Electric trio, blocks, samba schools, drums, dancing… All of this is part of the party that is carnival. There are four official days of revelry, but the chaos starts before, with pre-carnival events that are also a true marathon – of joy and also of some excesses. To maintain health and fitness until the end, you need to take some care – eating and hydrating well makes all the difference.
Carnival is a test of endurance and to enjoy it to the fullest you need to be prepared. To help those who are going to join in the festivities, doctor Leonardo Feinden and nutritionists Elaine Klein and Michael Alexandre have prepared some food tips to eat before, during and after the party and how to mitigate the effects of alcohol on the body.
During the intense carnival schedule, it is common to skip meals, overindulge in alcohol consumption and choose to eat food sold on the streets. To enjoy every day of Carnival, it is important to follow some basic dietary precautions. “Before heading into the festivities, it is important to have a complete meal, which must include carbohydrates, proteins, greens, vegetables and fruits, while the consumption of legumes such as beans can promote the appearance of gastric discomfort (gas) and should be avoided”, comments Elaine Klein, nutritionist and consultant at Bodytech.
The tip for those who go to the blocks in the morning is to start the day with a good breakfast. Consume whole-grain breads, tapioca with chia seeds, sugar-free juice and coffee, and fruits with a higher water content (orange, apple, melon, watermelon, pineapple, kiwi, grapes). Other foods that are a great option to include in your diet before the festivities are: bread, rice, pasta, cassava, yams, eggs, cheese, chicken, fish, beetroot, carrots, pumpkin, cabbage, fruits (avocado, banana, grapes, watermelon, melon, orange), coffee and iced green tea.
It is advantageous to always have practical food alternatives that can be easily carried in a fanny pack or shoulder bag. Oilseed nuts (cashew and Pará nuts, almonds, walnuts, macadamia, pecan, baru, pistachio, hazelnut), chickpeas, protein bars and fruits are welcome. A good liquid option is isotonic drinks. Cheese bread, popcorn and fruit popsicles can be options for those who don’t intend to bring anything and need a quick snack on the street.
“When hunger strikes, many revelers choose to turn to street food. However, be careful when choosing your meal. Avoid fatty foods, fried foods and especially those that are exposed to inappropriate temperatures, homemade sauces such as mayonnaise and items that require refrigeration such as natural sandwiches. These foods can be at risk of contamination and even cause gastroenteritis”, warns Klein.
A valuable tip is not to neglect hydration. The nutritionist advises you to alternate water between alcohol intake. Avoid long periods without eating and do not drink on an empty stomach. To help with hydration, a good option is to consume coconut water, natural and isotonic juices.
Excess alcohol can overload the liver, and around 90% of alcohol ingested is metabolized in the organ by specific enzymes. This imbalance alters the intestinal microbiota, inhibits the formation of vitamins produced in the intestine, and ends up deregulating the immunological and metabolic response, causing a pro-inflammatory state.
The day after a possible binge, ensure the consumption of vegetables, especially raw leaves, raw vegetables and citrus fruits. “Eating these foods helps increase the consumption of prebiotic sources. Include at least two different fruits in your day (eat at least one with the peel), vegetables and legumes in one of your meals. These foods can be eaten raw or steamed, or with little fat. It is important to avoid fatty foods, such as cheese and red meat, as much as possible during this period. Give preference to quality carbohydrates and lean proteins. Whole grains such as oats, flaxseed, chia (breakfast and snacks), brown rice and barley (lunch/dinner) are very welcome”, points out Michael Alexandre, nutritionist and postgraduate professor in Behavioral and Clinical Nutrition at the Faculty UNIGUAÇU.
Expert tip: Drink lots of water.
The time and absorption of alcohol depends on a series of factors, including the presence of food in the stomach (never drink on an empty stomach), the type of food ingested before consuming alcoholic beverages and the speed at which the person consumed the drink. . About 75% of alcohol is absorbed by the small intestine. The remainder is absorbed by the mucosa of the mouth, esophagus, stomach and large intestine.
Effects of alcohol on the body
Excessive alcohol consumption can have a number of negative impacts on health, and these effects can be exacerbated during the Carnival marathon, especially when combined with hot weather, poor diet and dehydration.
Doctor Leonardo Feiden, doctor and professor of postgraduate courses at Faculdade UNIGUAÇU, listed the seven main evils associated with excessive alcohol consumption. Find out what they are:
- Dehydration: Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it increases urine production. In a hot environment, fluid loss through sweating is already significant, and drinking alcohol can lead to rapid dehydration. This can result in dizziness, fatigue, headaches and, in more serious cases, fainting.
- Gastrointestinal problems: irritation of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, causing symptoms such as: heartburn, indigestion, nausea and vomiting. Consuming inappropriate foods can increase gastrointestinal discomfort.
- Alcohol poisoning: It is a serious condition that can result in mental confusion, vomiting, difficulty breathing and, in extreme cases, coma and death. Additional heat from the environment can increase the risk of poisoning.
- Cognitive impairment and motor coordination: Alcohol affects the central nervous system, leading to cognitive impairment, lack of motor coordination and slower reflexes. This increases the risk of accidents, falls and injuries, especially in a festive and busy environment like Carnival.
- Increased risk of injury: Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of injuries such as cuts, bruises and fractures. The combination of crowds, crowded streets and impulsive behavior can make injuries more likely.
- Impact on the cardiovascular system: Excessive alcohol can increase blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Immune system impairment: weakens the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections. This can be especially worrying during Carnival, where hygiene conditions can be challenging.
“To minimize health risks during the festivities, it is important to practice moderate alcohol consumption, stay well hydrated, eat nutritious foods and avoid combining it with other substances. Additionally, be aware of the signs of alcohol intoxication and seek medical help immediately if necessary These are essential measures to ensure safety during the festivities”, warns Leonardo.