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Smart drinking tips to keep you safe on the road and hangover-free

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. Avoid carbonated mixers, as the bubbles speed up alcohol absorption; go instead with water or fruit juice.
  5. Chat away; when you’re talking, you’re not drinking
  6. 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.
  7. 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!

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