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Hangover Cures: When St. Patrick's Day Celebrating Hits You Hard

03/13/2013 08:53 EDT
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A man is pictured through the window of a bar drinking a pint of Guinness in The Temple Bar area of Dublin, Ireland on May 20, 2011. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Well, St. Patrick's Day is this weekend. If you're planning on celebrating then you may want to consider that the luck of the Irish doesn't actually protect you from the dreaded hangover.

Here are a few ways to avoid the dreaded hangover on Monday morning.

How NOT To Get Hungover

1. Eat something

While eating won't actually prevent you from getting drunk it can slow your body's absorption of alcohol. It's probably why the snack tables at parties are always so popular. Bonus, traditional Irish favourites, all those hearty foods and stick to your ribs stews are probably a good thing to eat before you go drinking.

2. Drink plenty of water

Dehydration is one of the reasons why hangovers suck. Drink plenty of water during the night (try alternating an alcoholic drink with a glass of water or club soda). Definitely have one before you head to bed and keep one on your bedside counter. It'll make staying in bed that much easier.

If you have to go to work you may want to skip the coffee and start guzzling water instead.

3. Drink slower

The slower you drink the fewer drinks you'll have. The extra time also lets your body process the alcohol already in your system.

4. Drink clear alcohols

This could be a problem on St. Patrick's Day. Beer and whiskey, two Irish bar favourites, contain more impurities than gin, vodka and other clear alcohols. Be warned.

5. Avoid draft beer

Most good bars will try to keep their tap lines clean but even the best bars slip up from time to time. Dirty tap lines are a breeding ground for bacteria, mold and other impurities that can knock you flat on your butt. If you're going to be drinking lots of beer consider sticking to bottles or cans. Also, bottles and cans often contain less beer. After four or five drinks it definitely adds up.

6. Don't drink

Set a limit at the start of the night. Switch to non-alcoholic drinks or simply don't drink. You can still belt out U2 and The Pogues when you're stone cold sober. This sounds too simple to say, but if you don't drink alcohol then you won't have that hangover.

Uh Oh. I'm Hungover What Do I Do Now?

1. Water, water, water

After a night of drinking your body is dehydrated. If you didn't leave that glass of water on your bedside table, grab some now. Repeat as necessary.

Energy drinks are also a good alternative. The drinks often contain electrolytes and nutrients which your body will want after a night of hard drinking.

2. Eat something

Your body needs fuel. Pick foods rich in carbohydrates and protein. Yes, that greasy breakfast fits the bill. Eggs in particular are great for hangovers because they contain plenty of cysteine, an enzyme useful in breaking down alcohol. Check out our recipes for the best hangover breakfasts.

Keep in mind your stomach might be sensitive from the night before so consider easing into your breakfast with a cup of soup, a juice or smoothie (water, sugar and vitamins!) or some fruit (bananas are an awesome hangover food) before scarfing down that burrito or omelette.

3. Rest

Have you had that glass of water and a snack or a meal? Doesn't that bed look cozy? What about that couch? Settle in. You'll feel better in a few hours.

4. Juice it up

Too queasy to eat? Consider juices or smoothies.

Coconut water contains plenty of anti-oxidants, sugar and, uhm, water. All three things will help with your hangover.

5. Vitamin B

You can take a vitamin B-complex pill to help replace those vitamins your body has lost. It doesn't hurt to take one the night before as well.

Things to avoid

1. More alcohol

Yes, that bloody mary or caesar sounds like a good idea but all you're doing to your poor liver is delaying the inevitable. Also, note that 'hair of the dog' drinks contain things that actually help in a hangover, tomato juice for example. Our advice? Skip the morning booze.

2. Caffeine

Caffeine can be a diuretic and dehydrate you further. So you may want to avoid that third espresso until you feel a bit better.

3. Acetaminophen

Be careful. This common over the counter drug (ex. Tylenol) can interact badly with the alcohol in your system and in rare cases lead to liver damage. Acetaminophen can also be found in cold and flu medications. In fact, alcohol and many medications do not interact well. When in doubt read labels carefully.

What are your hangover remedies? Share them with us in the comments.

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