Healthy ideas for holiday hangover

Get the new year off on right foot by giving yourself needed downtime following hectic Yule season




If you woke up this morning feeling a little run down — whether you were at a late-night party or just haven’t had enough time to rest this season — you are not alone.

The hectic holidays are one of the most stressful times of the year, and all the festivities can take a toll on the body.

A search for hangover cures and other remedies will net all sorts of strange results, but probably the most important thing to remember this morning is just to give yourself a break, said Jana Beeman, owner of Balanced Life Today Health Nutrition and Fitness in La Center.

“Breathe deep into the bottom of your belly, fill it up like a balloon, and the let it out slowly,” Beeman said. “Focus on that. Just do that for two minutes and you’ll feel so much more focused. It just feeds the body what it really needs.”

Another easy relaxation technique? Tell the kids to go outside or over to a friend’s house and run a hot bath.

“I would prescribe a nice quiet bubble bath, maybe some essential oils, and just banish everybody from the house,” Beeman said. “You have to do nice things for yourself after the holidays.”

If you have the time and the funds, a massage, aromatherapy facial or even taking a creative class like painting or sculpture can really bring you back to life after a long December.

And if you don’t want to take on any obligations for a while, well, that’s good, too, she said.

“You should also realize that there’s this magic word in the English language,” Beeman said. “I think people forget it during the holidays. It’s the word ‘no.’ And it’s OK to use it.”

Mary A. Shepard, a doctor at Kaiser Permanente in Orchards, said that if you’re feeling under the weather you should listen to your body.

“Maybe the lesson is to have modest plans for next Christmas — not to overdo,”

Shepard said in an email interview. “Feeling tired is our body telling us that we are overambitious.”

There is no instant hangover cure, but if you overdid it on the booze, the best medicine is actually just to hydrate as much as possible.

“Make sure you have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and supplies for a healthy breakfast,” Shepard said. “Sleep until you feel rested. Use over-the-counter ibuprofen/Tylenol for headache (and) over-the-counter omeprazole for (an) upset stomach.”

Beeman agrees that it’s key to drink a lot of water and to take it easy after too much celebrating.

“Alcohol is toxic to the body and it dehydrates you,” Beeman said. “Some gentle exercise like walking is great, too. It helps the body get rid of excess sugar and alcohol and helps to cleanse it.”

Walking outside in fresh air is especially good, coupled with deep breaths.

“I really strongly suggest eating a good meal with healthy protein and not a lot of fat or carbohydrates,” Beeman said.

Scrambled eggs and an apple are among her top recommendations.

Putting a big ball of greasy starch in your stomach — say a fast-food cheeseburger and shake — might sound like a great hangover helper, but the carbohydrates actually slow your body’s ability to process the remaining alcohol and toxins in your system, she said.

“For every alcoholic drink you should have at least one glass of water,” Beeman said. “One of my favorite tonics for when I’m not feeling good is I juice a couple cucumbers and put cayenne pepper in it.”

Sweets are also not the best solution to a hangover. Healthy fats, though, such as nuts, avocados and olive oil, make for good food remedies, she said.

“Don’t forget to take some serious self-care time,” Beeman said. “Especially for women, winter is a time when your energy gets very low. We’re supposed to be taking it easy, but instead we tend to push ourselves hard during the holidays. We need to take care of ourselves after that.”