Recovery and hangover relief | Nutrition guide

Imagine this situation – you have just woken up in an unfamiliar place with no idea of ​​the time and the day or even the year.

Your whole body aches from head to toe and you don’t know if you’ve been robbed, if you’ve been in a boxing match or something even more fantastic.

You feel disoriented, wonder how much you spent the night before, your hands are shaking, and even going to the bathroom seems extremely difficult because you lose coordination.

This is called a hangover.

But don’t worry, it can be much harder. At least you didn’t wake up in the lion’s cage at some zoo, with a weird new tattoo or married to someone you don’t even know.

However, a hangover is a particularly unpleasant thing…

If you ever find yourself in this situation, we want to prepare you with a few tips.

In this article, you’ll find a hangover nutrition guide:

  • What is a hangover?
  • How to avoid a hangover?
  • Junk food and hangovers – help or hinder?
  • How to deal with a hangover at breakfast
  • How to deal with a hangover at lunch
  • How to deal with a hangover at dinner
  • How to use snacks to beat hangovers
  • Foods to avoid when you have a hangover
  • How to deal with hangover stress

What exactly is a hangover?

First, let’s find out exactly what happens to the body after drinking alcohol and what scientists say about why hangovers are sometimes particularly severe.

Alcohol is produced by the fermentation of sugars contained in grain, fruit, and sometimes other plants or foods. It can be both mild and narcotic, but people over the age of 18 in most countries around the world can buy it legally from stores where it is available.

As a drug, it acts as a depressant (reduces or slows down functional processes in the body) and makes us more social, lowers inhibitions and many other processes in the brain responsible for making decisions and forming memories.

Alcohol has been known to man since ancient times, probably for more years than many people realize. Archaeologists have discovered that our ancestors were drinking alcohol as far back as the Stone Age, long before humans even had measuring vessels for this beverage (1).

It is important to note that alcohol itself is not a toxic substance. It cannot be stored in the body, and if it is not processed quickly and efficiently, it can accumulate and cause serious damage.

The byproducts of alcohol breakdown can be highly reactive and generate something called oxidative stress. This refers to the imbalance between reactive metabolic byproducts and antioxidants. The higher the percentage of oxidative stress, the higher the percentage for cell and tissue damage (2).

Scientists have found that the greater the oxidative process, the greater the body’s inflammatory response and therefore the more severe the hangover will be (3).

A hangover itself is an overall malaise of body, mind and spirit. The most common symptoms include headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, thirst, dizziness, lightheadedness, and mood changes (4). This is probably a list of symptoms that everyone is familiar with…

Although the exact mechanisms that cause these symptoms are not fully known, oxidative stress, inflammation, poor quality and quantity of sleep, and the diuretic properties of alcohol (making you go to the bathroom more often) are thought to contribute to the overall worsening condition (4).

Some of these symptoms are out of our control, but others are. Here are some tips on how to avoid and reduce hangover symptoms.

How to avoid a hangover

Besides the obvious answer, which is to not drink alcohol at all, there are always ways to protect yourself from a hangover and its consequences.

First, here are a few things that are most likely to make your hangover worse (3,4):

  • Drinking too much alcohol;
  • Too fast consumption of alcohol;
  • If you generally don’t drink alcohol very often;
  • Drinking alcohol with a high content of congeners (for example, drinks such as bourbon).

Congeners are substances found in many alcoholic beverages and are often by-products released during the distillation and fermentation process.

So a good tip would be (especially if you’re a non-drinker) to drink more slowly and know when to stop. Each of us feels the moment when one more drink is too much, so it’s good to know how to stop then.

The amount and type of food we eat can also help reduce our risk of a hangover.

When there is food in the stomach, it takes longer for the body to absorb alcohol. The advice we’ve all heard “don’t drink on an empty stomach” is absolutely true.

Meals high in fat, carbohydrates and protein are equally effective in slowing the absorption of alcohol. The most important factor in absorption is whether the alcohol will be consumed on an empty stomach or with food (5).

Any drink taken during or after a meal will have a much weaker effect and accordingly reduce the degree of hangover afterwards. On the other hand, when consuming alcohol, a meal high in fiber and protein will minimize the risk of unwanted changes in body composition.

Alcohol consumption directly affects the quality and quantity of sleep. The more you drink, the more it will affect your sleep. We should also note that a night out at a restaurant means you’ll be staying up late anyway.

With that in mind, try to get as much sleep as possible. Make sure you do go to bed at a reasonable hour and in a place that is dark, quiet and not too hot or too cold (you can open the window slightly if the season permits).

Be sure to rehydrate before going to bed. Alcohol is a diuretic and causes the body to excrete more fluids and electrolytes than usual. So if you don’t drink enough fluids to replace the losses, you may feel dehydrated the next day and have symptoms such as dry mouth and tongue, thirst, headaches, lethargy, tiredness, dry skin, muscle weakness, dizziness , dizziness and lack of concentration (6). Sort of like a hangover, right?

It is recommended to drink several glasses of water before bed, preferably with electrolytes if possible, to prevent dehydration. Of course, it’s not a good idea to drink too much water and have to get up several times during the night to go to the bathroom. Rehydration should continue in the morning and throughout the next day, so keep a glass or bottle of water by your bed.

There is little existing scientific evidence for a possible anti-inflammatory hangover treatment, but taking soluble vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce symptoms in the morning.

During the next day, try to stick to your daily activities, it is especially important to eat on time and go to bed at a suitable time to get a good night’s sleep. If you don’t, disturbed blood sugar levels will lead to irritability, fatigue, unpleasant mood and an increased desire to consume harmful foods. Alcohol itself disrupts blood sugar regulation (7), as does poor quality sleep. Therefore, it is better not to accumulate these problems more than necessary.

Does junk food help with hangovers?

In short, probably not. Eating junk food can even make a hangover worse, especially if you’re not used to eating foods high in fat and fast-digesting carbohydrates. This can irritate the stomach and, along with alcohol, cause indigestion and put you in a bad mood. It can also cause quick and sharp spikes and drops in blood sugar levels, which will affect your mood and energy.

Some people even experience a bad mood after eating junk food, due to feelings of guilt or shame (9).

It’s hard to resist the urge for some high-carb junk food especially after you’ve been out drinking or if you’re craving something the next day, but we recommend that you don’t give in if you don’t want to make your hangover symptoms worse.

How to deal with a hangover at breakfast

Breakfast is one of the most important meals and is a time when you can effectively fight a hangover.

To recall the previous points: It is important to drink enough fluids as early as possible. It is also good to take electrolytes, vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids to support your body.

In the morning, a cup of coffee can help you fight hangover symptoms, such as headaches or fatigue, more easily (10). However, coffee may worsen some other symptoms, such as anxiety, irritability, disturbed sleep, and others. It all depends on you and how you respond to the circumstances.

A large snack that is high in fat and carbohydrates, such as fried eggs, bacon, ham, French fries, pizza, or the like, is probably not the best choice for a hangover.

It will satisfy your appetite, but the nutrients in breakfast are important and can help you fight fatigue and blood sugar spikes after drinking alcohol. A heavy breakfast will irritate your stomach and intestines. Despite the momentary satisfaction after a meal, symptoms are likely to worsen during the rest of the day.

Instead of having a heavy breakfast, you can prepare oatmeal with one or more scoops of protein powder and some melted chocolate on top. If you want something salty, you can make a salmon sandwich with cream cheese or pure chicken or turkey breast with tomatoes and iceberg lettuce.

Trust us, your tummy will feel much better and you’ll thank yourself for avoiding the stress of a heavy breakfast on top of the hangover!

How to fight a hangover at lunch

Congratulations: you’re halfway there. Maybe you’re not in the best shape, but at least you’re doing it.

As with breakfast, it’s good to focus on protein and plant-based foods. Not only will they provide you with the vitamins and minerals you need, but they will also help ward off hangover symptoms. They will also fill you up and regulate your blood sugar levels. Some ideas for a tasty and healthy lunch that include useful nutrients are:

  • Soup. A bean soup is especially good for a hangover because it is high in fiber and contains enough liquid to help with dehydration. Beans are also rich in electrolytes.
  • Avocado on a slice of whole grain bread with seeds and roasted tomatoes. It’s the perfect tactical snack for influencers that will garner tons of likes. But it’s much more than a good-looking dish, because it contains a lot of fiber and electrolytes, and tomatoes are rich in vitamin C. Sourdough, on the other hand, will give you extra energy and complex carbohydrates that will help you feel better in the afternoon .

How to deal with a hangover at dinner

You did it! It is time for dinner. You’re probably already feeling suspiciously good after following our hangover guide before bed last night and throughout the day after.

Dinner is a time for a different meal. At best, you’ll need to continue eating more protein and plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as an adequate amount of whole grains.

You can include fatty fish in your meals, such as sardines or salmon, which are a rich source of omega-3 and other healthy fats. They will continue to help your body deal with the effects of alcohol on your body and more specifically your gut.

In addition to this, for those of you who love asparagus, they are a very good choice for dinner. One study found evidence that asparagus extract may prevent hangovers and protect liver cells (11).

As a general rule of thumb, prepare a dish that roughly meets these guidelines:

  • A palm-sized serving of protein
  • A portion of fruit or vegetables the size of your palm
  • A fist-sized portion of cereal
  • A thumb-sized serving of healthy fat (plant-based fats, such as nuts, seeds, or oily fish, which count as a serving of protein and fat)

Our Salmon Poke Bowl recipe is sure to satisfy your every craving and fill you up with the right nutrients…

 

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