A Lit­tle Too Much Eg­gnog

How to heal your morn­ing pain af­ter one too many

RSWLiving - - Contents - BY KLAUDIA BALOGH Klaudia Balogh is a health and fit­ness writer for TOTI Me­dia.

It’s the hap­pi­est sea­son of all—giv­ing, fam­ily, cel­e­bra­tions, cook­ies and cock­tails. Once the Thanks­giv­ing turkey hits the oven, the hol­i­days are in full swing. Christ­mas mu­sic wafts through the air, and par­ties don’t stop un­til Jan­uary 1. The hol­i­day punch bowl beck­ons, the eg­gnog flows freely, and the wine pours never stop. It’s great to em­brace the hol­i­day spirit, but the morn­ing af­ter can be a mis­ery.

De­hy­dra­tion, nau­sea, headache, foggy brain and crav­ings are a few com­mon signs of a hang­over. Whether you wake up with a clear me­mory of the previous night’s events, or grog­gily hop­ing that you didn’t break your aunt’s Chi­nese ce­ramic set, the morn­ing af­ter a boozy night could make you want to stay in bed binge­ing on carbs all day.

Hang­over symp­toms are sim­i­lar for ev­ery­one. The good news is there are nat­u­ral ways to shake off your pain. TOTI Me­dia con­sulted a South­west Florida nu­tri­tion­ist for some ad­vice.


Al­co­hol me­tab­o­lism be­gins in the liver, where it’s bro­ken down to ac­etalde­hyde, a toxic byprod­uct and known car­cino­gen. It’s fur­ther me­tab­o­lized down to an­other, less ac­tive byprod­uct called ac­etate, which then is bro­ken down into wa­ter and car­bon diox­ide for easy elim­i­na­tion.

In­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized sports and func­tional nu­tri­tion­ist Bar­bara Lewin, based in Naples, told TOTI Me­dia what helps break down ac­etalde­hyde is an amino acid, called l-cys­teine. “When there is not enough l-cys­teine avail­able, ac­etalde­hyde can build up in the body, and it is partly the ac­etalde­hyde tox­i­c­ity that causes symp­toms of a hang­over,” she ex­plains.

“L-cys­teine is part of what makes up glu­tathione, an ex­tremely im­por­tant an­tiox­i­dant in the body that helps fight ox­ida­tive stress,” Lewin con­tin­ues. Re­search has shown that al­though ox­ida­tive stress is present dur­ing nor­mal me­tab­o­lism, when it in­creases with­out the rise of an­tiox­i­dants, it can lead to cell mal­func­tion.


One of the eas­i­est ways to avoid a hang­over (be­sides ab­stain­ing from al­co­hol) is to keep well hy­drated. “Most peo­ple walk around in a state of sub­op­ti­mal hy­dra­tion/ some­what de­hy­drated,” says Lewin. “We seem to for­get that we’re at least 60 per­cent wa­ter, and thirst is not a good in­di­ca­tor of hy­dra­tion sta­tus. When you then add in a cou­ple of al­co­holic bev­er­ages, you are more likely to feel the ef­fects of the al­co­hol on your body.”

Drink­ing can pre­cip­i­tate a drop in blood-su­gar level, so eat­ing well can help stave off hang­overs. “Drink­ing on an empty stom­ach can be a recipe for dis­as­ter as it can lower your blood su­gar,” says Lewin. “Don’t skimp on meals dur­ing the day if you’re plan­ning on go­ing out that evening. Have some­thing in your stom­ach be­fore you have your first drink, and I would rec­om­mend get­ting in some non­al­co­holic flu­ids dur­ing the evening.”

Fin­ish off the night with a he al­thy snack and some co­conut wa­ter, which will pro­vide you with fluid, carbs and a good source of potas­sium. Also, Lewin rec­om­mends al­ter­nat­ing your drink (pos­si­bly clear al­co­hol) with a glass of club soda and lime.


If your first trip out of bed in the morn­ing when you are feel­ing hun­gover leads you di­rectly to the medicine cabi­net for an as­pirin, then keep read­ing. The kitchen may be a bet­ter des­ti­na­tion.

Lewin al­ready men­tioned the im­por­tance of l-cys­teine and glu­tathione in me­tab­o­liz­ing al­co­hol, so here’s how to make sure your body has enough of these two sub­stances to break down al­co­hol ef­fi­ciently and, for your sake, quickly.

Good sources of l-cys­teine are red pep­pers, gar­lic, onions, broc­coli, brus­sels sprouts, oats, wheat germ, sprouted len­tils, meat, eggs and dairy, notes Lewin. Also, sul­fur is needed for pro­duc­tion of glu­tathione. Sul­fur-rich foods in­clude gar­lic, onions, eggs and cru­cif­er­ous veg­eta­bles. You can also add turmeric to boost glu­tathione lev­els.

“In ad­di­tion, vi­ta­mins C and B1 (thi­amine) have been found to help with the detox­i­fi­ca­tion process,” she adds. Also be sure to get plenty of elec­trolytes such as potas­sium (ba­nanas, potato, tomato) and mag­ne­sium (av­o­cado, nuts, legumes, leafy greens).

Ul­ti­mately, as long as you keep your diet clean, your drinks clear, drink plenty of wa­ter and give your body time to re­cover, you won’t want to make the prom­ise, “I’ll never drink again,” af­ter ev­ery hol­i­day party.

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