How to Cure a Food Hangover

The holidays are in full swing and all partake in the festivities. The parties, events, platters of cookies, pans of gooey fudge, holiday-inspired spirits and lattes. Overeating is not only acceptable, it’s expected during the holidays!

Eating too much sugar, salt and fat can wreak havoc on one’s body and can give you a food hangover the next morning. Here’s how to cure the effects of an overindulgence Hangover.

Yes, a Food Hangover is a REAL thing!

Let’s just lay all our cards on the table: You’ve had food hangovers, and we’ve had food hangovers. We’ve all had a food hangover! Let’s chat with Master Nutritionist, Christina Jordan, and see how she suggests we handle this sticky situation.

Jordan says to first recognize the Food Hangover symptoms. Symptoms include bloating, lethargy, nausea, acid reflux, stomach upset, diarrhea, headache, swelling of the face or fingers, brain fog with a general feeling of blah mixed in for good measure. All of this is thanks to the lovely aftermath of not a wild not on the town, but eating too much! Overindulging in food will create side effects to cope with the following morning as your body tries to process what it’s been given.

1. Water, Water, Water!

More than half your body is made up of water, so think of water as your literal lifeblood to flush your body. It comes as no surprise that the stuff is prescribed to treat the most miserable of hangover symptoms, whether it’s alcohol-induced or after a heavy night of consuming too much salt, fat, and sugar. Water is effective in flushing out that excessive amount of sodium you might’ve consumed with last night’s bucket of popcorn. Enough water can help calm a headache and sooth a painful case of acid reflux, too.

2. Go On A Mini Detox For The Next Two Days.

A massive food hangover is larger due to overwhelming your digestive process and therefore causing problems. Trying to cram too much too much food in one sitting leads to your body having to go into crisis mode. When you do this, your body ends up hanging to divert energy and blood away from your heart, lungs, and brain to your GI tract to help in the digestion of all that food. The result is you feel exhausted, weighed down by fatigue, and oftentimes can’t think clearly due to brain fog. The very best thing you can do following a junk-food binge is to eat totally clean, and small, for the next 48 hours. This means no junk food, no alcohol, no sugar, no dairy, no simple carbs, and if you can, try to limit your legumes as well for these two days, as they can also cause blood sugar spikes. This kid like a Mini Detox or modified fast that only includes fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein (eggs, fish, chicken, lean beef, etc). Your body will feel better and as a bonus, you’ll probably lose a pound or two.

3. Add-In Ginger And Mint.

Ginger and fresh mint is a miracle cure for a multitude of digestive troubles, including constipation, gas, nausea, bloating and stomach cramps. (Now you know why your mom used to have you sip ginger ale when you had a tummy ache as a kid.) Ginger and mint reduce his gas and painful spasms in your stomach. It also is great at quelling a raging food hangover. One of the best ways to ingest both ginger and mint is in tea form. You get the benefits of the two powerful stomach easing herbs, but you also get the benefit of added water to help flush out toxins and added hydration. this is a win-win!

4. Apple Cider Vinegar Is Your Friend!

A night of binging on junk-food can mess with your ratio of good-to-bad gut bacteria, leading to IBS, discomfort and other digestive issues. Fermented foods like kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut can help. However, my favorite is organic apple cider vinegar with “mother” (probiotics). This is a powerful probiotic that works overtime to repopulate your gut with good bacteria and minimize the damage of a food hangover. In addition, apple cider vinegar helps to increase hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which helps you feel better faster by aiding in breaking down those toxic food particles faster!

5. Know Your Triggers.

I get it— avoiding a food hangover is nearly impossible! Parties, corporate events, weddings, celebrations and holidays with family and friends happen. However, if you find yourself constantly downing that over-prices milkshake— I mean iced blended coffee, or mindlessly munching on a bag of chips or cookies, you may have a deeper problem that needs your attention. It could be emotional eating or even food addiction. If this is the case you need to identify your “trigger” foods or what could be the root cause. Dig deep and ask yourself if you are eating for hunger or are you eating to feel better. Was it a stressful day at the office? Was it not having enough personal time that causes you to overindulge on junk food? Could it be stress, boredom, sadness, or actual hunger? If you feel that this could be some of your problems I highly suggest that you work with a qualified nutritionist who can help you overcome these bad habits.

Even those who have committed to living a healthy lifestyle can enjoy an occasional treat or indulgence every once in a while. A balanced lifestyle allows for an indulgence every now and again. The goal here is to be balanced and be able to occasionally allow yourself a small treat, without totally binging and sabotaging your hard earned efforts altogether! If you do slip and fall of the healthy-wagon, just know it’s going to be fine, and you can easily get yourself back on track with these easy tips.

Wishing you all a happy holiday season!

~Christina Jordan

(Master Nutritionist)