Everyone thinks that a glass of red wine is the solution for everything... until the next day when you are suffering from a hangover and extreme headaches. Headaches and wine go hand in hand, and people complaining about headaches after having red wine is not new. But you know what is new? A study that finally has an answer as to why we suffer from headaches after drinking red wine.
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have identified the culprit responsible for giving us headaches after drinking red wine.
It is a natural flavonol (a type of metabolite) present in red wines, called quercetin, which can disrupt the proper digestion of alcohol, potentially leading to headaches.
Where are they found? Quercetin, also found in various fruits and vegetables, including grapes, is typically recognised as a beneficial antioxidant and is even available as a supplement.
According to this recent study, when quercetin interacts with alcohol in the body, it transforms into a different form known as quercetin glucuronide, which hinders alcohol metabolism.
According to Andrew Waterhouse, a wine chemist and the study's corresponding author, "When it gets in your bloodstream, your body converts it to a different form called quercetin glucuronide (an acetaldehyde). In that form, it blocks the metabolism of alcohol."
Consequently, individuals may accumulate the toxin acetaldehyde, as explained by lead author Apramita Devi, a postdoctoral researcher at the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology.
Now, even though hangovers and headaches are inevitable, here are some tips that might help you to limit it.
Stay hydrated: The most important step is to drink plenty of water before, during, and after consuming red wine. Alcohol can dehydrate your body, and staying hydrated may help reduce the likelihood of a headache.
Choose quality wines: Opt for higher quality red wines, as cheaper wines may contain more impurities and sulfites (which is not a great compound for your body), which can contribute to headaches and hangovers.
Pair with food: Consume red wine with a meal or healthy food to slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. This can help mitigate its effects on the body and reduce the risk of a headache.
Limit histamine-rich foods: Histamines can contribute to headaches in some individuals. Red wine contains histamines, so you might want to limit other histamine-rich foods in your diet, such as aged cheeses and processed meats.
Eat fruits that are rich in antioxidants: Fruits like kiwis and banana might help you the next day. Kiwis are high in potassium, which is an electrolyte that alcohol can deplete. They also contain Vitamin C and antioxidants. The sugar in fruit can help burn off alcohol.
Remember: The best way is to limit your alcohol intake, as excessive consumption can lead to headaches and really bad hangovers.