Usually my writing is about things like eliminating sugar and alcohol from your diet — but health is also about balance and everyone needs to indulge from time to time, especially during the holidays.
So assuming that you missed all the warning signs of an impending hangover to come the night before, here’s what to do to prevent the indulgences from limiting your ability to function the day after.
1. Prepare yourself!
If you know you’ve had too much to drink before you go to bed have a little something to eat (stay away from sweets. These will only make it worse. Instead, go for some fats. These will stay in your system longer) and hydrate with a big glass of water.
2. Love your B vitamins!
The B vitamins are essential for the body to metabolize alcohol and clear it from the body. Thiamine (B2) is responsible for oxidizing the alcohol out of the blood in the liver and is therefore used up in the process. A deficiency of B2 (or if your body has used it all up from too much drinking) makes it harder for your body to break down the alcohol and get it out of your body. This is why it’s used in hospitals as an antidote for alcohol poisoning.
Niacin (B3) is also helpful as it binds to the alcohol molecule and helps transport it out of the body. If vitamin B3 levels are low, this elimination process will be impaired and prolong alcohol levels in the bloodstream.
Vitamin B6 as well as all of the B vitamins can also be helpful for a hangover. That’s why I recommend getting a B complex. When buying a B vitamin complex look for the term B Complex 100, this means there are 100 mcg’s or mg’s of each of the B vitamins which means you’re getting a good potent dose of them. Many of the B supplements out there have a very lose dose of B2 & B3 so this step is key.
B vitamins are helpful for so many important processes in the body and are easily depleted with alcohol, caffeine and stress — the American trio! You can also take your vitamin B supplement daily for general health and a more preventative approach. If you take them daily, I recommend taking it in the morning since they can give you a nice little energy boost. If you end up drinking too much later on, you can take one with some water before you go to bed and possibly another the morning after with a little food.
Foods high in B vitamins include avocado, eggs, milk, cheese, legumes, almonds and walnuts, salmon, tuna and sardines, chicken, lean meat, wheat germ and green vegetables.
This one is pretty straight forward, however adding some electrolytes can be helpful since alcohol causes dehydration. Add EmergenC or another electrolyte packet to your water to help counter this effect.
4. Fuel Up!
Yes, the obvious — eat some food! Try to get some fats and/or protein if you can keep it down, even if it’s just a little. This will slow down the digestion a little to help level off the blood sugar. You don’t need to eat a lot, in fact eating too much will bring back the urge to turn your breakfast into sidewalk roadkill.
Hair of the dog might feel like it helps but it only prolongs the inevitable. Drink orange juice the day after — the vitamin C is helpful but the sugar may leave you feeling nauseated again and won’t stay in your system long to help you out.
6. Looking Forward
Remember alcohol is metabolized in our body (like fat) using an enzyme known as alcohol dehydrogenase. The liver converts the metabolic by-products of alcohol into fat. This may be stored in the liver or transported for storage in other tissues — hence, the term beer belly.
In addition to stripping the minerals from the body over time, alcohol also has a toxic effect on the intestinal cells impairing the absorption of nutrients. One of the easiest ways to lose weight if you’re trying can be to simply cut out alcohol.
An internationally known yoga teacher, author and health and wellness expert, Tiffany Cruikshank travels the globe inspiring people to live their lives to the fullest. Tiffany is known for her lighthearted attention to detail and passionate dedication to the practice. With her training in acupuncture and sports medicine, her yoga classes are guided by a strong anatomic focus intermingled with her characteristic playfulness using movement as medicine. Tiffany is the acupuncturist and yoga teacher at the Nike World Headquarters in Portland, Oregon, and has been featured in various video and print ads including ads for Nike, Lululemon, Kira Grace and Yogi Tea. You can take class with her on www.YogaGlo.com or read her articles on MindBodyGreen.com, Origin Magazine and Elephant Journal. Her book, Optimal Health For A Vibrant Life, is a 30 day detox for yogis. For her traveling, teacher training and retreat schedule go to www.TiffanyYoga.com or stay in touch on her Facebook fan page — Tiffany Cruikshank Yoga.