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How can I prevent a hangover? 

With Mardi Gras just around the corner, this is a question on a lot of minds. The secret to preventing a hangover is …don’t over do it with alcohol. It’s also important to know how your own body reacts to alcohol. Some people can feel lousy the next day after one drink, while others can tie one on and still wake up bright-eyed and bushy tailed. In general, however, any more than three to five drinks for a woman and five to six for a man, is likely to cause a hangover.

Some factors that may contribute to a hangover include:

   • Drinking on an empty stomach

   • Mixing alcohol with other drugs, including nicotine

   • Drinking darker colored alcohols like bourbon, brandy and red wine (An ingredient called congeners used for color and flavor in dark alcohols is thought to create more severe hangovers.)

   • Drinking more than one kind of alcohol during an evening

   • Getting poor quality sleep

The best way to enjoy yourself over the Mardi Gras holidays without waking up with a headache (and possibly a head full of regret) is to take it easy. Pace yourself by drinking slowly throughout the night. Be sure to eat before you begin to imbibe and drink a glass of water between cocktails. Water helps you to stay hydrated and may prevent you from drinking as much. And no matter what, if you do become intoxicated don’t get behind the wheel.

To learn more about how alcohol affects the body, contact Rebecca Lee, registered dietitian at East Jefferson General Hospital, at (504) 454-4077.

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