Unless You Love Cleaning Up Vomit, Don’t Let Your Friends Eat These Foods Before Drinking

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A bout of throw-up will ruin everyone’s night, so set your body up for success and don’t fuel it with the wrong foods

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of scrubbing the backseat of a cab after your friend, spouse, or co-worker puked all over it, you’ll never look at alcohol quite the same. The vomit center of the brain — yes, it’s a real thing — is signaled by an imbalance in the stomach, intestines, blood stream, or the brain itself, which can easily be triggered by a toxic level of alcohol in the body. [related]

A bout of throw-up will ruin everyone’s night, so set your body up for success and don’t fuel it with the wrong foods. To prepare yourself for an evening of drinking, eat some low-glycemic carbohydrates, like a sweet potato, brown rice, or legumes, and lean protein like ground turkey or chicken breast.

But just as important as what foods to eat, is knowing which foods to avoid. Unless you love cleaning up vomit, don’t let your friends eat these foods before drinking.

Dairy Products

The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse estimates that between 30 to 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant (although you can train your body to enjoy dairy), meaning they lack a special digestive enzyme that assists in breaking down and digesting dairy products. Without this enzyme, undigested lactose, or milk sugar, ferments in the large intestine, leading to gas, bloating, and indigestion. If you have any sort of issues with dairy, indulging in slices of Brie, a bowl of ice cream, or (God forbid!) a glass of milk before drinking alcohol will lead to some serious gastrointestinal issues later in the evening.

Salad Greens

The lack of calories and carbohydrates in salad greens makes them a great weight loss option, but they won’t help your body blunt the effects of alcohol. Drinking after eating a salad is equal to drinking on an empty stomach, which causes you to reach your peak blood alcohol content faster, and makes the liver work much harder. Instead of salad, eat a rich, calorie-dense hamburger and some starchy French fries to avoid a hangover — these foods will slow down alcohol’s progress to the stomach.

Spicy Food

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Habanero-laced Buffalo wings and an ice-cold beer seem like the perfect match, but you should really stay away from the spicy stuff before drinking. Capsaicin — the active ingredient in chiles that gives them their heat — naturally aggravates the stomach and intestinal system under normal circumstances, but when paired with alcohol this effect is exacerbated. Alcohol loosens and relaxes the esophageal sphincter (a circular bundle of muscles that sits between the esophagus and the stomach) and allows acidic digestive juices to splash back up into the esophagus, leading to heart burn, acid reflux, or worse