In a move that surprised no one, you totally overdid it yesterday. You had to have thirds on ham. You took down a gallon of spiked eggnog. You were feeling festive, but now you feel like crap.
Here are five tips to get you back to normal as quickly as possible.
You ate all kinds of salty pork. You drank brandy, and wine, and coffee. You sweated your soul out in that God-awful cable-knit sweater. All of those things will leave your body rather depleted of water. It's time to start putting it back in. Simple, straight water is the best thing for you, but if you're really under-hydrated, you might want to consider adding an Emergen-C packet to the mix. Emergen-C (and many similar products) are electrolyte-balanced, which will help you actually absorb the water. You don't want to be pouring it in one end to just have to come out the other without doing any good along the way, do you?
Additionally, water is integral to the digestion process. If you're still feeling full, some H2O may be required to allow your body to continue breaking down the carnage.
Yesterday, during the course of one meal, you consumed enough calories to sustain a small herd of elephants for a week. If you don't use those calories they will turn into superfluous chins and asses. It's time to kickstart your metabolism.
You don't need to go out and run a 10K—in fact, that's generally not good for you after a day of binge-eating—but the metabolic fire must be reignited. Go for a brisk walk. Push the pace a little to elevate your heart rate a bit, but you don't want it to be absolutely pounding. Go for as long as you can. It's nice to get out of the house, anyway.
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends that adults under 50 eat at least 38 grams of fiber per day for men, and at least 25 grams of fiber per day for women. If you recently ate a lot of heavy foods, you could stand to go way higher. Fats, hunks of meat, and other detritus of holiday feasting can get stuck in your intestines and needs to be helped out the door. Fiber is that helper.
Insoluble fiber, found in veggies and grains like bran, are not readily digested by our bodies (other nutrients are pulled out, just not the fiber itself). It's sort of like swallowing a broom. As it moves through your digestive system it helps sweep things along, leaving you feeling less bloated and disgusting. Skip the bran muffins which are generally loaded with butter. Instead go for some leafy greens like kale (or a bowl of bran cereal).
Your intestines are full of bacteria, but many of them are there to help. Good bacteria keeps your system in balance by killing yeast and bad bacterial that can cause an array of health disorders. A day of blasting your gut with unhealthy foods can throw your innards into dysbiosis, or a state of imbalance where there aren't enough good bacteria to keep things in check. Immediate consequences may include a whole host of G.I. issues.
Luckily, you can help replenish the good bacteria by consuming probiotics. Probiotics are tiny organisms found in fermented foods like yogurt, kombucha, kim chi, and sauerkraut. If your gut is doing cartwheels those foods might be a good place to start. If the thought of eating that stuff makes you even queasier, you can get probiotic supplement pills from most health-food stores. They're generally in a refrigerated section. Look for the ones that claim to have billions of probiotics in them, rather than the ones that just say millions.
Above we talked about insoluble fiber, which is important for your digestion, but soluble fiber is important, too. Soluble fiber has the same cleaning properties, but the difference is that soluble fiber dissolves in water, so it can go places where insoluable fiber can't, most importantly, your blood. After you've eaten a fatty meal, your blood literally has vastly more fat in it than it did before. If those fats get caught somewhere, start collecting, and eventually create a blockage, that can cause major problems. Like, the death kind of problems.
Soluble fiber has been shown to help scrub our your blood. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels, according to the Mayo Clinic. Apples are a great source of soluble fiber, so one a day really may help keep the doctor away. It can also be found in citrus fruits, carrot, beans, peas, and oats.
These are all things most of use should be doing more of anyway, but it's especially important after a day of holiday debauchery. Eat, drink, and be merry, without the whole "for tomorrow we die" thing.