We've all been there—doubled over in pain after eating five too many gingerbread men chased with spiked eggnog followed by a generous slab of cranberry- and nut-crusted cheese log. 'Tis the season…right?! But while overindulging during the holidays is to be expected—and even, I'd argue, perfectly healthy if you eat an otherwise balanced diet—feeling like a bloated, gassy, hungover mess is never a good time.
So, what do you do? While you can't undo the damage completely, you can load up on certain foods and drinks that will help counter the effects of your junk binge and get your digestion and energy levels back on track. Take a look at these.
Ginger or Peppermint Tea
If you're feeling super bloated, crampy, or experiencing indigestion, ginger or peppermint tea may be your best liquid bet. These two soothing brews are both considered antispasmodic, meaning they help relax the muscles in your digestive tract and allow gas to pass through more easily, preventing those sharp, stabbing pains. Bonus: They're caffeine-free, so they count toward your water intake.
Yogurt + Berries
Even though you may not have the appetite for it, you'll want to eat breakfast, as it's key for jump-starting your metabolism. Keep it light, though, to go easy on your stomach. Hassick's go-to is Greek yogurt topped with berries. Yogurt contains beneficial lactobacillus bacteria that can help keep you regular and reduce gut inflammation triggered by sugary foods and alcohol.
If you really overdid it on the alcohol, you'll want to restore the minerals lost as a result of dehydration, including potassium, which is found in bananas as well as coconut water and potatoes. Potassium will also help counter the effects of ingesting too much sodium from salty snacks, like bloating.
If you need a subtle energy boost in the morning, sip on some green tea. This brew is rich in antioxidants, which can help prevent cell damage induced by too much junk. There's also some research showing green tea helps stabilize blood sugar levels and dulls cravings, which is important if you've overdone it on sweets and alcohol.
In addition to anything caffeinated, you'll also want to sip on some plain water throughout the day. Hydration is key, especially after a night of over-consumption. Water will help flush out toxins, aid digestion, and fight gas-induced bloating.
High protein eggs contain the amino acid cysteine, which breaks down the toxin from alcohol (acetaldehyde), allowing it to be eliminated through urine; while fiber-rich veggies like spinach and tomatoes help you de-bloat and keep digestion chugging along. Skip the cheese and side of bacon, though, as high-fat foods slow the passage of food into the small intestine, which can lead to more bloating, gas, and cramping post junk binge.
Think: cantaloupe, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, and raspberries. If water alone is hard to stomach, these fruits will help you hydrate and restore vitamins and minerals that can help you emerge from your sugar coma energized! They're also packed with fiber and aid in digestion.
If you're feeling queasy after a junk food and booze free-for-all, oatmeal topped with sliced pears may be a smarter choice than eggs or yogurt. This combo is still packed with healthy fiber, but both oatmeal and pears are extra gentle on the stomach.