Wine Hangover, and How to Deal with it?
Unlike Taio Cruz, most of us don’t wake up from a hangover eager to jump into a song. Rather, we have an unpleasant feeling of dizziness, with just a pinch of self-loathing. While the exact physiological reasons for a hangover are hard to understand even for experienced medical scholars, the causal reasons are very well known to almost every adult: the wine was too tasty, the company too interesting, and the night too long.
It should be important, if not at least interesting, to understand the processes going through our body to understand why we feel as we do. For this reason, there are hangover cures that are as old as wine itself. In fact, the earliest written remedies are as old as the written language.
The first written record for a hangover cure was found in the remains of the library of Ashurbanipal, the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire who lived in the 6th century BC, where an unknown physician recommends to mix ground bird beaks and myrrh and to chew on that.
Knowing what we know now, this is a bad idea, but it shows that the ancients shared the same troubles as modern people when it comes to overindulgence in wine.
However, to understand how we cure a hangover we want to at least try to understand what it is and why they might occur!
What is a Hangover?
While the variations can depend on the type of drink you are enjoying, even different types of wines, a hangover is ultimately a result of alcohol poisoning, ethanol poisoning to be specific. This is why different people have different experiences with hangovers, as the severity of the poisoning can vary depending on the person’s metabolism, height, weight, their size, and their prior drinking experience.
For one, ethanol, which is the primary alcohol in wine, is a mild diuretic, meaning that it will make you ‘’excrete” more fluids than you normally would. Frequent bathroom breaks are typical for a night out, and this will lead to dehydration.
The second effect: enlarging the blood vessels in our body also can be a reason why ethanol is a diuretic. This widening is what makes us feel tipsy or drunk, and on the rebound, when the vessels start shrinking, we start feeling the pain that comes from an increase in blood pressure.
This increase in pressure, combined with the lack of fluids, makes for the main effect of a hangover. Additionally, depending on the acidity, sweetness, and the sulfuric content of the wine, we can feel these effects as well.
Toxicity and Detox
There are many official rules, actual good advice, and significant misconceptions when it comes to alcohol toxicity, but as always it is much easier to prevent a hangover than to cure it. Once your liver feels the punch, there is little you can do to deal with it immediately, and the best thing you can hope for is to stay functional during a hangover.
As there are people who will have a hangover even if they have had only two glasses of wine, prevention advice of ‘’not drinking too much” is not really applicable.
The best way to ameliorate the effects is to consume food alongside your favorite wine. It is important to know that while in most cases the best choice of wine and food pairing is also the one that will prevent a hangover; this is not universally the case.
One of the most prominent examples that don’t follow this are dessert wines that might taste best with a side of something sweet, but adding sugar it will only increase the impact of the alcohol and make the hangover worse. Because of this, sweet wines should be drunk with additional care, and maybe a savory snack in advance.
Myths and Misconceptions
“To Drown you Sorrows”
Albeit that Taio Cruz, ancient Romans, and Ernest Hemingway concur that the best cure for feeling down is to keep drinking, this might be the worst advice ever given for obvious reasons. While additional drinking will slow down the shrinking of your blood vessels, it will just be an extra punch to your dehydration, and make the end result much, much worse later, In fact, it might be better to speak with someone who can help you get through the pain so it won’t have to linger.
“cure a hangover with any big breakfast”
The second great misconception is that you can cure a hangover with any big breakfast, as this is only true when having had bacon and vegetables, and not pancakes and syrup. Any sugar will be detrimental for your recovery, as you will place even more strain on your liver to filter out all of the toxins. A light breakfast is much better, with chicken soup probably being the best option.
There are other traditional remedies, some of which have more effect than others, and some being a step in the wrong direction. Whichever you choose, stay away from carbohydrates in any form, be that sugar, pastries, or alcohol.
Tips and Tricks to cure your hangover
Your best friend during a hangover is water. In more forms than one. Once you wake up, drag yourself to the nearest drinking water source and start downing. For an average person, you should drink about a hundred ounces (or 3 litres) of water to combat dehydration.
When you have enough water on the inside, put some on you from the outside. If you can have a cold shower that would be perfect, and if not, try not to make the water too hot. This will lower your blood pressure and get rid of a headache because cold water showers relieve tension You will probably not feel exactly as fresh as a daisy, but you will feel much better than before.
It doesn’t really matter which kind, but any physical activity that will increase your endorphins will be very beneficial. If you are into running, take a quick lap. Yoga is also acceptable. If you don’t really have an exercise routine, just do a dozen push-ups, and that will be enough.
However, because the heart is working in overdrive to get rid of the toxins this means your heart is pumping faster. Seeing the heart is already under pressure you may rather take a light exercise and get some fresh air with a long walk or a swim followed by sauna – but remember to drink a lot of water as ridding yourself of toxins that can also leave you feeling hungover when they are released in the body. You want to make sure you flush them out!
Take your Green tea
Although you may want to take your coffee resembling a Kardashian ex-boyfriend: tall, black, and bitter. No sugar, no cream, nothing that can worsen your affliction, just pure caffeine. Coffee may seem like a great idea, in fact, it is dehydrating and seeing you want to make sure you get hydrated green tea is a brilliant option as it both has caffeine, albeit lower levels and antioxidants to help fight bacteria in your body!
Finally, the best advice you can get about hangovers is right after: To stop drinking that much. To paraphrase the Buddha himself, the path of enlightenment comes with moderation, and this is true for wine drinking as well.
If you are having a long and fun night, break the wine with a cup of sparkling water every now and then or even better take a half a glass white or rose with half a glass sparkling water and voila, there you have a Spritzer.
Make sure that you are eating something while you drink, and more than everything else, make sure that you are drinking good quality wine, seeing it has fewer toxins. A truly good wine will make you fulfilled with just a couple of sips, which is something that you will never be able to get from poor quality wine.
A hangover should not steer you off drinking, as that is also an extreme, but should inform you that there is such a thing as too much of a good time.
For similar topics take a look our article about Alcohol: when drinking defines the nature of the occasion
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