The Best Foods for a Hangover

Last night was amazing! You had the opportunity to kick up your feet, unwind, shoot the breeze with good friends and family all while enjoying your favorite liquor of choice, maybe a little too much. This morning, your body is certainly feeling the damage of the fun and shenanigans from the night before, and you just can’t shake the feeling or the symptoms. Yup, you’re hungover. You have tried drinking water, at least what your body will allow, but you still aren’t feeling up to par and just want to continue to enjoy what little time you have left until it’s back to the grind.

Despite the turning of your stomach and the spurts of nausea and vomiting, your body is telling you that you may want to try to eat a little something. Of course sushi is the last thing you would want to eat while trying to cure a hangover, but what can we eat that will nourish not only our bodies but our hangover as well?

According to an article published on Greatist.com, “The best and worst foods to cure a hangover,” they highlight that hangover symptoms are due to changes within the body chemistry that induce those nasty hangover symptoms that we usually tend to dread before we even pour the first drink. According to the site, it is advised that consuming Gatorade, Coconut water or Pedialyte can help initiate restoration of electorates. Coconut water in particular, has five of the electrolytes found naturally in human blood, while most sports drinks only have two. In addition, coconut water has potassium equivalent to between 1 and 5 bananas, depending on the brand, and can help reduce mild aches and pains occurring from deficiencies. In fact, many people find that proactively replacing these nutrients before or during drinking can help eliminate the need to play catch up with its needs in the morning.

Pedialyte on the other hand, typically intended to treat dehydration in children, can restore even more sodium and potassium than Gatorade, for far fewer calories. A big myth when it comes to certain drinks that can assist in curing a hangover is the consumption of coffee. Although nothing sounds better in the morning for a little extra pick me up, especially with a hangover, caffeine is a mild diuretic. This means that caffeine may only worsen your headache and cause further dehydration, causing a temporary boost in energy but lasting dehydration effects, leading to a vicious cycle. 

When it comes to food, some foods can serve as a fabulous staple in the hangover recovery process. One of the most popular foods to help cure a hangover is the consumption of eggs. Eggs are abundant in amino acids like cysteine and taurine. Taurine is known for boosting liver function, which plays a vital role in metabolic processes in the body. The use of alcohol also has a damaging effect on the liver, and consuming eggs may even help combat liver damage. Cysteine is known to break down acetaldehyde, which has been known to be the headache causing chemical that’s left over when the liver break downs ethanol, post party. Bananas, leafy greens and dates are also recommended because they are full of potassium, which is an important electrolyte that is often depleted by alcohol consumption.

Foods and beverages best avoided when trying to cure a hangover can be a tough nut to crack. Everyone is a bit different when it comes to stomach sensitivity after a night on the town. The worst possible advice someone can give would be, “have another drink in the morning!” Despite popular belief, it rarely works. Actually, picking up where you left off from the night before, not only will not cure your hangover, but it’s likely that it will make your hangover worse by further depleting vital electrolytes and nutrients that the body needs to essentially and fully rejuvenate. Always avoid orange juice, tomato juice and any other acidic juices that may make an already sensitive stomach a little more irritated. However, lemon and cranberry juice are exempt from this rule, and it is actually encouraged that you consume both when hungover for its detoxifying effects. So, cranberry juice with a shot of lemon juice as a chaser is a must, while fried and greasy foods are not. These choices will even cause more havoc for a displeased stomach. According to the mayo clinic, alcohol has a tendency to irritate and induce inflammation in the lining of the stomach and the intestines while delaying emptying of the stomach contents. With fats and greases already being difficult to digest without drinking or being hungover, it’s safe to say it would much harder on the stomach with alcohol or a hangover on board.

Finally, according to webmd.com, before a night out, “prepare with prickly pear.” While most over-the-counter¬†hangover remedies are a shot in the dark, and typically found ineffective, it’s suggested that if you plan ahead and consume prickly pear extract several hours before you drink, it will cut your chances of a hangover and or reduce your hangover symptoms by 50%. The article goes on to say that although experts don’t fully know how it works, the extract contains a protein that curbs the inflammation¬†that ensues from drinking, and it may help hold off a hangover.

  1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hangovers/basics/definition/con-20025464
  2. http://www.m.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/hangover-helpers