Drinking alcohol is perhaps the best example of Newton's third law of motion. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and for every glass of tequila, there is an equal and excruciating headache the next morning.
The hangover has been an inescapable reality of drinking ever since the advent of booze, and though each culture claims to hold the key to curing the pain—shijimi soup in Japan, pickle juice in Russia, vuelve à la vida in Mexico, or Kung Pao Chicken and a joint if you’re Anthony Bourdain—few are supported by actual science.
But now, thanks to a new series of infographics from Fix.com, we have a better understanding of what causes a hangover, and what to do about each symptom.
To begin with, beverages like whiskey, red wine, rum, and brandy are likely to increase the duration of a hangover. Drinks like these contain high levels of congeners—trace chemicals left over from the fermentation process—and are known to worsen the pain the next morning, according to research from the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University. Low-congener drinks like beer, gin, vodka, and white wine are safer bets.
As for cures, the old-standbys tend to work best—take ibuprofen and vitamin B to combat a headache, water and sports drinks to thwart dehydration, an Alka-Seltzer for nausea, and eat carbs to help fight low blood sugar.
“You probably already figured this one out, but the only sure cure for a hangover is giving your body time to complete its normal process for dealing with alcohol,” the study reads. “Science has debunked most of the more popular hangover remedy myths. Among those shown in a study in the Netherlands to have no real impact on hangovers are consuming more alcohol (the “hair of the dog”), taking Vitamin B, or loading up on caffeine (which could worsen dehydration symptoms).”
Still, the hangover-curing ice cream bar from South Korea seems like it might be worth a shot this summer.
Check out the full guide from Fix, below: