19/11/2010 12:37 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

The Party Girl's Guide To Christmas Drinking

If the social diary here at the MyDaily office is anything to go by, the pre-Christmas party season is already getting into gear. And let's face it, that means drinking and more drinking.

Vodka is best for avoiding hangovers Colourless spirits are less likely to give you a hangover. Photo: MorgueFile, imelenchon

Christmas is the one time of year when even the best-intentioned among us fail to stick to anything resembling sensible drinking. So if you can't be good, here's how to stay on the right side of healthy where alcohol is concerned...

Eat before you drink
If you've ever wondered why health experts always bang on about eating something before drinking alcohol, it's because having food in your stomach slows down the absorption of alcohol in your bloodstream. The best thing to eat before a booze-fuelled night out is protein (meat, fish, eggs, beans, tofu, nuts and seeds), as it's digested more slowly than carbohydrate so it stays in your stomach for longer.

Know your limits
Scientists recently found a possible genetic for why some people get tipsy long before others, which explains why you might only need a couple of drinks to feel woozy while someone else can drink for hours and stay relatively sober. Or it could have something to do with body size and weight - so don't try to keep up with the big boys. And bear in mind that, on average, your body takes an hour to process a unit of alcohol (in other words, pace yourself).

Choose white not red
Want to avoid a hangover? Then choose colourless drinks such as white wine, vodka and gin as they contain smaller amounts of substances called congeners. These are impurities in alcohol that many experts believe are linked to hangovers. Red wine and dark spirits contain the most.

Alternate alcohol with water
You've no doubt heard this one before, but it's good advice. Have a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink, or at the very least make sure each drink includes a liberal amount of ice. The idea is it keeps you hydrated, and you may end up drinking less booze too. Your liver, head and stomach will thank you for it in the morning.

What to drink
1. Keep it pure by drinking neat vodka - or on the rocks for added hydration. Gin is also relatively free from congeners (add fresh lime juice for added vitamin C).
2. For an antioxidant boost try a Bloody Mary (the tomato juice contains healthy lycopene). Or if you prefer fruit juice, lace your vodka with pomegranate or cranberry juice.
3. If you prefer more manly drinks, forget lager and cider and stick to real ale (thanks to the effect of all that liquid on your bladder you probably won't be able to drink enough to get seriously wasted).

And what to avoid
1. Cocktails containing dark-coloured spirits such as brandy, rum or whisky mixed with anything sugary and creamy are a recipe for hangover hell. Don't even go there if you have to work in the morning.
2. Red wine is another no-no as it contains a substance called tyramine - a devil for causing hangovers. And the cheaper the wine, the more congeners it's likely to contain.
3. Anything fizzy will get you drunk really quickly because the bubbles help alcohol get into your bloodstream. So if you're having champagne, stick to just the one.

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