From Our Cellars

Gonna Be a Big Fourth, or a Fifth.

Posted July 3, 2012 in Health

Ahhhh, Fourth of July. We’ll fire up the grill, toss back some vino, and shoot our loved ones in the face with bottle rockets.

True enough. Americans will light up over 300 million pounds of explosives to celebrate our nation’s birthday, and 7,000 of us will be hit with one.Ouch

In addition to nursing the effects of an errant missile, many of us will be nursing a hangover following our Fourth of July festivities. We want you to be able to enjoy your wine, so we’re here to offer some tips.

First and foremost, enjoy in moderation. Your hangover is the likely result of too much liquid joy. Your body can only absorb so much alcohol before it gets itself in a snit. The general rule of thumb is one glass per hour, but that largely depends on the size of your glass. The average serving of wine is around six ounces, but we, like many, like drinking our wine from a tall tumbler. If you could talk to your liver, it would tell you that around three quarters of an ounce is enough for an hour.

You should also be cognizant of your body type. Big, burly lumberjack type? Bottoms up. Tiny, elfin waif? Slow down there sailor. In addition to body size being a key contributor to one’s hangover, there is a sexual divide. Not to offend anyone, but women genetically have a higher level of body fat than men, and will be slower to process alcohol. This isn’t to say that a good bottle of wine hasn’t stopped an armed conflict from breaking out between couples, but we’re engineered to drink differently.

Most of our country is shriveling up from a heatwave right now. A big part of your hangover comes from dehydration. While wine does contain water, it isn’t water. It has been turned into wine, and is therefore no substitute for good, natural H2O. It also cannot feed the masses or heal the sick. It just makes us happier. Drink something other than wine during the course of your festivities. Juice and sports drinks are good, though not as good as the real thing. Orange juice can actually give your liver a little boost and help you to process your fruit of the vine. Coffee, while equally important to us as is wine, will actually rid your body of valuable moisture as will any caffeine drink.

While we’re talking about fruit, eat a banana. Grapes are fruits, oranges are fruits, and bananas, loaded with potassium, will help your body recover. Like many fruits, they also contain fructose, and that’s a good ‘tose.

Are you a fan of red wines? Sorry for your luck. Dark wines and alcohols like bourbon contain a crazy thing called a congener. Don’t worry, it’s a natural byproduct of fermentation. They will, however, increase the effects of a hangover. Wine is Life, and a spicy wine is the variety of life, but we think that you can deal with a white or a nice rose for a day or two.

So let’s say that you’ve screwed the pooch and your bottle is empty. You’ve awoken with rager. Your head hurts, your stomach is upset, and you feel as if one million fluffy kittens have decided to camp on your tongue. What do you do? Maybe take a cold shower? It may wake you up, but you’re no doubt still a little tipsy from yesterday, and the last thing that you want to do is fall down in a cold shower. Tile is very unforgiving. Perhaps a nice hot cup of coffee will perk you up? We don’t talk to anyone until we’ve had our morning conversation with Juan Valdez, but think about what we’ve told you: caffeine is a diuretic, and while the stimulant will give you a kick in the shorts, you need to rehydrate.

How about a nice bowl of cereal? Milk actually does do a body good, and will help to ease an upset stomach. Many grains also contain healthy doses of vitamin B1, or thiamin, which will help your metabolism get back on track and help you to find your car keys. Unless you’re lactose intolerant. In which case you should just munch the grains. And skip the Hagen-Dazs.

Or belly up to the breakfast bar! Carbohydrates and proteins will feed your body and help it to process all of that wine. And who doesn’t like bacon? Maybe we need a bacon-flavored wine…

Sorry, bad idea.

When you’ve exhausted your metabolic resources, go back to bed. One of the nasty things about too much wine is that it makes you sleepy, but you don’t really sleep. Your body relies on certain patterns to get a good night’s rest, and alcohol kind of fakes that.

Besides, it’s a holiday!

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