Almost everyone knows what a hangover feels like. You wake up the morning after a fun night out feeling nauseous, exhausted, and you have a pounding headache. You may not feel like eating anything if you wake up with a wicked hangover, but some food in your stomach is often the best way to set yourself right.
What a hangover does to your body
When alcohol is metabolized by the liver it is converted into acetylaldehyde . The acetylaldehyde is then converted into acetate by acetylaldehyde dehydrogenase and glutathione. Acetate is a form of vinegar, which is harmless to your body and leaves it easily. However, when high amounts of alcohol enter the body in a short amount of time, the liver quickly runs out of glutathione, and the acetylaldehyde cannot be converted, building up to toxic levels in your body. The side effects of acetylaldehyde toxicity are nausea, headache, and thirst. The body then jump starts glutathione production, causing restlessness, fatigue, and a general unwell feeling. It is possible that acetylaldehyde toxicity is what causes hangovers.
How can carbs help?
There are two ways carbohydrates can help.
- Electrolyte-replacement drinks are an excellent source of lost sugars, salts, and minerals. It will help dilute any alcohol byproducts left in your stomach, and start to rehydrate and reenergize your brain. Pick one with the least amount of artificial ingredients, or make your own using water, salt, and sugar or a small amount of fruit juice.
- Complex carbs combined with healthy fat and protein will help settle your stomach, and provide you with lost nutrients. The ‘blandness’ of carbs will help decrease nausea and soak up the increased acid in your stomach. Carbs will also start your digestive system moving, which will help your body eliminate more of the acetylaldehyde toxins.
The best carbs to cure a hangover
One of the best meals to calm your stomach and refuel your body would be an egg sandwich. Choose whole-grain, multi-grain, or sprouted-grain bread. Use some real butter or coconut oil to butter the toast and cook your egg. Add some tempeh or turkey bacon if you like, and enjoy. The carbs will act to give your body energy to rid itself of the toxins from the night before, and the fat and protein will keep your stomach settled for longer. Other good carbs to eat would be bland things like oatmeal, rice, or potatoes fried with some coconut oil.