How to (really) prevent a hangover

These expert tips will help you stave off post-party suffering.

New Year's Eve has a striking contradiction: We stay up late to welcome the new year with buoyant toasts and our optimistic resolutions, only to squander our fresh start in bed with a headache and a case of the shakes. There’s only one way to completely avoid a hangover (hint: put down the bubbly and pick up the seltzer) and almost nothing you can do once you wake up and the damage is done. So, we talked to experts about what to do now to curtail the hangover pains and start 2014 off on the right track.

choose light over dark

The Expert: Alex Zimmerman, T4 National Manager at Equinox
The Tip: Stick to vodka and white wine and avoid dark spirits like bourbon, scotch and brandy.
The Science: It’s more than an old wives’ tale: Dark spirits have higher levels of congeners, the by-products of alcohol fermentation, which have been known to intensify hangover symptoms. You won’t be able to ward off a hangover entirely by drinking lighter booze (most of the symptoms are thanks to the ethanol, not the congeners) but you might feel just a bit better the next day.

chase with water

The Expert: Cassie Kipper, Fitness Manager, Tier 4 Coach and Registered Dietitian
The Tip: Have a glass of water between every alcoholic drink and, before you go to bed, chug a big glass of H20 with an electrolyte tablet.
The Science: Staying hydrated is the most important move you can make to help combat soreness and headaches that come with a hangover. Your secret weapon? Electrolytes, minerals that break into small, electrically charged particles when dissolved in water. These particles help regulate your body’s fluids and give your hardworking liver and kidneys a helping hand when it comes to cleaning out your blood stream.

plan a pre-snack

The Expert: Marissa Lippert, nutritionist and founder of Nourish Kitchen + Table in New York City
The Tip: Have a green juice and a handful of nuts before you go out and, if you come home really tipsy, eat a piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter before you hit the sack.
The Science: A green juice will help you hydrate and get antioxidants to give your body some love before you start drinking, and almonds will fill you up so you’re not drinking on an empty stomach (hello, headache). The toast with peanut butter has a balance of carbs and fat that can stabilize blood sugar to help avoid the shakes and headaches that come with alcohol’s sugar crash.

pop vitamin b

The Experts: Jeffrey Morrison, M.D. and nutritional health coach Melissa Wood of The Morrison Center in New York City
The Tip: Take B vitamins before you hit the town.
The Science: Your body works on overdrive to metabolize alcohol, a process that can deplete essential B vitamins and make it tougher to recover. Take a vitamin B complex with B-12 and B-6 that day to help avoid the fatigue and bad mood that can kick in the morning after.

sweat before you sip

The Expert: Justin Jacobs, T4 Manager at Equinox Tribeca
The Tip: Hit the gym for a high-intensity workout this afternoon.
The Science: High-intensity training leads to a post-exercise metabolic boost, says Jacobs, which means your metabolism is working on overdrive for up to 24 hours after your workout session. This can help your body metabolize the alcohol in your system faster – even as you sleep – to make the next morning feel a bit better.