ingle bells, ji-jingle bells, gin-gin cin-cingle bells!... After popping the corks and soaking 2020 in excellent sparkling wine and high volume "elixir", the next day the stomach starts rumbling, the head booming and the body screaming for water. Holiday celebrations are meant to be enjoyed, which we usually exaggerate a little thanks to our human nature. Too much eaten, too much drunk, who can't relate to that? To make sure you can swing into the days after the party feeling at your best, we have compiled a damage control measure list. With this knowledge, you will stay in top shape despite double portions and % volume content in your glass!
When we overeat, it's clear: with all the cookies, pies, panettone, raclette, steaks... the glucose in the blood rises, insulin shoots up, and so does the calorie and serotonin surplus. Result: we are tired alone to sit at the table. For this, we have 3 super tips, just scroll down to the damage control measures No. 1-3.
But more interesting is the effect of drinking. Because alcohol causes dehydration, depletes vitamins and nutrients, reduces the quality of sleep, causes inflammation and throws out of balance the gut bacteria. It's OK to enjoy sipping your favourite drink but its even greater to undertake a few smart measures against the undesired effects of it. We have a few highly effective tips which are like buying an insurance against the human nature of consuming a little bit too much.
Dehydration. When you empty a bottle or two of champagne, your body puts everything else on hold. The body can't store alcohol and wants to get rid of it pronto, so it ditches everything else and makes alcohol the top metabolic priority. This means that alcohol is prioritized over metabolizing protein, carbohydrates, and fats. As such, alcohol gets a VIP escort directly to liver because it is the liver's job to break it down and excrete it. As alcohol is processed, water and nutrients are used to flush it out, leaving the body depleted and dehydrated.
Oxidative stress contributing to hangover. Oxidative stress occurs when our cells are exposed to certain oxygen reactions. The main culprits in these reactions are what are known as "free radicals". Free radicals are basically just intermediates within cellular metabolism. A problem therefore only arises when they multiply too quickly and thus steal their reaction partners from the other less reactive molecules. The best-known causes of oxidative stress include not only alcohol and smoking, but also a diet low in vital nutrients, excessive sugar consumption, physical and emotional stress, and lack of sleep. In other words, almost everything you experience on a New Year's Eve.
Stomach lining is attacked. This is due to the fact that after drinking the stomach and intestines are supplied with more blood and more stomach acid is produced. An excessive amount of stomach acid irritates the stomach lining. While alcohol stimulates stomach acid production, protective stomach lining is no longer formed at the same time. The aggressive stomach acid predominates and stomach pain occurs.
Growth of harmful gut bacteria that promote inflammation. Alcohol causes rapid multiplication of the "bad" gut bacteria. The toxins they produce overwhelm the good bacteria, resulting in poorer processing of nutrients as well as reduced immune system. When the body is busy getting rid of the alcohol, it may not notice that there is another new inflammation that needs to be fought.
Sleep deprivation. Alcohol blocks REM, thus the deep sleep, increases cortisol level and acts like anaesthetic drug which is why your body does not experience any signs of sleep (considering brain waves and hormone release). Therefore, even if you've been in bed until lunch time, alcohol leads to sleep deprivation and its effects.
Interesting fact: this is what happens in the brain when we are drunk or intoxicated. With the blood flow, alcohol reaches all organs and thus also the brain, where it affects, among other things, the so-called glutamate and GABA receptors. GABA is responsible for inhibiting the stimulation of nerve cells and calming them down. Alcohol's effect on GABA curbs the activity of nerve cells, which may help explain, among other things, why 1-2 glasses of wine can relax and several bottles can make one unconscious.
Before you even reach for the alcohol, the following applies: a proper foundation is key, so eat, drink water, supplement vitamins B and C, if possible, abstain from the cigarette while having a cocktail. This aggravates inflammation and headaches - additional toxins that the body has to deal with.
Scientifically, there are no studies that show you can prevent a hangover. Unless you don't drink anything. So only those who don't drink will be able to go completely without. But there are things you can do to mitigate the effects.
Counteract dehydration. Continue to drink plenty of water. That's exactly what your body and skin need now to regenerate and quench the strong feeling of thirst (not to be confused with hunger). Take a shower to get your circulation going - but not too hot, or you'll have circulation problems.
Counteract headache. If your head is pounding, painkillers containing acetylsalicylic acid are more suitable than other substances such as paracetamol. They do not put additional strain on the liver because they are not broken down by it. As an alternative to painkillers, a cold washcloth, a bag of ice or peppermint oil are recommended. The smell of the oil relaxes the muscles and the head gets better blood circulation - without burdening the stomach and liver.
Counteract oxidative stress by taking antioxidants like berries or colorful vegetables (or supplement with glutathione or astaxanthin). Top choices in the fight against oxidative stress are the antioxidant vitamins C, E and the trace element zinc. But other nutrients such as selenium, manganese and copper as well as bioflavonoids or vitamin B12 also help your body to stay oxidatively balanced.
Recover gut lining with the classic herbal stomach teas such as melissa.
Boost metabolism and provide energy as well as replenish flushed out minerals and vitamins. Eat vegetable soup with sweet potatoes and many other colorful vegetables that you like. Relatively easy to digest for your stomach and it has lots of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants while providing energy. For the obligatory hangover breakfast, salty foods are especially good: Sour cucumbers, broth and omelet with vegetables replace the lost salts and the acidity promotes the breakdown of alcohol. Fresh products like yogurt or curd cheese with fruits and honey get you back on track as well. The fructose in honey kills the alcohol, and the fruit provides a good dose of vitamin C for liver detoxification. The thing to avoid is coffee or tea with caffeine, because these are stimulating and increase the heart palpitations (very disappointing, I know). Acidic drinks like orange juice also do not please the irritated stomach.
Do low intensity activity (so you can still talk while running): No high exertion, because body is highly stressed and in inflammatory state. Light pleasant exercise helps to get the circulation going, boost the metabolism and thus promote the breakdown of alcohol and toxins.
Counteract sleep deprivation: A midday nap of one hour helps. But not longer than an hour, so that you are still tired in the evening and sleep well the next night. Helpful here are also the sleep tips from our blog "21 tips for great sleep". It is important that the body can recover properly the second night after.
Give your body a break from alcohol and eat a healthy and varied diet to nourish the good gut bacteria. Sounds boring, but your gut and liver will celebrate this decision of yours!
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Note about beer
Beer contains malt (not all beers, but most). And malt triggers a tremendously high insulin response. If you were to compile the top foods for most effective fat gain, beer and donuts would probably be at the top of the list. So if you're drinking beer, just imagine you're eating donuts. That's about the effect beer has on your body composition. #sorrynotsorry
Why we sleep, 2017, Matthew Walker PHD