When I was younger I could drink copiously and wake up the next morning without the slightest hangover.  Unfortunately, these days two glasses of wine and the next morning my head is hurting, but that doesn't mean I want to change my drinking habits.  I still want to be able to drink like I'm 22 and go out and have fun, drunk shots, and not be in pain the next day.  Because unlike when I was 22, I don't have the entire day to lie around in bed.  In a quest to not get a hangover, I have scoured the internet for various "how to prevent a hangover" tips and was frustrated that nearly all articles I have read have said to not drink as much or to alternate drinks with glasses of water, etc... But sometimes you don't want to change your drinking habits, you want to go out, have fun, drink what you want, and still not have a hangover--that's where this article comes in.  I have learned a few tricks to prevent a hangover without having to cut back on drinks.

First, the obvious--eat before going out. Everyone knows that it's best to load up on carbs and healthy fats such as olive oil to "coat your stomach" and "absorb the alcohol" in order to prevent a hangover. This will obviously help, but it is not always practical. Sometimes you don't want a big heavy meal before drinking or don't have the time.  When you are looking for a pre-drinking meal, the best bet is Italian.  Italian food typically has a lot of carbs and olive oil.  Try to pick something with marinara sauce since marinara is loaded with lycopene which helps to both prevent and cure hangovers.  Eating something with meat will also help to prevent a hangover.

Another obvious tip is to DRINK WATER both before going out and while drinking.  I realize that sometimes when out drinking, particularly when at a bar or a club, you don't want to alternate cocktails with water (why waste the time waiting at the bar for a drink only to get a water?) and you don't necessarily want to drink too water much before you start drinking and therefore, have to "break the seal" early.   Even still, try to have at least a glass or two of water before going out and make sure to have water at your bedside for when you get home. That way you don't have to remember water at the end of the night. I find a large Nalgene to be the best bet, that way the next morning if you're not feeling well you don't have to get up to get water, you already have plenty of water right at your bedside.

Many nights I skip the first two steps to prevent a hangover, but I have found that vitamins are vital to preventing a hangover. Hangovers are not only caused by dehydration, but also by vitamin deficiencies. The two main and most important vitamins to take before drinking are Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C. I always take a B12 vitamin and a Cranberry supplement (Vitamin C & E) before drinking.

In addition to the B12 and C, I also take this combination of vitamins: a multi-vitamin, vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3 fish oil. You may not want to take all of those vitamins, but I strongly recommend taking a B12 supplement or B Complex and either Cranberry pills or a Vitamin C supplement.

Charcoal Pills
Another trick to prevent a hangover is to take two charcoal pills right before you go out. The charcoal pills will help absorb some of the alcohol and help prevent a hangover. (It will also slow down how long it takes to get drunk which depending on your perception is either a good or bad thing.) NOTE: If you take charcoal pills and are taking vitamin supplements, take the vitamin supplements approximately one hour before the charcoal pills because they will otherwise the charcoal pills will absorb the vitamins and render them useless.

Another trick is to eat 6 raw almonds before going out to protect the liver.  I'm there is no true science to how many almonds to eat, but 6 always seems to be the recommended "dosage."

Another way to protect your liver while drinking is to eat a banana beforehand.

Do not take Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Excedrin, etc...) before, during, or after drinking! Your liver cannot process Acetaminophen and alcohol at the same time and it will wreck havoc on your liver! Instead take Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc...) before going to bed to try to ward off a headache or the next morning if you still experience hangover pain.

If you follow these simple steps, you should be able to go out, have a great night, and not have to worry about searching for ways to cure a hangover the next morning.