This Is How You Can Halt Your Usual Crushing Hangover in Its Tracks

A cheat sheet on how you can be a social athlete who not only survives all the lunches, drinks, parties and get-togethers during the party season but are the last one standing every time.


The best way to reduce a hangover is to pre-empt it. The first step is to prepare your body by eating foods which contain enzymes that help break down alcohol and slow down its absorption into the bloodstream.

Eat Nashi pears 

Perhaps Australia’s most underrated contribution to the world is a study by the CSIRO which discovered that eating Nashi pears (also known as Korean or Asian pears) can help metabolise your drinks faster and reduce your hangover. 

According to the research, chemicals in the pears speed up the natural enzymes in your body that break down and neutralise alcohol and its byproducts. Compared to ordinary pears, nashi pears are crunchy and juicy, but with a blander flavour and are used as thirst quenchers. 

Slow alcohol absorption with food

Foods with a high fat content work well to reduce alcohol absorption, but not because they coat or line the stomach, as popularly believed. Their effect comes about because they need more time to digest in the stomach, which results in the alcohol being stuck there too and taking longer to be absorbed.  Gastroenterologists say that consuming mashed potatoes with lots of butter before you drink can help slow down alcohol’s impact. While you’re at it, add plenty of garlic to your mash — garlic contains a chemical that also helps neutralise hangover-causing toxins from the breakdown of alcohol.

Add an enzyme probiotic to your drink

When no one’s looking add a vial of Recoverthol to your drink. Created by Queensland scientists, Recoverthol is a liquid made of an enzyme (alcohol dehydrogenase) that helps break down alcohol metabolites. This enzyme is made naturally made by the liver and are already present in your gut, but by boosting the amount, your body can more easily break down acetaldehyde, the chemical byproduct of alcohol that is the main cause of hangovers. We tested Recoverthol on several members of the Latch team at various events where alcohol was served, and most claimed that their hangovers were milder or non-existent the following day. 


Whether you’re celebrating at home, at a dinner party or hitting the pubs and clubs on a Friday night, there are some tricks you can pull to lessen the impact of alcohol while you’re imbibing. One thing to remember is that you know your body better than anyone, so try to avoid drinks that you already know disagree with you.

Minimise congeners

 You may not have heard of them before, but these toxic fermentation byproducts are largely responsible for the severity of your hangover. Clear drinks or light liquors like vodka and gin have less congeners than red wine, champagne, whiskey, tequila, brandy and bourbon. Try to minimise mixing your drinks through the night too.

Go easy on the champagne

The carbon dioxide in fizzy alcoholic drinks like champagne makes you absorb alcohol faster — meaning you get drunk quicker, even if the champagne is lower in alcohol than a red or white wine. And contrary to myth, there is no evidence that champagne hangovers are worse than others.

Alternate with water 

Alcohol is a diuretic, so try and alternate between an alcoholic drink and a glass of water throughout the night, both to stay hydrated and to slow down the amount of alcohol you consume. If water is a bit awkward, ask for soda water in a short glass with lime and no one will hassle you.


The science on exactly what causes hangovers is surprisingly foggy, but it’s now widely believed that hangovers are caused by toxic byproducts of alcohol breakdown. The key chemical fingered for hangovers is acetaldehyde, created when ethanol from alcohol is broken down in the liver, and is up to 30 times more toxic than alcohol itself. 

For most hangover aches and pains many of us reach out to the chemist — so it might surprise you to learn that it’s only recently that a US startup has got the first ever approval to market and sell a drug as a hangover cure. Called Morning Recovery and available for order online, its main ingredient is an extract from the Oriental raisin tree, called dihydromyricetin (DHM). You can order everything from a six bottle recovery pack to a pallet of 3,400 bottles!

Tried and true treatments 

If a magic hangover cure is out of reach, here are some things that are easy to achieve, even when you’re feeling ill.


 Water is a great start, but electrolytes can help bring your body’s chemistry back into balance faster, so add electrolyte replacement drinks when you can. These can range from Gatorade and pickle juice to Hydralyte.

Eat a protein-heavy breakfast

The morning after, reach for the scrambled eggs. Eggs are full of useful amino acids like cysteine, which breaks down acetaldehyde, and taurine, which boosts liver health and function. Avoid the cliché greasy meals like hamburgers and hash browns, as they do nothing to alleviate hangovers — they only slow absorption of alcohol when you’re drinking.

Don’t exercise if your hangover is bad

An old wives’ tale is that you can’t “sweat out” a hangover. Sure, if you’re mildly hung over and well hydrated exercise could ramp up your endorphins and brain activity. But if you’re seriously suffering, your body is at a much higher risk of muscle strains, cramps and electrolyte imbalances. Take it easy.