‘Tis the season to indulge in the festive cheer that may be naughtier than nice when it comes to our health (cue the wine, egg nog, and baked holiday goodies). While these are the traditions that help to make this the most wonderful time of the year, they can also leave us with less-cheerful side effects the following day.
Prevent or cure your holiday hangover with these smart choices brought to you by Natural Health Consultant, Cindy Walker.
No matter how many festive indulgences you partook in the evening prior, always remember to start your day off right with a balanced breakfast. A common mistake Cindy sees clients making, is depriving themselves after overeating the day before. Doing so only worsens blood sugar levels. We recommend a smart breakfast of 300 to 400 calories, consisting of a lean protein (eggs, turkey sausage), low-glycemic carbohydrate (such as berries), and a healthy fat (avocado, nut butter). Consider digestive enzymes for large holiday feasts.
While physical activity may feel like the last thing you want to do the morning after a big night, it has been proven that even light exercise (such as a brisk walk outdoors) can significantly improve symptoms of a hangover by increasing circulation, bringing more blood and oxygen to the brain and muscles.
For those feeling ambitious, the day after a large feast is a great time to do a workout. This is because glycogen stores that fuel your muscles are at full capacity due to carb overload (if you consumed high glycemic foods like potatoes, stuffing, pastries). In addition to the high level of muscle-fueling carbohydrates, your feast probably contained a high portion of protein (like turkey, ham, or tofurkey), essential for rebuilding muscles that breakdown after a hard workout. While sweating is an excellent way to rid the body of toxins, it can also lead to dehydration—remember to rehydrate with water and electrolytes before, during, and after working out.
Desserts and festive holiday drinks are the least nutritionally balanced of all the splurges, and are often brimming with refined sugar and fats. You may find the day after that you find yourself craving more, and this is because when digesting high levels of sugary carbs, serotonin (the feel good hormone) is released. When those serotonin levels dip, the body craves more sugar to maintain this high. When this happens, consider a natural health supplement with a therapeutic dosage of cinnamon extract to regulate blood sugar levels and help offset cravings. Try opting for a more nutritious sugar substitution, like an apple, some berries, or oranges, to stave off cravings.
Drinking water and balancing electrolyte levels is of utmost importance, especially when consuming alcoholic beverages and sodium rich foods. Try to alternate cocktails with glasses of water to stay hydrated and release excess water that your body may be storing, causing you to feel bloated. When drinking alcohol, remember to drink a full glass of before going to bed, and another in the morning. The following morning, opt for foods that have a high water content (such as fresh fruits & vegetables). Electrolyte beverages are great for replenishing the salt and potassium levels that become depleted from alcohol consumption.
Over indulging isn’t the end of the world. Remember to give yourself a break and try to make healthier choices the following day. Support your liver with added tender loving care with a milk thistle supplement to support the body’s detoxification process.