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wine hangover cure

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Wine Hangover Cure: Top Tips For a Fast Recovery

Afterdrink Author Kathy Caldwell
Kathy Caldwell

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Evidence based

You’ve woken up with a wine hangover and are looking for a quick fix to get rid of your symptoms.

Wine hangovers are notorious for being one of the worst. If you’ve been unlucky enough to endure one, you’ll know exactly what we mean.

In this article, we’re going to go over some of the top wine hangover cure remedies to try and get you back on your feet.

First up, we’ll go over the reasons why wine hangovers are especially painful.

Table of contents

Causes of a wine hangover

Before we go over potential wine hangover cures, we first need to go over how wine causes them in the first place.

Wine hangovers are arguably one of the worst types you can have. And there’s a good reason why they’re particularly severe.

Wine contains more congeners when compared to clear spirits and light beers.

But what are congeners?

They are natural by-products produced as a result of the aging and fermentation process that wine goes through.

It gives wine its distinct aroma and flavor. The most common congener culprits in wine include:

Tannins

Responsible for the dry and bitter taste of wine and have been shown to be a trigger for wine headaches.

Histamine

 Histamine is an organic compound with several physiological functions. For example, It’s an inflammatory mediator and responsible for the dilation of blood vessels and hives that develop in allergic reactions.(1)

Flavonoids and polyphenols: 

These organic compounds have antioxidant properties, but they also lead to a buildup of phenols. Phenols are charged particles and react with other molecules and, therefore, can cause inflammation.

Sulfites

sulfites are added to some wine to work as a preservative. Some people have sulfite intolerance and allergies.(2)

Unfortunately, these congeners make hangovers a lot worse and explain why wine is particularly notorious in this respect.

When it comes to hangovers, red wine is especially bad compared to white wine or rose. This is because it contains a lot more of the congeners mentioned above.

Congeners in wine add to its flavour and aroma. Consequently, they instensify hangover symptoms.

How to cure a wine hangover

An ideal wine hangover cure would mean to take away your symptoms completely.

Before we start this section, it’s important to mention that a magic “wine hangover cure” doesn’t exist.

That said, there are some things you can do to soften the blow.

1) Rehydration

rehydration-sachet


Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it makes your kidneys produce more urine. In fact, every gram of alcohol makes you pee an extra 10mls. A glass of wine contains around 14 grams of alcohol. Therefore, every glass of wine makes you lose 140ml of water.(3)(4)

If you’ve had several glasses of wine, you can see this adds up. Therefore, dehydration is one of the main causes of a wine hangover.

A great way to rehydrate fast is with rehydration sachets. These contain essential salts and minerals which help replace some of what’s lost.

You can learn more about rehydrating quickly after drinking alcohol in our other post.

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2) Painkillers

Over the counter painkillers like acetaminophen (paracetamol), aspirin, Ibuprofen, and low dose codeine are all potential options.

Aspirin and Ibuprofen belong to a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS). Although they are great for reducing inflammatory-related pain, they also reduce the stomach mucous lining. As a result, this leaves the stomach cells less protected against stomach acid.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a good choice, but remember it’s metabolized in the liver. Some over the counter preparations contain acetaminophen and low dose codeine. It’s important to realize that codeine can make some people feel nauseous which is already one of the main wine hangover symptoms.

Painkillers can help take some of the pain away but they aren’t wine hangover cures.

3) Sleep

By far your best bet for a wine hangover cure is sleep and rest. It’s only possible If you’re lucky enough to have the day off from work or able to hand over family responsibilities to a partner.

But it allows your body time to recover from some of the havoc caused by wine.

4) Ginger

Ginger is a natural anti-sickness remedy. It’s recommended by doctors for relief from morning sickness in pregnant women and it’s been shown in studies to work.(5)

Sipping on ginger tea or taking a supplement containing ginger could help.

Not drinking is the only real wine hangover cure!

Things to avoid

Now that we’ve covered some simple wine hangover remedies, next up we’ll go over things you’ll probably want to avoid.

Coffee

Many people reach for a cup of coffee as their first drink in the hope it’ll cure their wine hangover. Unfortunately, coffee could do more harm than good.

Firstly, it’s a diuretic like alcohol. You’ll already be dehydrated and coffee will exacerbate this. You may already have guessed this from years of experience drinking coffee and needing the loo several times.

Secondly, it’s a stimulant which means it’ll increase your heart rate and the amount you sweat. It’s not ideal because your body has already been put through its paces from the damaging effects of alcohol and congeners in wine.

On the other hand, caffeine will make you more alert and temporarily boost energy levels so there are pros and cons to consider.

Exercise

Ever heard of “sweating it out” as a wine hangover cure tactic? Well, it doesn’t work. By the time you have a hangover, your body has been battered from all angles.

There’s nothing left to “sweat out” apart from more water which will add the stress your body is already under.

On the other hand, exercise may make you feel better as physical workouts release endorphins. But on the whole, it’s probably best avoided.

More wine

Also known as hair of the dog, may seem like a good idea at first. Drinking more alcohol to cure your wine hangover could technically work.

After all, hangover symptoms start when your blood alcohol levels drop to zero. Therefore, topping blood alcohol levels up should basically make you tipsy again and numb the pain.

However, you’ll be setting yourself up for an even more severe hangover once you decide to stop drinking. Hair of the dog only delays the inevitable.

Hard to digest food

Alcohol is a toxin that irritates your stomach lining. In addition, alcohol can increase stomach acid production and, therefore, leave your stomach in a delicate state after drinking wine.(6)

As a result, hard to digest food may not sit so well in the morning. These include foods such as meat (particularly red meat), salad, citrus fruits, and vegetables.

Sticking to easy to digest carbohydrates like boiled potatoes or plain pasta is a better choice.

How to prevent a wine hangover

As any doctor will tell you, prevention is always better than cure. This is because a wine hangover cure that’ll completely take away your symptoms doesn’t exist.

Next up, we’ll go over some key prevention tips:

Stick to lighter colored wine

congeners in wine

We mentioned congeners in wine earlier in this article. Red wine is particularly heavy when it comes to congeners and lighter colored wine such as rose and white wine naturally contain a lot less.

Slow down and limit intake

Ultimately, the severity of your wine hangover is directly proportional to how much wine you’ve had to drink. So the best prevention tip is to drink less.

In addition, increasing the amount of time between each glass of wine (i.e slowing down) can have a big effect. The reason is, slowing down will give your liver more time to process and eliminate the toxins produced from the by-products of alcohol metabolism

Water

Drinking water between every glass of wine is a great way to rehydrate. Furthermore, doing this will increase the amount of time between each glass too.

Eat before you go out

Having a meal before or while drinking slows down alcohol absorption from your gut. Rapid peaks and troughs in blood alcohol concentrations wreak havoc on your insides which is what happens when drinking on an empty stomach.

Conclusion

That brings us to the end of our look into wine hangover cures. We’ve also walked you through all the reasons why a wine hangover can be worse than other drinks and tips to recover from your wine hangover fast.

Sticking to the basics by keeping well hydrated, having a meal before going out and reducing your wine intake is key to preventing the worst symptoms. Furthermore, it’ll help reduce how long your hangovers last.

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