It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone, and that we’ll soon be “ringing out the old, and ringing in the new.” Whether you’re spending a quiet evening at home with your loved ones and friends or going out on the town, here are a few tips to help you avoid some common “party pitfalls” so that you can make the most of your New Year’s Eve celebration.
- Avoid pigging out. No one wants to look like a pig in front of their friends and family. When making your food choices, go for ones high in protein and fiber, such as cheese (protein) and beans and veggies (fiber).
Research has shown that these types of foods are the most satisfying, which means you won’t be tempted to overeat. On the other hand, fatty foods are the least satisfying—most likely because they tend to be stored rather than immediately used, so they don’t trigger the signals that tell you to stop eating.
If you’re not sure these types of foods will be available, consider eating a high-protein meal (skinless poultry and fish and other seafood are a few examples of high-protein foods) before you head out to the festivities. Another helpful tip is to drink lots of water beforehand—it will fill you up.
Finally, keep in mind that during the holidays, spending time with people is what’s most important. So focus more on your family and friends and less on the food.
- Dodge digestive misery. Your body produces an array of digestive enzymes to break down food into components that it can absorb and utilize: protease to break down protein, amylase to break down carbohydrates, and lipase to break down fats.
As we get older our production of these enzymes declines, resulting in less efficient digestion, which means more indigestion, heartburn, and bloating. A simple way to improve digestion is to supplement with digestive enzymes.
And if you suffer with chronic heartburn, I suggest chewing a DGL tablet 20 minutes before meals. Zinc carnosine, chamomile, and aloe vera are other supplements that are helpful for preventing and treating heartburn.
- Escape a hangover. I don’t advocate overindulgence in alcohol, but I do want you to know that there are some natural ways to minimize alcohol’s destructive effects.
Alcohol is neutralized into carbon dioxide and water in the liver, your body’s primary organ for detoxification. Along the way, however, numerous intermediary products are formed—some more toxic than alcohol itself. Chief among these is acetaldehyde, which increases the production of free radicals that damage the liver and stimulate the brain to trigger feelings of nausea and discomfort.
Certain nutrients, taken before that first drink, can neutralize the effects of acetaldehyde—the most important of these being the amino acid cysteine. And because alcohol is a diuretic, you lose vital water-based nutrients when you drink. So supplementing with vitamin C and B-complex vitamins—especially vitamin B1 (thiamin), which is rapidly destroyed by acetaldehyde—beforehand will help reduce the after-effects of alcohol. I also recommend taking an herbal extract of milk thistle (Silybum marianum). Its active ingredient, silymarin, is one of the most potent liver-protecting substances known.
To protect your liver (before you drink and again the next morning), take 500 mg of N-acetylcysteine, 1,000 mg of vitamin C, 50 mg of vitamin B1, and 150 mg of standardized milk thistle extract.
Lastly, before you go to bed, drink at least 16 ounces of pure, filtered water, and continue drinking lots of water the next morning.
If you do suffer a headache the following morning, don’t take acetaminophen. Acetaminophen in conjunction with alcohol can damage your liver, sometimes fatally. Instead, steep wintergreen tea for 10 minutes and spike it with as much hot-pepper sauce as you can tolerate. Wintergreen contains salicylates, the active ingredient in aspirin; while hot-pepper sauce (or any powdered version of hot red peppers, such as cayenne) contains capsaicin, another painkiller.