The holidays are here and so are the boozy celebrations: A hangover or two are on the horizon. While there’s no cure for such misery, these foods could help alleviate the painful aftermath of last night’s party.
Nausea, dizziness, headaches, and all kinds of bowel discomfort are the primary and unpleasant symptoms of a long night full of beer and margaritas . . . or both. It’s often the case that we wake up to a world of pain and regret and vow to never drink again, only to go back for round two a few weeks later. While it’s all fun and games in your 20s, hangovers become an even more dreadful nightmare later in life—the hair of the dog won’t cut it, and you need an extra day to fully recover.
Sadly, no miraculous cure has been invented yet, and the only thing that can be done to make the pain stop is waiting. However, many trust in the power of greasy food and copious amounts of java to process the alcohol quicker and kick the system into gear. But, for as good and covenant as pizza and coffee for breakfast might sound, fatty foods and caffeine have the potential to do more harm than anything else.
If you’re doing some pre-emptive research to save yourself time and pain next time you wake up questioning and regretting your life choices, this list of foods might actually help you recover and handle the hangover with more ease.
This might be an obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning as we often tend to forget—one of the many things intoxicated brains make you forget. Alcohol is a diuretic, which is what keeps you running back and forth between the bar and the bathroom. As a result, you get dehydrated and eventually wake up with a pounding headache that makes it hard to even open your eyes the morning after.
To minimize the pain, drink plenty of water, both before going to bed and after. Coconut water is an even better alternative because it can supply your system with potassium and electrolytes and, unlike a Gatorade, it has low sugar content.
Something to keep in check is your caffeine intake. While many rely on an endless supply of coffee to survive through a hungover day, experts say it’s best to stick to water, coconut water, or even tea instead. That’s because coffee, just like alcohol, is also a diuretic and could only worsen your headache. It’s also very acidic, which can lead to a bad case of nausea and heartburn—two symptoms you’re trying to curb, not to aggravate.
Bananas are very easy to digest, which is exactly what you need when you’re nursing a hangover. Alcohol depletes the system of potassium, an important electrolyte that’s needed for the constant functioning of cells, nerves, and muscles.
Bananas are rich in potassium, as well as fiber, which can help the digestive system break down the remnants of alcohol processing. They’re also high in glucose, which can give you the necessary energy to leave the bed and go find more food. If bananas are not your favorite, dates are just as good.
Just because experts recommend avoiding greasy foods in the morning of a hangover doesn’t mean you have to give up eggs. Indeed, they’re the ideal breakfast food for those uncomfortable circumstances. Eggs contain cysteine, an amino acid that helps in the processing of acetaldehyde, a byproduct of ethanol metabolism that contributed to your feelings of nausea and headaches.
They’re also a source of taurine, which helps the liver metabolize alcohol, as well as calcium, vitamin D, which aids digestion, and vitamin B12, which gives you energy. Avoid the oil and opt for the scrambled, boiled, or poached option, and you’ll be good to go. If you’re used to having them with toast, choose whole wheat—it won’t upset your stomach, and it’ll raise your blood glucose levels to help with headaches.
You can’t discuss breakfast food without mentioning avocados. Other than being a brunch favorite, avocados can aid in the recovery process from a hangover. The green berries are packed with potassium, B vitamins, and fibers, all the essentials for a body that’s busy cleaning up after the havoc wreaked by alcohol. Guacamole might be an even better option as the cilantro in it produces enzymes and acids able to calm an upset stomach. It’s great news for millennials everywhere.
Another breakfast food that’s easy on the digestive system is oatmeal. With plenty of B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium, it represents a great source of nutrients your hungover body is in dire need of. If you’re feeling a bit hungry or in need of something sweet, add a banana or a couple of dates to it. Your insides won’t hate you for it.
In addition depleting potassium, alcohol also depletes the body of magnesium (found in beans), a great muscle relaxant that helps control anxiety. More importantly, it helps in the breakdown process of alcohol, it supports liver function, and it even promotes heart health. Hard to pass up beans if they’re on the menu and you’re feeling apologetic towards your liver.
Although the inclination to cook in the morning after a night out is zero to none, finding the will and strength to make some chicken soup might just be worth your while. The same way it’s recommended to those who are ill, a steamy bowl of soup makes for a simple remedy to those dealing with a hangover.
The broth has water, sodium, and electrolytes to replenish your dehydrated body, the chicken has protein to give you substance, and the noodles have carbs that are easy to digest. It’s the kind of all-in-one deal you want on a day full of self-misery and despair.
Vegetarians can opt for a miso soup, which is also rich in probiotics that can help restore gut health.
So there you have it. Hangovers are no funny business and getting over them starts with bringing balance back into your body. Replenishing your system with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients is key for a full recovery and these foods can provide you with all the ones you need to make up for that one extra G&T you had the previous night.