan. He believes the placebo effect is at work.
“It’s basically just hydrating people,” said David E. Bank, a dermatologist and the founder and director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, N.Y. “They infuse a one-liter bag of normal saline — for $200. A bag of normal saline costs $4. It’s saltwater.”
Don’t let that stop you from trying if the nine other suggestions don’t work, however.
If reading isn’t your thing (and it’s probably not since you’re hungover and you’re really researching this on New Year’s Day), you can learn more about the science of what is happening with your body and how to make it stop (hint: maybe drink some more water before you order the Lumberjack Special at the Greasy Spoon) with this episode of Reactions, produced by the American Chemical Society.
Have a safe New Year’s, everyone!