Yes to celebration


no to hangover

Partygoers can avoid or minimize new-year headache

December 31, 2003|By Sara Engram | Sara Engram,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

New Year's Day is a time of resolutions, of brand-new calendars and fresh starts. It's also a big day for hangovers.

Tonight's popping corks and "Happy New Year" cheers can all too easily leave celebrants with a throbbing headache and a strong desire to put "no more champagne or (fill in the blank) ever again" at the top of their list of resolutions. So before it's too late, let's review some common-sense rules for celebrating.

First of all, think ahead. If you're planning to party tonight, then drink extra fluids today. One reason alcohol leaves such a heavy footprint is that it dehydrates your body, which can lead to that awful headache tomorrow morning.

And don't drink on an empty stomach. Make time to eat something before you go out. Or, better yet, if you love fatty food but usually try to abstain, stop at your favorite greasy spoon for a big plate of fries. Fatty foods can help prevent a hangover or lessen its severity by lining the intestines and slowing the absorption of alcohol, according to the National Headache Foundation.

The organization also suggests eating at least an ounce of honey before or after drinking. Honey is rich in fructose, a sugar that can help metabolize alcohol. The sugar in fruit and fruit juices can be helpful if you're staving off a hangover.

At the party, sip and savor your drink - don't gulp it. Alternate an alcoholic drink with fruit juice, water or soda. And keep in mind that darker drinks - whether red wine or a rich rum or brandy - have more of the chemicals called congeners that can contribute to a nasty hangover. If you're susceptible to hangovers even after moderate amounts of alcohol, stick with lighter-colored drinks.

After the party, try to consume more liquids. Even a glass of water can help prevent or lessen a headache.

If you can, wind down with a cup of broth; it is rich in minerals and salts that can help rehydrate your body without causing nausea. Sports drinks, water or other low-acidity beverages also can help.

As for the proverbial "hair of the dog that bit you" remedy? There are plenty of those around, but I would vote for broth or lemonade and for staying away from the dog for a while.

Of course, the surest way to prevent a hangover is to refrain from alcohol altogether.

Here's a tasty alternative:

Champagne Fooler

Makes 4 servings

1 1/3 cups apple juice

1 teaspoon lemon juice

12 ounces club soda

Chill 4 glasses. Mix together apple juice and lemon juice. Add club soda and stir gently to blend. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

- National Headache Foundation

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