A night of drinking can do so much more than just trigger weight gain—it can leave you with one hell of a hangover and a pounding head! Even if you’re a regular drinker, you may find that too much alcohol can leave you in rough shape. The good news is that it’s not as hard to avoid getting tipsy or drunk if you know how to drink smart. Specifically, it means eating the right food before going drinking. Below is everything you need to know about how to eat before drinking so you can avoid the nasty repercussions:
Your Metabolism Matters
The reason you get drunk is because you drink alcohol faster than your body can metabolize it. Your liver is capable of processing around one drink every hour, neutralizing the alcohol and eliminating it from your body. Eating a bit of food before drinking is the key to slowing down the rate alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream, giving your liver more time to process your alcohol before it starts affecting your brain and body.
How Food Helps
If you eat before drinking, you do a number of things to help your body. First, the water content of the food you eat dilutes the alcohol content in your stomach and intestines, so the liquid absorbed into your bloodstream has been watered down and is therefore less potent. The fiber in your food also slows down alcohol absorption rate, as does the protein and fats. This means it takes longer for the alcohol to hit your bloodstream, giving your liver more time to process it. And finally, the food you eat will replenish the minerals and vitamins that are depleted as you drink alcohol.
Not All Food is Equal
Eating almost anything is good for you, but pay attention to that “almost”. There are two things you want to avoid before a night of drinking: caffeine and salt. Caffeine dehydrates your body just like alcohol does, so it basically compounds the dehydrating effects of your drinks. Salt makes you feel more bloated, due to its water retention properties. You’ll be less likely to reach for a glass of water after a salty meal. And, as we all know, drinking water is crucial for helping you keep the alcohol under control.
The Best Foods to Eat
If you’re trying to diminish the effects of alcohol, the best thing to eat is anything high in fiber, water, minerals, and vitamins. You know what that means, right? Fruits and veggies, of course! Produce with a high fiber and water content will do wonders to reduce the effects of alcohol and prevent hangovers the next day. You can also go with legumes, whole grains, and nuts, all of which will neutralize or slow the effects of alcohol.
What About Greasy Food?
Greasy food is typically seen as alcohol-friendly, as it’s supposed to coat the internal lining of your stomach with a layer of fat to slow down alcohol absorption. Unfortunately, that’s not usually true. Greasy food will bond with the alcohol and slow down absorption rate, but there’s no coating the lining of your stomach. It’s simply the high fat content of the food that works—it takes your body longer to absorb it, thus slowing down the rate of absorption of everything in your stomach.
Simple sugars are a terrible idea if you’re drinking! They’re absorbed quickly into the body, so they won’t slow down alcohol absorption rate. Plus, they’re more likely to make you nauseous.