The Importance of Proper Nourishment surrounding a Night Out

Story by Camille Wachholz
Feature Image via @jessiemariestudio

Going downtown with friends is fun, and new for a lot of us just entering college at CMU. Allowing ourselves to just “be” relieves stress and helps us unwind after a long week of classes and work shifts.

But, many times we are so focused on the fun night ahead that we forget to nourish our bodies. It is important to prepare your body before drinking, so you don’t wake up parched, with a pounding headache.

Sleep Well
One of the best things you can do to prepare your body for the long night ahead is simple: get rest. Even setting aside an hour of your day to take a nap is beneficial. Although this won’t necessarily prevent a hangover, it will improve your overall health and immunity. Giving your body rest helps restore energy and rejuvenate cells, giving your body a clean slate.

Drink Water to Replenish
Staying hydrated is crucial. This may seem obvious, but dehydration is one of alcohol’s most common negative side effects. Alcohol drains the body’s cells of water and can also alter electrolyte and vitamin absorption. Remember to drink a lot of water the day you plan on going out with friends.

Reminding yourself and your friends to drink one glass of water per alcoholic beverage can really make a difference in the toll your body takes the next morning.

Alcohol is considered a toxin to our body think of water as flushing the toxins out of your system (it’s necessary!).

Fixing the Problem
But, what if it’s too late and you are already experiencing a massive hangover?

If you feel up for breakfast, eggs contain cysteine, a liver-boosting chemical that also breaks down compounds which cause headaches. Try making yourself a nice omelet and toast.

If your stomach feels queasy, chicken noodle soup is a good option, because chicken also contains cysteine. The sodium and water that make up the broth provides a soothing component that helps your body reset. Oatmeal or crackers can help settle your stomach, while also replacing vital nutrients.

Most of the time when we feel hungover, we crave greasy food, but try to steer clear of it. Contrary to popular belief, greasy foods can further irritate the stomach lining. Take Advil to combat inflammation, and drink Gatorade to replenish electrolytes.

Nutrients to Nourish You
So, what should you eat before a night out?

Since the severity of a hangover is not entirely because of how much you drink (it also pertains to how your body processes alcohol), it’s important to have a balanced meal with carbs, fat and protein before your night out. Try not to eat foods with high sugar content – alcohol itself contains a lot of sugar already.

Although vegetables are great and extremely healthy, in this case you may want to eat something containing more calories to help diffuse the alcohol and give you energy.

Some good ideas are a turkey or tempeh sandwich with whole wheat bread, chicken with rice or pasta or even a hamburger.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, the same results can be achieved with carbs from pasta, bread or rice, protein from beans, quinoa or peas and fat from avocados or nut butter. Eating a good meal will slow alcohol absorption and protect your stomach.

Giving yourself plenty of fuel will also help prevent a Taco Bell or Dog Central binge later!

Most importantly, be safe and have fun.