The holidays are almost here and with that comes the dreaded holiday hangover! You like to enjoy a drink, two, and sometimes even a few more than you know your body will appreciate.
I get it. And I want to help you try to prevent a hangover, or at least have some better nutrition tips to make it a little less painful.
I have to say it. Alcohol is not necessary and really doesn’t help the body run better. Despite the pros often cited, like some alcohols being a way to get in antioxidants, the fact is you can and should get those in from food more often.
You shouldn’t drink alcohol at all if you are trying to help your body heal, grow a new life, or are advised against drinking by a practitioner. You shouldn’t drink alcohol in excess and you should never drive after drinking any alcohol – that’s right, not even one glass of wine.
And if you are trying to lose weight, body fat, and struggling, skipping alcohol and other caloric beverages is a better way to get results
Holiday Hangover Prevention Tips
1. Hydrate before you drink alcohol: that means get in enough water and enough potassium which helps bring water into the cells. It also means if you plan to work out before you drink, it’s extra important that you plan to replace these nutrients along with others so that alcohol doesn’t hit your body harder.
2. Sleep better before a big night (or day) out. Extra alcohol will likely impact your sleep that night, so part of your better nutrition tips will be to address your fatigue the next day. If you come into your day or night of drinking already exhausted, you’re going to make it a lot harder on your body to recover the following day.
3. Eat better before you drink. Don’t try to keep your calories low by skipping food and just drinking your calories. Your body will revolt when it goes to do any work and doesn’t have the tools it needs.
It’s a lot less likely you’ll eat better during and after you drink so getting in a rainbow of non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-balanced pit stops, and avoiding added sugar or artificial colors will give your body more of what it needs to run better.
4. Eat less, more often. Just like you want to pace your alcohol intake, you should pace your food intake. Ideally, you eat something that’s a little better for you, but hey, even if you choose something junkier, your digestion and whole body will thank you if you space out how much you have at once. So have that slice of pizza or a smaller plate of nachos, then in 2-3 hours go back for more.
5. Supplement? Most of the hangover prevention ones are a waste of money when drinking alcohol. There are a few exceptions like better quality electrolyte replacements — be aware that some of these contain carbs from sugar versus stevia or another non-caloric sweetener.
It’s a good idea to continue your normal supplements – especially if you take ones for digestive support. However, if you plan to drink in the evening and normally take magnesium or other supplements to relax the body or help you sleep, you may want to skip those as they could have undesirable effects and more likely, won’t be helpful.
A day or night of extra alcohol will likely result in a poor night’s sleep even if you pass out and get in the hours you’re unlikely to feel well rested.
6. Avoid added sugar. Added sugar in your food and beverages can amplify the impact of alcohol increasing the likelihood that you’ll get a hangover — and pack on unwanted pounds too! Instead, have a piece of fruit in your cocktail instead of fruit juice.
Or have your alcohol be your dessert. Avoid the candy bowl or dessert table at the party and try not to have these things in your cupboard or freezer at home.
7. Drink more … water. Yep, you know it, I know it, your body knows it. Water will help prevent a hangover, along with potassium-rich foods like avocado, coconut water — which make great ice cubes by the way — watermelon, and even potatoes or sweet potatoes.
Be sure to choose chips or fries made from real ones. Yes, it’s likely you’ll have to pee a little bit more but that’s a good thing as the body continues to eliminate what it doesn’t like or need anymore.
Tips To Make Your Holiday Hangover Go Away
However, if you do tipple a little too much and are feeling some pain, here are a few tips to help you feel better.
Get moving! Even if it’s just to walk at a slow, sweaty pace. Moving will help you get that alcohol out of your system. That smell, that sweat, yep, it’s your body trying to eliminate the alcohol and the rest of the waste any way it can which includes your skin.
Don’t stop what is moving. Yes, I’m talking about your bowls. Don’t take an over the counter to stop #2’s unless it’s severe diarrhea and your doc advises it. Your body needs to get rid of the alcohol so let it.
Plan for a nap or hit the sack early. Your body needs recovery time desperately. It’ll tell you that by making you tired — don’t band-aid or override that feeling with caffeine or sugar — get to bed or at a minimum close your door and shut your eyes for a few hours.
Support your digestion. Use a quality probiotic, DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice), and calcium all of which you can take in a supplement or get from foods like almond milk or hard cheese. Ginger may help and so can bubbles like a. sparkling water.
Keep hydrating. By this I mean to keep the water and especially the potassium coming in. This is where those breakfast potatoes or avocado on your burrito become a delicious and smart choice.
Start small. You may be starving and want to feast but your digestion doesn’t want to. If you order big, eat half and save half for later. Don’t skip carbs but do avoid added sugar like syrup, jellies, and sauces.
Postpone or reduce caffeine. Consider caffeine from things like black tea or even a caffeine supplement as the acid from coffee may be super brutal. But if you need your coffee, don’t have it alone. Enjoy it with your food or even after you eat.
Take your medications but skip supplements. Now is not the time to give your body more, and no supplements are going to undo last night’s drinking. Come back to them tonight or tomorrow.
I hope these tips and strategies help you have a hangover-free holiday this year. Leave a comment and let me know if you find these hacks helpful.