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How to Prevent a Hangover: Stop a Hangover in its Tracks with this Appetizer

Updated on December 9, 2014
The Secret: How to Prevent a Hangover
The Secret: How to Prevent a Hangover

It’s that time of year again…you’re inundated with a to-do list that would put Santa’s itinerary to shame, and invitations to Holiday parties abound. The looming question is “how do I prevent a hangover so don't waste a day on recovery?"

The answer? Before you start drinking, eat some French Bread dipped in olive oil & balsamic vinegar.

Bread + Balsamic + Olive Oil = Instant Hangover Prevention
Bread + Balsamic + Olive Oil = Instant Hangover Prevention

The olive oil coats the lining of your stomach, helping to prevent hangover-causing toxins from seeping into your blood stream. This doesn’t mean you won’t get drunk (you will still feel plenty intoxicated), but, it does mean that you won’t need to spend the whole next day recovering from the party.

Does It Really Work to Prevent a Hangover?

YES! I discovered said hangover cure by accident. My boyfriend and I had been dining at a restaurant where they served this bread concoction as an appetizer, then went out for a night of partying. We actually drank so much that we could barely remember the end of the evening. When we awoke Saturday morning after around 7 hours of sleep, we felt fine!

Curious as to whether it was the bread that did the trick, or the pasta we ate afterwards, I continued to test different theories. The next time we drank, I ate pasta alfredo beforehand. The next day, I wasn’t in super bad shape, but still felt quite queasy, achy and tired until almost 4pm.

Fast forward to a few weeks later when I bought a loaf of bread, and dunked in the balsamic / olive oil mix while sipping on wine. I ate 2 large slices of bread with the oil & continued drinking various types of alcohol for the next 5 hours. After neglecting to eat any dinner at all, going to sleep around 2am & waking at 10am - I felt amazing!

The Hangover Experiment
The Hangover Experiment

My Experiments with the Hangover Cure

Ever fascinated by blind experiments, I’ve personally tested this theory with different groups of friends. At various house parties throughout a period of 6 months, I would accommodate the host with a bottle of alcohol, along with a loaf of French bread, and a container of the balsamic / olive oil mixture. At most of these parties, all types of alcohol were being served. Guests started out by indulging in wine or beer (usually while eating appetizers) and alternating that with taking shots. Later in the evening most people were swigging mixed drinks and more shots. If you’re at all familiar with the party scene, mixing all types of alcohol is the perfect storm for the ultimate hangover. I never mentioned to the guests that the snack food I brought was intended to save them from hangover hell. I kept a close eye on who was eating the mixture, and who was not.

The first thing I noticed was that people who ate the bread & balsamic were actually able to drink more than those who did not. Throughout the night, people would begin falling asleep around the living room, and some were running to the bathroom – while the rest of us revelers (who ate the bread) kept going strong.

Many of these parties were overnighters – so the next morning, I was able to see first hand effects of the bread. Those who were whining, burping & reaching for IB Profin were the ones who did not eat the bread. Eventually, I told all of the guests about the bread experiment. Most of them have now adopted this secret as their favorite way to prevent hangovers. I also told those who opted NOT to eat the bread, and they all admitted I should have force-fed them as soon as they walked in the door!

The Facts: How Bread + Balsamic + Oil Prevent a Hangover

Exactly what is the science behind this hangover prevention secret?

Basically, any type of fat ingestion will slow absorption of alcohol into your blood stream, and will slow the emptying of your stomach into the gastrointestinal system. Think of your stomach and intestinal lining as a thin sponge. Ever notice that when you swig alcohol on an empty stomach, it only takes a couple of drinks before you feel intoxicated? That’s because there is no protective barrier for absorption in your stomach. The alcohol soaks right into the “sponge” lining of your stomach and goes directly to your blood stream.

When fatty foods and carbohydrates are present in your stomach, they help absorb the alcohol, slowing digestion and absorption into the blood stream. This means you will get drunk on a more consistent level. Rather than going from 0 to drunk in 60 seconds, your body will creep from 0 to drunk over the length of several hours. Nobody wants to be the first one wasted at a party! Use the bread, balsamic & oil snack to lengthen the amount of fun you get to have drinking, and also to prevent that monster hangover.

How Does Balsamic Vinegar Help the Hangover?

It’s not only the greasiness of olive oil & carbohydrates in bread that help stop hangover symptoms. The balsamic vinegar is an important component as well. Although balsamic might taste tangy and acidic, it actually helps balance & lower PH levels in your stomach. This reduces the urge for your stomach to produce excess acid, thereby reducing the chance for bloating & painful acid reflux the day after drinking.

Balsamic vinegar also contains polyphenols to destroy free radicals and boost the immune system, and quercetin, which is an antioxidant that acts as an anti-inflammatory. The less your body systems are inflamed, the better you will feel.

Stomach to Brain "Give me greasy food!"
Stomach to Brain "Give me greasy food!"

Why Do I Crave Greasy Food After Drinking?

Most people crave bad-for-you food after a night of drinking. That’s because your over-saturated stomach will cause your body to desire these barrier foods. While eating a high fat meal can be somewhat helpful after drinking, it’s kind of like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped. Most of the alcohol will already have absorbed into your blood stream, and eating afterwards will have minimal effects. It’s best to prevent, rather than try to un-do damage after it has occurred.

I’ve also tried other similar mixtures for hangover prevention. Eating buttered bread helps slightly, as does eating other high fat and/or high carb foods (such as pasta, fries, onion rings, pizza, burgers) before or while drinking. However, nothing has worked as well as the Balsamic + Olive Oil + Bread.

Blueberry Mojitos = Irresistible
Blueberry Mojitos = Irresistible | Source

It’s too late! How Do I Cure My Hangover?

So you downed the trio of blueberry mojitos, along with who knows how many other drinks – but neglected to opt for hangover prevention. You’re stuck with a pounding head, nausea, bloodshot eyes & vertigo – now what? Unfortunately, there is no magical cure for a hangover. But, there are some things you can do that will help your body start to mend.

1) Sip on an electrolyte beverage, such as Pedialyte, Coconut Water, or Powerade when you wake up. A company called Nunn even sells sugar free electrolyte fizz-tablets that you can add to regular water. Alcohol severely dehydrates your body, which can impair the immune system, so it’s important to replace lost electrolytes.

2) Eat a good breakfast that contains some type of protein and no sugar. Drinking will typically leave you feeling weak and mal-nourished the next day. Having a meal that has a blend of protein and carbs will help your muscles get back into balance after suffering the effects of dehydration. Some of my favorite morning hangover remedies include a home-made Egg McMuffin, or Spam & rice, or an oven baked Totino’s Pizza. They all seem to be very good at soaking up any remaining alcohol while providing about 10 grams of protein to strengthen muscles. If at all possible, go back to sleep after eating breakfast to help your body heal completely.

3) After you eat, take a vitamin supplement. Drinking destroys levels of Vitamins B and C in your body. Help protect yourself by taking a whole foods multi-vitamin the day before drinking, and for a few days afterwards. You could also take additional B, C, D and anti-oxidant supplements, which will reduce free radicals, help prevent damage to the nervous system, and boost immune system function. If you drink regularly (3-4 times a week) take Milk Thistle supplements, which help the liver recover & regenerate.

Avoid caffeinated and high sugar drinks like coffee or soda, which contain no nutritional value and will only make you feel more dehydrated, and make your body even more acidic. Continue to avoid sugary foods & beverages for 24 hours after drinking large quantities of alcohol.

When Should I Avoid Alcohol?

Avoid drinking alcohol if it feels like you are coming down with a cold or flu bug. Dehydration and body acidity caused by alcohol will make your illness come on faster and stronger.

If you insist on imbibing, choose to drink only clear beverages, such as flavored vodka, white wine, or white rum. These have far fewer toxins than their darker counterparts like red wine and whiskey. When your body is over-taxed with toxins, it becomes highly acidic. Drinking alcohol can create the perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria, since they feed off of acids in your body.

Make sure you alternate drinking alcohol with drinking water to prevent dehydration. You can even add alkalizing drops to your bottle of water, to help prevent your body from becoming overly acidic. Get plenty of rest the next day & take vitamins, to help your body fully repair itself.

This should go without saying, but it’s also important to avoid alcohol if you will be having any type of surgery or dentist appointments within the coming days. Alcohol thins the blood, and makes us more prone to infection.

Alcohol Without the Hangover?

Scientists are working on alcohol alternatives & hangover antidotes to will prevent the hideous after-effects of alcohol. Who knows how far into the future we must look for this to become a reality, but it’s fascinating nonetheless!

In the mean time, it looks like we’ll have to rely on the good old bread, oil & balsamic trick. Trust me on this one - you’ll thank yourself in the morning. Cheers!


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