Champagne is a staple drink, with effervescence and complex notes that complement any occasion. But, as much as we love joyous toasts with friends, there is that one foe we don’t want to face the next morning: the skull-cracking champagne headache.
There are a few reasons why champagne gives you a headache. You probably think it’s due to too much alcohol. Well, yes. That, and those tiny orbs you love seeing float in your flute.
Below, we’ll delve into the fizzy science behind the throbbing pain you get in your head every time you have a glass of your favorite alcoholic beverage. We’ll also talk about the different ways you can alleviate it and what foods to avoid so you can fully enjoy your champagne without the dreadful hangover.
Why Does Champagne Cause Headaches?
Chances are, you’ve seen the ‘contains sulfites’ label on the bottles of champagnes and wines. It is a common misconception that the sulfite in champagnes or sparkling wines are the main culprits, but it’s not.
The sulfites in your champagne, whether it’s naturally occurring or added, are crucial in the fermentation process. This compound serves as a preservative and enhancer. With young wines, especially, sulfites keep them from spoiling.
Sulfites protect the wine against any oxidation or bacterial contamination, which could happen at crucial stages of the winemaking process. Without it, your wine will end up tasting sour. However, keep in mind that sulfites can cause other issues like allergy and asthma symptoms. But not a headache.
Others even blame the grape strains. Different grape varieties have natural sugars, but once they are broken down into carbon dioxide during the fermentation process, there will be minimal to zero traces of grape sugars left. So, it has nothing to do with it.
If you feel your head hurting right after a glass or sip, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Is it low-alcohol intolerance? Not really. But it’s most likely the alcohol and the carbonation aka fizz aka bubbles.
It’s in the Alcohol
Obviously. The alcohol concentration in champagne and other drinks can give you a skull-cracking headache. Champagne contains ethanol, and when taken at high concentrations, it will stop your body from eliminating biogenic amines.
Common amines present in wines are tyramine, histamine, and phenylethylamine. These are naturally occurring substances during the vinification process. Certain foods also have the same biogenic amines. This is why you choose your food pairing carefully, which we will discuss later in this post.
The alcohol also inhibits the hormone that regulates your internal hydration, which causes you to piss frequently. So, now you’re dehydrated, and more hungover than ever.
And the Bubbles
Champagne is highly coveted due to its impressive bubbles, which contain carbon dioxide.
But the bubbles are so dainty and fancy and pretty. Why blame them?
Yes, they are. And you may even feel like you’re “tasting the stars,” as did Dom Pérignon. However, due to the high amounts of carbonation in champagne, the alcohol can hit you harder than beer or cocktails. This is because the bubbles get the alcohol into your bloodstream quickly.
When this happens, the alcohol interacts with the oxygen in your bloodstream. What it does is it chokes your bloodstream off some oxygen that your brain needs, causing an unbearable headache. It can also induce dizziness and nausea.
Yes and no. But more like no. The dosage, or liqueur d’expedition is simply what gives wine its sweetness. However, keep in mind that in high concentrations, it can dehydrate you.
Sugar can have diuretic properties, which cause your body to pee more frequently, resulting in dehydration that can leave you with a headache and hangover. But if you can finish a whole chocolate bar without your head pounding, then it’s obvious that sugar isn’t to blame.
How Do You Prevent a Champagne Headache?
We all despise the effects of alcoholic drinks on our bodies. But no matter how much we hate going through the terrible migraine, hangovers, dizziness, and drowsiness, we just couldn’t lie low on the booze. The good news is that there are easy ways to alleviate a champagne headache.
Put Food in Your Belly First
You can suppress a headache and hangover by avoiding alcohol consumption on an empty stomach. But if you can’t help it, can you please at least eat while drinking champagne? Have a light meal or something.
Also, apparently, there are certain foods you could eat before, during, or after drinking champagne. But, what matters more is what foods you can’t pair it with. As we’ve mentioned previously, there are certain foods containing the same biogenic amines found in wine.
Here are certain foods you can need to avoid:
- Canned fish, particularly mackerel
- Fermented foods
- Veggies like tomatoes and spinach
- Fruits like avocados, bananas, raspberries, plums, and oranges
Combining these foods with your alcoholic drinks can make your headache worse. It’s best to give up the wine if you want to include these foods in your meal for the day.
Dehydration can trigger headaches, remember?
The bubbles in champagne can really get to your head. If you can’t deal with the headache, have some water before or in between sips. Keep a glass in handy. It keeps you hydrated and helps to alleviate hangovers and the severity of champagne headaches.
When you’re hydrated, your body works better at expelling toxic substances that could cause the notorious champagne headache, drunkenness, feelings of dizziness, and nausea.
Too much sugar is not good for you in general. And having more in addition to your champagne or prosecco can worsen a headache. It can increase blood sugar and cause a migraine.
Can One Glass of Champagne Give You a Headache?
A glass of champagne could give you a headache. In fact, some people get headaches right away after just one sip. But it’s not due to low-alcohol intolerance. It’s more on the concentration of ethanol in the wine.
When you consume champagne and other alcoholic beverages, your body experiences dehydration. This happens when the hormone that regulates this is suppressed due to alcohol. It causes you to pee frequently, which can result in dehydration.
What Champagne Doesn’t Give You a Headache?
Unless your palate is more accustomed to Prosecco, if you want to avoid a headache that feels like death, go for Brut or Extra Brut wines. Wines like Prosecco are made in a tank. It can have as much as four times the atmosphere of pressure. So, they are considerably less bubbly than Champagne produced by a press.
Why Is a Champagne Hangover So Bad?
According to an article by ABC News, champagne hangovers are worse. The champagne headaches and hangovers you get from them are worse than regular cocktails and wines.
The carbon dioxide gas bubble in your fizzy drink tends to absorb alcohol quickly in your stomach and bloodstream. When your blood alcohol content (BAC) is high, it can wreak havoc on your endocrine and digestive systems. This also gets you feeling drunk faster, making hangovers worse.
While it’s considered a prized alcoholic beverage, the headaches and hangovers that come with champagne are actually worse than other types of alcoholic beverages. The alcohol and bubbles in the sparkling wine are the main reasons why champagne gives you a headache.
Don’t blame it entirely on the bubbly, though. You need to also pick the right food to go with and hydrate yourself to combat a champagne headache.
We hope you’ve found our post helpful and remember to drink responsibly. Cheers!