In recent years, wine has made a huge jump in popularity. Wine is fun and glamorous, it comes in pretty bottles, it enhances the flavor of your favorite foods and there are enough different varieties for just about anyone to find something they like.
Unfortunately, come morning, that love affair with wine can be more of a love/hate relationship. You wake up feeling like the band used your head as a percussion instrument the night before, and the hum of the refrigerator sounds like a jackhammer directly between your ears.
Before you lift that next glass of pinot, here are five things you should know about wine’s unique power to take you from socially superior and sexy to horribly hung over and headachy.
1. Remember it’s still alcohol.
Have you ever noticed how no one on television gets drunk on wine? They always have that glass of jewel tone red liquid in hand, all sophisticated and classy, but nobody’s stumbling around or falling asleep at 8 p.m.
Now I’ll admit, if I’m out on the town and nowhere near my fluffy couch, I can get past the falling asleep thing – for a while. Let’s face it, though, wine usually runs between 12 and 15 percent alcohol, three times more alcohol than your average beer, so getting drunk is pretty much inevitable if you have more than a glass or two.
2. Drink water between wines.
It’s easy to forget about water when you’re enjoying a glass or two of your favorite Cabernet. However, dehydration is a common effect of alcohol and a major cause of those headaches you blamed on the wine.
Be sure to get enough water when you’re imbibing over the course of an evening. Drinking a glass of water for every glass of wine is a good rule of thumb and your head will thank you for it in the morning.
3. Ditch the sugar.
Sugary foods and wine may seem like a good idea at the time, but come morning you’ll find your head will probably disagree. Unfortunately though, combining sweets and wine isn’t the only thing that can give you that sunrise hit to the noggin. Drinking sweet wines can also cause headaches, so keep that in mind when choosing your vino du jour.
4. Don’t blame the sulfites.
It’s a common misconception that sulfites are the cause of headaches, especially when drinking red wines, but while sulfites might cause asthma-type symptoms in sensitive individuals they probably aren’t the cause of your headache.
Tannins, on the other hand, might just be the culprit if you’re a red wine drinker. One way to test this is to check your reaction to black tea, which is high in tannins. If you get a headache from the tea, you might want to switch to white wines, unless that Malbec or Merlot is just too good to pass up and worth the temporary trauma it causes your skull.
5. Block the histamines.
Our body releases histamines as a result of an allergic reaction to things like ragweed or pollen, a condition commonly known as hay fever. Recent studies show that aged foods and drinks can also cause the same reaction in our body, resulting in allergy-like symptoms, including headaches.
Luckily, taking a nondrowsy histamine blocker before a wine-and-dine night on the town is all it takes to prevent a headache from this common chemical reaction.
While wine headaches may have a variety of causes, they all usually stem from simple overindulgence. If you really want to avoid the aftermath, you probably have to avoid the excess. Then again, what’s an occasional headache when you’ve got wine?