I recently read an article by Greatest, What happens to the brain when you black out? Definitely check out the article, especially if you enjoy copious amounts of adult beverages. Here are a few highlights:
Research shows heavy alcohol consumption can impair the brain’s cognitive and memory functions, preventing people from recalling events that occurred while drinking excessively— aka blacking out.
Alcohol can prevent both pleasant and unpleasant memories from sticking by interfering with brain receptors in the hippocampus (the area of the brain responsible for new memory formation).
As the amount of alcohol and speed of consumption increase, so does the magnitude of memory impairment, and those with frequent blackouts are even more likely to experience future episodes.
Women are more susceptible to blackouts because their brains recover more slowly from cognitive impairment and they process alcohol at a slower pace.
Moderate drinking in social situations— up to two drinks for men and one for women— can actually have some important health benefits.
Another excellent article, 13 Legit Ways to Stop a Hangover. Some of these may seem pretty common sense, but I bet none of you actually do them. I sure don’t.
1. Go one for one. It’s no secret that drinking water can help deflect that pounding AM headache (pretty much the opposite of a good morning). Tissues around the brain are mostly made of water, and dehydration will shrink these tissues, creating pressure in the head. Alcohol can lead to dehydration, so make sure to continuously drink water throughout the night. Try matching each alcoholic drink with one glass of water to avoid that next-day pain.
2. Chow down. No, just because beer has calories doesn’t mean it counts as dinner. Drinking on an empty stomach will allow alcohol to absorb faster, so try getting in a good meal with lots of healthy carbs before breaking out the bottle. Some research even shows a stomach full of food may help keep blood alcohol content at a lower level.
3. Keep it light. Darker drinks like red wine or rum contain congeners (substances produced during fermentation), which may contribute to causing hangovers. Skip the whiskey in favor of vodka or a glass of white wine!
4. Stay classy. More expensive liquors contain less filler congeners— a cause for headaches. So pass on the well liquor and take it up a notch with some top-shelf booze.
5. Take a multivitamin. Drinking depletes nutrients in the body, including vitamin B12 and folate. Try popping in a multivitamin to replenish what’s lost from a night of drinking.
6. Skip the bubbles. Opt out of champagne or other alcohol that’s mixed with carbonated beverages. The bubbles may cause alcohol to be absorbed more quickly. (Hence that New Year’s Day hangover.)
7. Down-dog. Scientists have yet to prove that a few sun-salutations will whisk away a hangover, but breathing and meditation exercises in yoga can get oxygen flowing and blood pumping to help relieve stress. Namaste!
8. Grab some potassium. When dehydrated, we lose not only water, but electrolytes, too. Gain ‘em back by snacking on potassium-rich foods like bananas or spinach.
9. Scramble eggs. Eggs contain taurine, which has been shown to reverse liver damage caused by a night of heavy boozing. Scramble them up with lots of veggies for added antioxidant power!
10. Sip ginger tea. Hangovers can sometimes come with a side of upset stomach. To settle that tummy, brew a warm mug of ginger tea. Ginger has been shown to help combat nausea.
11. Refuel at the breakfast table. Alcohol will lead to a drop in blood sugar, so boost it back up with a glass of OJ in the morning!
12. Get some fresh air. Oxygen increases the rate that alcohol toxins are broken down, so bundle up and get outdoors. A little exercise never hurt anyone— and it may even release some endorphins to boost that post-hangover mood.
13. Play D.D. We’re sorry to say that the only sure-fire way to avoid a hangover is to skip the booze altogether. So if waking up to a pounding headache doesn’t sound fun, play designated driver for the night (even if not actually driving).
Drink responsibly!!! …. Or merely take the subway 🙂