Have you ever consumed a few more pieces of chocolate than you typically would, leaving you with that dreaded sugar hangover?
You know what I'm talking about: fatigue, nausea, a headache, additional sugar cravings, an upset stomach, and maybe even a little anxiety. Sugar hangovers are real, and they do not feel good! The good news is that there are a few simple things can do to help yourself recover from the onslaught of sugar, carbs, and gluten that's likely to occur on this day of the year.
But before we go into the practical steps of supporting your body after too much sugar, the first step is to let go of any guilt or regret you might be feeling. What's life without celebration and going a little overboard sometimes? You only live once, after all. So take a deep breath in and out, let it go, and let's move on with our lives. Now it's time to tackle the lingering physical symptoms that might be making you feel less than optimal. Here's how:
1. Get that body moving.
The blood-sugar-balancing benefits of exercise are WAY underrated and underappreciated. But exercise helps balance blood sugar in both the short and long term. In the short term, it helps increase insulin sensitivity—which means your body can better take up glucose during and after physical activity—and encourages your muscles to contract, which makes them better able to take up glucose and use it for energy. In the long term, regular physical activity can lower your hemoglobin A1C.
This is why step one in your post-Halloween game plan is to get that body of yours moving. This could take the form of a one-hour gym session, a 30-minute power walk, a 10-minute yoga session, or even a two-minute dance workout. The point is to get your blood pumping and your muscles working.
2. Add cinnamon to your go-to morning beverage.
We all have our favorite morning drinks. Maybe you're a coffee person, a matcha fanatic, an herbal tea enthusiast, or love experimenting with different mushroom tonics or golden milk recipes. Whatever your poison, adding cinnamon to your first beverage of the day is a great second step to recovering from your sugar hangover.
Why cinnamon, you ask? Cinnamon has long been used as a blood sugar stabilizer, with one study showing that patients taking 500 mg of cinnamon twice a day for 90 days experienced improved hemoglobin A1C levels. Other studies have suggested that consuming cinnamon is associated with decreased fasting glucose, and cinnamon supplements could be a potential complementary treatment for type 2 diabetes to use along with other treatments like dietary changes and exercise.
Luckily, cinnamon is also inexpensive, so don't be stingy with that spice bottle! Go ahead and really dump it in there.
3. Eat a satisfying meal full of healthy fats and protein.
After an evening of indulgence, it might be tempting to restrict calories or even skip a meal the next day. That could, however, put you at risk for "hanger," or blood sugar dips that make you feel legitimately sick. As an alternative, try starting the day with a nice meal chock-full of healthy fats, fiber, and protein. All three of these nutrients have blood-sugar-balancing properties and can help you feel satisfied. Fats, especially unsaturated fats, have been linked to improved insulin resistance, fiber has been associated with a reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes (P.S.: It's great for your microbiome, too!), and protein tempers insulin secretion.
My go-to breakfast is a bunch of sautéed spinach—which is full of the blood-sugar-balancing mineral magnesium—two eggs, and a cup of hot quinoa cereal.
Ready for one last final tip? Sip on water with a splash of apple cider vinegar throughout the day. Both can help balance blood sugar and help your body recover so you're feeling back on track sooner rather than later.
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Gretchen Lidicker has a B.S. in biology and earned her master’s degree in physiology with a concentration in complementary and alternative medicine from Georgetown University. She's the author of CBD Oil Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Hemp-Derived Health and Wellness and Magnesium Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Epsom Salts, Magnesium Oil, and Nature's Relaxation Mineral. A Kripalu Center for Yoga and Ayurveda-trained yoga instructor, expert bread baker, and farmers market fanatic, she believes that no day is complete without a good dance party.