Ah, the holidays. That magical time of year when you attend party after party, vowing to stay away from the cheese platter and spiked eggnog, only to find yourself waking up the next morning with a whole lot of regret and one lousy stomachache.
You’ll of course enjoy yourself this holiday season. But while you are indulging in some holiday spirits and desserts, you may also want to keep these tips on the back burner. They will provide a little help in curing your body of your holiday hangover from too much food or alcohol.
1. Water, water, and more water
The number one thing you need to feel better and get your body back to normal again is plain, simple water. Water will not only flush out your digestive system if you’ve indulged in too many sweets, but it will also help if you’ve gone overboard on the alcohol.
In fact, the reason you feel so awful after a night of drinking is because your body is so severely dehydrated, so the best way to cure a hangover is to get fully hydrated again. Prevention is best, so if you can remember, chug as much water as you can before going to sleep after drinking. You’ll (ahem) wake up feeling like you’re 21 all over again.
2. Sip on bouillon
That chicken soup your mom told you to eat when you were under the weather will also come in handy when you’re nursing a hangover. The broth will help you replenish salt and potassium. Also munch on bland foods like crackers to go with your soup and to calm your stomach.
3. Drink Sprite
While it’s not exactly a health drink, a small amount of Sprite may help if you are experiencing a hangover thanks to too much alcohol. One study suggested that Sprite might actually speed up the hangover process in the body, converting alcohol into the chemical that makes us feel awful and then back to normal at a faster rate. So while it won’t necessarily cure a hangover, it may help you get through one faster.
4. Go for a walk
Exercise is a great way to detox the body. Sweat will help flush out any toxins, get your circulation moving to help your body’s natural lymphatic system work better, and get your endorphins pumping to make you feel better. Even going for a brisk walk can help. Not to mention that it will also boost your metabolism to start burning off those excess calories.
5. Eat protein
Your system will be working to repair itself after the damage of ingesting too much sugar, fat, or alcohol. One way to help your body do its job is to fuel it with plenty of healthy protein after a holiday binge. Alcohol especially slows down your body’s ability to synthesize protein in a way that it can be used in the body, so eating a few smaller, healthy meals the day after a binge may be helpful. Choose lean protein sources such as egg whites, ground turkey, and baked fish to help restore your body.
6. Take a nap
In case you needed some extra encouragement to take a nap, here’s some scientific evidence for you: Taking a nap is healthy. It’s especially healthy after binge eating or drinking because sleep helps flush out toxins from your body and brain. Studies show that the body works differently at a cellular level while it’s asleep versus awake. Important healing takes place during sleep. Your body can do the nitty gritty work it needs to do when it’s not focusing on a million other things, like grocery shopping, kid wrangling, and a never-ending to-do list.
Keep these tips in mind as you go through the holidays. But perhaps the best “tip” is to lead a healthy lifestyle and avoid binge eating and drinking in the first place. Most of us overindulge on occasion, but try to make it an exception to the rule and you’ll feel much happier and more balanced.
But when in doubt, if you’re feeling awful, guzzle some water and take a nap. There’s just no better cure out there.