Healthy Hangover Day
If there was ever a day to be as unhealthy as possible, the day after a big night on the town has to be the perfect excuse. The feeling of waking up after a drunken night and craving every piece of fatty, carby, sugary food, is all too familiar for some of us. But do we know why we get these cravings and wouldn't we like to know how to stop the awful day after feeling?
In the brain, there is a chemical called Galanin which is responsible for increasing our appetite and desire for fat. When fat is then consumed, the result is a release in even more Galanin - what an extremely vicious cycle! If that wasn't bad enough, alcohol actually increases the production of Galanin. This would be the reason why you constantly crave fatty, greasy food throughout the day when drunk/hungover.
What Can We Do?
Getting over a hang over can be very difficult and many people look to food to help them through the tough times. After consuming loads of calories through alcohol, the last thing you want to do is consume a weeks worth of calories in one day- something many people do. But what foods will curb cravings, cure the deathly feeling and still be healthy? I have come up with a few answers.
Breakfast IdeasWith the first meal of the day, you are given an early opportunity to stop the hangover feeling in it's tracks. Instead of reaching straight for the bacon, try some of these options:
1. Natural yoghurt with honey and granola and a glass of orange juice
This is a beautiful, light breakfast to ease you into the day and it has many health benefits
- Natural yoghurt is full of healthy bacteria which aids digestion in the body. Unfortunately the toxins in alcohol will have killed these bacteria and so it is important to replace them ASAP.
- Honey is very high in fructose and is known to increase the rate at which you burn alcohol
- Orange juice is high in Vitamin C, which helps the liver to break down toxins. It contains fibre which helps to absorb alcohol and it's high fructose levels stand to increase alcohol metabolism too.
2. Breakfast Smoothie
If you would rather drink your cure, a smoothie is a great option. Blend together fruit, honey, yoghurt and oats in your desired quantity
- As mentioned above, the sugar in the fruit and honey will help to metabolise alcohol and replenish any lost vitamins.
- Yoghurt will reintroduce any bacteria that has been killed
- Oats will give you a bit more energy for the day ahead as well as being light on the stomach. They help to absorb any toxins and balance acid levels in the body. They are rich in B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and iron - all of which will have been lost through excessive drinking
By lunch time, the hangover feeling may really have kicked in. It is therefore important not to give into temptation but to stick on a healthy course. Here are a couple of options for foods to eat
1. Tomato Soup
- Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C which will definitely have been depleted after a night of boozing. They also contain potassium and sodium- important electrolytes which will need replacing.
2. Chicken Soup
Chicken soup has been a cure for all types of illnesses for thousands of years so why should a hangover be any different?
- The stock replenishes water and electrolyte loss - including sodium and potassium
3. Eggs/ vegetable omellette on toast
This is another homely, comfort food which is just what you may need during the hangover stage
- Eggs contain an amino acid called Cysteine which helps the body to break down toxins
- Vegetables will help replace any vitamins lost over the course of the night
- Bread goes a long way to absorbing up any excess alcohol. Choose brown whole meal bread to be good and healthy
It is all too easy to reach for the chocolate biscuits and cake in the middle of the day but you must resist the urge. While these may be a short term fix, there are healthier snacks with better healing properties
1. Banana and peanut butter/honey on toast
This treat allows you to get in some of the fat you have been craving. In this case the fats are coming from PB which contain polyunsaturates- good fats - rather than the grease from a burger or chips
- Bananas contain vitamin B6 which helps to reduce hangovers. They are also high in potassium which will have been lost throughout the night
- Bread helps to soak up any excess alcohol
- Peanut butter satisfies that fatty craving in an indulgent, healthy way
- Honey will burn up alcohol due to it's high sugar levels
2. Crackers with honey
Although simple, this snack is good if you really don't feel like stomaching much
- The crackers are bland whilst still raising blood sugar to give you some energy without harming the tummy
- Honey will help to burn alcohol faster due to it's high fructose nature
Hopefully by this point in the day you should have started to feel a lot better. If not, do not panic there are still some more healing nutrients to try
A hearty stiry fry with ginger flavours is great as a healthy, hangover busting dinner
- Ginger will help settle the stomach and dissipate feelings of nausea
- Noodles will help to soak up any alcohol
- Vegetables will replace minerals and vitamins lost
- Chicken will give you energy and repair muscles that have been worked hard on the dance floor...
2. Cheeky flat bread pizza
If you have got to this point without giving into cravings, then you deserve this little treat. Use a tortilla for the base and cover in tomato sauce. Add cheese if you feel it necessary and cover with your choice of toppings- I suggest vegetables, chicken, pineapple- whatever you want
- The tomato sauce is rich in vitamin C and will boost your immune system
- The cheese will curb that potential fat craving
- The vegetables will replace lost vitamins and minerals
- Pineapple will help burn alcohol due to it's sugar content
I hope that this gives you some ideas of how and what to eat on a hangover day. These combinations are both healthy and have healing effects. Consuming a lot of water is also important to rehydrate you and green tea can help with this as well. So next time you over-indulge in alcohol, give these options a go!
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