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Hangover Helper: 6 Ways to Ease the Pain

The pounding headache, the churning stomach, the remorse for having had one too many - just in time for New Year's Eve tonight, we have six ways to relieve or even prevent the effects of a hangover tomorrow morning. Oh wait, we forgot the seventh: Don't overdo it in the first place.

Don't smoke. Smoking while you drink may increase the risk of a hangover the next morning, according to a study in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Researchers at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University in Providence aren't sure exactly why, though they think it may be because alcohol and nicotine have related effects in the brain. There are already plenty of reasons to avoid both smoking and heavy drinking, researchers said in a statement, but the findings suggest that if smokers are going to drink alcohol, it would be wise to at least cut down on cigarettes.

Eat asparagus. Go green. A study in the Journal of Food Science found that the amino acids and minerals in asparagus may reduce your hangover and protect your liver cells against alcohol toxins. The 2009 South Korean study found that asparagus leaves had the highest amount of these protective nutrients, but the stalks are also good for you and are packed with vitamins. Try this simple oven-roasted version.

Make a bacon sandwich. Is there anything a few hot, crisp slices of bacon can't cure? Apparently bacon contains a high level of amino acids; these aid your brain's recovery from the effects of drinking, say Australian researchers. Making a bacon sandwich provides both carbohydrates and protein that can help rev up your metabolism and help you deal with the aftereffects of overindulgence. Plus, researchers add, the "complex chemical interaction in the cooking of bacon produces the winning combination of taste and smell which is almost irresistible." In other words: yum.

Eggs can help. Eggs contain cysteine, an amino acid that helps break down a toxin called acetaldehyde, which builds up in your body as you drink, writes Chicago dietitian Dave Grotto on WebMD. A simple omelet (try this recipe) or some scrambled eggs, or maybe even adding an egg to that bacon sandwich, might help with those morning-after effects.

Have some hummus. There's some evidence, including a 1973 study, that eating foods high in vitamin B6 may help reduce hangover symptoms the next day. Chickpeas are especially high in B6, so snacking on chips and hummus with your drinks is a good idea.

Drink water; sip soup. The University of Maryland Medical Center says dehydration increases the effects of alcohol on your body. Try to drink a glass of water between alcoholic drinks. For that hungover feeling the next day, clear soup and electrolyte drinks (like Gatorade or other sports drinks) are good for replacing the salt and potassium you lost from drinking alcohol.

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