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How to Prevent a Food Hangover

Everyone knows that drinking too much ethanol (read: alcoholic beverages) will not only make you drunk, but cause a dreaded hangover come morning, complete with serious headaches, nausea, general discomfort, and sometimes much worse, depending on how much you’ve drunk.

Nobody disputes that hangovers are real, nor is there any shortage of information on supposed cures for them. But what about the less commonly discussed food hangover? Have you even heard of them? Do you think they’re not a real thing? Do you know much, if anything about them?

Well, fear not, because today, in honor of the large amounts of food consumed on thanksgiving, Vine Vera is going to discuss the food hangover, what it is, if it even exists, if so, how it works, and what you can do about it.

Are Food Hangovers a Real Thing?
In a word: yes. Not everybody calls them the same thing, but there is a medical precedent for the symptoms that eating way too much food causes. In a nutshell, eating way too much food way too fast (like you probably just did for turkey day) can cause a collection of symptoms, including bloating, lethargy, nausea or stomach upset, and malaise, or a general feeling of being uneasy, or “blah.” The occurrence of these symptoms after eating large quantities of food in a short amount of time are colloquially referred to as a “food hangover.”

How Do they Work?
The cause for food hangovers is generally a large influx of fatty foods that your digestive system wasn’t prepared for. While you wait for your body to get to work producing all the necessary enzymes to process and digest the food, which means your food sits there longer than normal, explaining the bloating and possible nausea and upset stomach. The lethargy and malaise are caused by your body allocating energy and resources to creating those enzymes and performing the other necessary functions to get your digestive system working; it’s got a lot of work to do, so you feel lethargic and weak because your body doesn’t want you moving around; that’s energy better spent on digestion. Note that if you don’t normally have much fat in your diet and suddenly eat a large, fatty meal, your food hangover will be worse and last longer, because your body hasn’t been keeping much of those enzymes on hand.

What Do I Do About It?
We can already hear you saying “that’s great and all, but what do I do to get rid of it, or prevent it in the first place?” Well, Vine Vera has the answer for that too.

To help prevent the worst of the symptoms, avoid alcohol and drink lots of water. Keep sipping throughout the meal and after, until you’re not thirsty at all.

As for a cure after the fact? The best fix is time and rest. There’s a reason a lot of people fall asleep after a thanksgiving feast (or any feast or otherwise huge meal, for that matter). Sleeping it off is by far the best way to deal with a food hangover one you have one. You’ll be lethargic enough to fall asleep easily, and you’ll wake up after a nice pleasant nap, happy and satisfied.