Hangovers are nasty. Drinking is fun. Too much drinking can cause a hangover, hence the dilemma.
If you want to have a good night out and not have a hangover in the morning, it is important to understand the causes of the hangover. There are three major causes of a hangover - dehydration, vitamin deficiency, and a buildup of toxins in the body.
The first cause, dehydration, is most immediate. I once read that dehydration causes your brain to shrink and begin to tug away from your skull, hence the throbbing headache. The easiest way to battle dehydration is to keep hydrated. Alcoholic drinks, like caffeinated drinks, dehydrate you, so you need to drink something else as well. Drink water before you go out, while you are out, and after you get home. The more alcohol you consume, the more water you should drink. As a general rule of thumb, balance each alcoholic drink with a small glass of water (6-8 ounces).
The second cause, vitamin deficiency, accompanies dehydration. If you drink a lot, you will also urinate a lot. However, this comes not from having too many fluids in the body but an imbalance in body chemicals caused by alcohol. As a result, you are draining your body of liquid and vitamins without replacing them. After a heavy night of drinking, it is therefore advisable to replenish those vitamins before you go to sleep. A vitamin supplement will suffice, but for a more natural remedy drink some orange juice. Also have some orange juice the following morning for breakfast.
The third cause, toxins in the body, results from the breakdown of alcohol by your liver. After your body absorbs the alcohol into the blood (making you drunk), your liver filters the alcohol out (making you not drunk). The byproduct of this chemical reaction, though, is an enzyme that is mildly toxic. It takes time for your body to breakdown and get rid of this toxin, so it will take time for you to recover. One way to combat this, however, is to insert a type of "filtration system" into your body. What filters out bad chemicals? Carbon. Where do you get carbon from? Burnt toast! It might sound silly, but the carbon from the burnt toast will help your body filter out some of those toxins and recover more quickly. This reaction also uses up a lot of glucose (sugar), so it is another reason to drink juice as well as water.
Finally, there is one fallacy about preventing a hangover. Eating before you drink will not prevent you from getting drunk or from getting sick. Eating fatty foods will line your stomach with fats and oils that slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. As a result, you will get drunk more slowly. However, you will still absorb the same amount of alcohol, eventually feeling the same effects of dehydration, vitamin deficiency, and toxin build-up.
So, how do you prevent a hangover and recover from one? Stay hydrated, drink some vitamin-packed, sugar-filled juice, and eat some burnt toast in the morning. Or, drink in moderation. Now there's a novel idea.