Office party season has officially begun. This inescapable tradition is a great way to have fun with colleagues in a non-work setting, but it can also be an opportunity for excess…. And that can lead to hangovers, or as it’s known in the medical community, “veisalgia.” Here are some tips for avoiding hangovers after a night of one-too-many drinks.

Foods to eat the next morning

Lemons: Lemon juice and especially lemon zest can speed up the liver cleansing process (your liver has to work very hard after a night of excessive alcohol consumption).

Water:  Hydrate before, during (a glass of water every hour) and after a night out. Hydrate as much as possible; water will compensate for any dehydration caused by the alcohol.

Bananas: With their high potassium content (one of the electrolytes eliminated most in our urine), bananas can help settle your stomach and ward off fatigue.

Kombucha: This living, sparkling drink contains large quantities of enzymes, minerals, antioxidants and probiotic elements. On top of being thirst-quenching and energizing, kombucha helps the body rid itself of toxins, rebalances the intestinal flora and therefore aids with the digestive problems and upset cause hangover headaches.

Myths & Facts

Hair of the dog: Contrary to popular belief, drinking alcohol the next morning does not help to lessen a hangover. It just restarts the alcohol absorption process. But the placebo effect can certainly be convincing at times….

Olive oil: Folk wisdom has it that swallowing a teaspoon of olive oil before drinking alcohol will limit its absorption in the body. While it’s true that this fat source can coat the lining of the oesophagus and slightly reduce alcohol’s irritating effect and absorption, this protection lasts for only 30 minutes. These “beneficial” effects will eventually dissipate, leaving the body once again vulnerable to alcohol.

Fast food: Many people swear by eating junk food at the end of a night out. This is in fact true, but only if the alcohol has just been consumed. Because the fat and proteins in junk food move more slowly through the gastrointestinal system, eating a greasy burger before you go home can slow down the absorption of alcohol. But a slice of bread with peanut butter will have exactly the same effect.

Eating throughout the evening: Alcohol should always be consumed alongside food throughout the evening. When alcohol passes through the gastrointestinal system on its own, it is absorbed quickly and its effects are immediately felt. Having alcohol and food in your stomach and intestine at the same time will slow down the alcohol’s absorption of in the bloodstream, which helps the liver better do its job.

Doing physical activity: Muscling up enough motivation to do some exercise the morning after a night out can in fact help to lessen a hangover in a number of ways. Light physical exercise will help you to not only wake up, but also to eliminate toxins and bring some much-needed oxygen to your cells.

Sleeping: Sleep is essential to our physical and psychological well-being. Alcohol is widely known to disrupt sleep, and a lack of sleep has been shown to aggravate the symptoms of a hangover. Among other things, a few hours of sleep will allow the liver to metabolize some of the alcohol still in your system.

Drinking in moderation: Although this piece of advice isn’t always easy to swallow, it is by far the most effective. After all, you’ll never regret a bit of moderation!

On that note, here’s to good times and good health!