Now that we’ve made our way through Thanksgivukkah and pre- and Black Friday shopping sprees, next up: the Winter Solstice at 12:11 p.m. EST on the 21st. And with that earlier-than-ever setting sun, many of us will toss back a drink or two sooner than later.
Tis a season, too, of Christmas cheer, followed by the biggest drinking night of the year. And don’t forget that New Year’s Eve is also known for its record drunk driving deaths.
Bottom line: Celebrate for sure, but be smart when it comes to booze:
- Eat first. Food slows down the absorption of alcohol—and that’s a good thing. Best bets: whole grains, high omega-3 fatty acid fish like tuna and salmon, along with nuts and seeds.
- Drink one glass of water for every drink you down to keep yourself hydrated and less likely to overindulge. (Alcohol dehydrates and that contributes to hangovers.)
- Go with “on the rocks” drinks. As the ice melts, it dilutes the drink and makes it last longer, which in turn prevents over-indulging and a hangover, too.
- Avoid carbonated mixers, as the bubbles speed up alcohol absorption; go instead with water or fruit juice.
- Chat away; when you’re talking, you’re not drinking
- Sip slowly; never guzzle. Alcohol is absorbed faster than the hour or so it takes to be metabolized, so linger over each drink to avoid getting drunk and hung over, too.
- Sparkling water with a spritz of red wine—or, even better, cranberry juice—can keeping you sipping risk free hour after hour. Another safe option: ginger ale sweetened with maraschino cherry juice—and the cherry, too, of course.
As for the worst hangover offenders:
- Cheap booze
- Darker drinks, like red wine and whiskey, contain more congeners which cause hangover symptoms
- Diet mixers speed up drunkenness
In other words, be safe and wake up feeling good, not sorry. Happy New Year!