Easy Way To Cure Your OverIndulgence

Uggghhh! Ah, the sound of someone who has overdone it.

easy_way_to_cure_your_overIndulgence

 

That extra serving of corned beef, the fat slice of chocolate cake, or that nightcap you probably didn’t need. We’ve all done it and we’ve all paid the price, each time swearing we won’t do it again, at least until the holidays roll around or the next Friday happy hour. But the next time you throw caution to the wind, instead of ending up with a food, sugar, or alcohol-induced hangover that wrecks your day, consider taking a couple of the following measures, a round-up of my favorite suggestions for whatever hangover ails ya… that way you can have your cake and eat it too.

The Alcohol Hangover

Even though people have been getting hangovers and dreaming up cures for them for thousands of years, we still don’t fully understand why alcohol produces hangovers in the first place. Currently, the most plausible explanation is a combined result of dehydration, the effects of acetaldehyde (the toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolism) and an increase in inflammatory cytokines.1  2 Unfortunately for sufferers, of all the possible hangover cures out there, very few have any scientific research to back them up. While you can certainly try those sheep eyeballs if you want, a more practical approach might include the following tips that get to the root of the problem.

  • Even though dehydration isn’t solely to blame for the hangover, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water both while drinking and the day after is still a good plan. Adding some electrolytes, such as from a powdered electrolyte packet, isn’t a bad idea either.
  • Get plenty of compounds that naturally modulate inflammation, both before and after heavy drinking. Good possibilities include turmeric, ginger, flavonoids (from things like green tea and brightly colored berries), carotenoids (from orange vegetables and fruits) and vitamins C (found in most fresh fruits and veggies), and E (from avocado, nuts and seeds).
  • Sip some ginger tea. Not only can ginger help settle an upset stomach, but it is also rich in compounds that support a healthy inflammatory response.3
  • While most hangover cures involve greasy, simple carbohydrate-rich foods, the best bet is actually a super palatable food that combines healthy complex carbohydrates with nutrients that support healthy inflammation, like this Inflammation Modulation Smoothie. If you just can’t fight the urge for those greasy hash browns, be sure to eat some healthy protein and inflammation-modulating foods with them, like eggs and a side of fruit, or a veggie omelet.

An alcohol hangover has long been recognized as the outcome of heavy drinking, but you’d be hard pressed to find conclusive scientific research supporting the notion that overindulgence in sugar and heavy, rich foods can also cause a hangover. However, as most of us have felt at one time or another, the headache, grogginess, mood swings, stomach upset, and overall sense of discomfort that sometimes come after overindulgence in certain foods feels an awful lot like that well-researched hangover from alcohol and deserves our attention too.

The Sugar Hangover

easy_way_to_cure_your_overIndulgence

 

Unfortunately, because sugar is so particularly pleasing to our taste buds, overindulgence is all too easy. Enjoying a little too much of the sweet stuff can leave you feeling pretty miserable, a feeling not unlike an alcohol-induced hangover. That’s because sugar impacts our bodies far beyond the sweet taste on our tongues. It puts our metabolic system on the blood sugar rollercoaster, and the emotional and physical highs and lows that go with it. To counter the effects of too much sugar try the following tips.

 

  • Go for a walk or get some exercise. Being physically active helps your body to use the sugar you ingested, helping to mitigate the negative effects later on.
  • Drink plenty of water, which can help flush toxins, including excess sugar, from the body.
  • According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the tastes of sour and pungent (spicy) help to diminish the craving for sweet, so consider adding a little tomato, lime, sauerkraut, horseradish, ginger, garlic, and/or hot peppers to your next meal.4
  • Make the next meal a balanced meal, one that contains protein, healthy fat, and ample vegetables, in particular the green leafy ones.
  • Avoid having more sugar. Even though it may be tempting, having more sugar only sets you up to feel terrible and start the whole vicious cycle again.

The Food Hangover

easy_way_to_cure_your_overIndulgenceI’ve never felt terrible the next day from eating too much broccoli, but I sure have from overindulging in rich holiday feasts or greasy meals out. Salty, greasy foods like fried foods can be particularly troublesome since they tend to sit in your stomach longer and contribute to water retention and bloating. But overdoing any heavy, rich food, or just eating too much in general, can contribute to the bloating, nausea, stomach upset, and general discomfort of overindulgence. To fight those yucky feelings fast try some of the following simple tips.

  • Try the time-honored remedy of digestive bitters. Dating back to the Middle Ages, bitters have long been valued for their ability to support healthy digestion. Bitters are just what they sound like—bitter—and it is the bitter taste on the tongue that stimulates the flow of digestive juices, pancreatic secretions, and bile into the digestive tract.5Herbal digestive bitters are available in liquid form for adding to water.
  • Sip some herbal tea. For hundreds of years herbalists have relied on the power of herbs to tackle digestive problems. Any combination of the following digestive support herbs can help to quell an upset stomach, dispel gas and move food along through the system: ginger, peppermint, fennel, cardamom, caraway, black pepper, and/or chamomile.6
  • Take a short walk. The ancient practice of Ayurveda recommends 1,000 steps after a meal to improve digestion. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise the day after, too, as it will not only help to get your bowels moving, it’ll stimulate the release of some feel-good endorphins.
  • Make your next meal a light, but balanced one, with a heavy focus on fiber-rich vegetables and fruits that will help to get the digestive tract moving and supply ample nutrients to help with recovery. Fruits and vegetables are also light, which helps balance the heaviness you may be feeling.
  • Be sure to get some good protein in your next meal, too. Especially proteins high in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), such as chicken, fish, dairy products, or eggs. BCAAs compete with tryptophan, the amino acid that causes that feeling of sleepiness and fatigue after overindulging in carbs.7
  • Be sure to drink extra water, especially if you’ve overdone it with salty foods.
  • Perhaps nowhere is the saying, “Time cures all ills,” more relevant than in a discussion about hangovers. In the end, time really is the best cure for feeling hung over, from any type of overindulgence. While this isn’t the quick fix most of us are looking for, it does serve as a  reminder that we probably shouldn’t overindulge too frequently.


References

[4]Pitchford P. Healing with Whole Foods. 3rd ed. Berkley, CA: North Atlantic Books; 2002.
[5]Hoffmann D. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press; 2003.
[6]Aggarwal BB, Yost D. Healing Spices. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Company; 2011.