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What To Eat for a Hangover

July 20, 2022

 
What To Eat for a Hangover

 

Say the word “hangover,” and your body already knows what comes with it. A pounding headache, dizziness, and nausea are just some of the uncomfortable side effects of having too much to drink – and too little water with those cocktails. When you are experiencing a hangover, your body is going through withdrawal from alcohol — and why you should prioritize food and hydration.

And yet, when you’re feeling down, eating food may be the last thing on your mind – especially if you’re suffering from the symptoms of a hangover and are feeling nauseous or you can’t keep food down. If you’re wondering what’s the best hangover food (and which foods you might want to avoid), keep reading. 

How Can I Avoid a Hangover?

There are a number of ways to try to ensure that your night out with friends won’t result in a headache the next day. One of the best ways to avoid a hangover begins before you even start drinking. Make sure that you aren’t drinking on an empty stomach, and prioritize eating before meeting up with friends for an evening of festivities. 

Drinking on an empty stomach can cause nausea and sickness, and can even cause the alcohol to be absorbed faster than if you had food in your stomach. So, prioritize eating before you begin drinking.

Another way to effectively avoid a hangover is by monitoring the amount of alcohol and water you are consuming. If you are just drinking alcohol without any hydration, that’s a sure way to get a hangover. With alcohol being a diuretic, your body is more likely to lose fluids – and need more to replenish it. Drink plenty of water, eat before drinking, and monitor your alcohol consumption. 

Is There a Cure for Hangovers?

Unfortunately, there aren’t hangover cures, except for taking preventative action before and during a night out. Once you have a hangover, it’s largely a waiting game. You’ll have to suffer through hangover symptoms like nausea, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. 

What Foods Should I Eat for a Hangover?

We’ve all been there. Greasy food like tacos or big cups of coffee might sound appealing, but it’s not what your body actually wants. Seek out foods that are protein-rich, smaller in size, and packed with vitamins (especially B vitamins lost during heavy drinking), minerals, and nutrients that your body is craving. Skip the burger and load up on leafy greens instead. 

Eggs

Eggs are a great food option if you’re feeling hungover, particularly because they are rich in magnesium and L-cysteine, a protein that helps break down a byproduct of alcohol that is produced when your body metabolizes it. Eaten with a whole-grain slice of bread or gently scrambled with some greens, eggs are a powerhouse of protein that are light enough to likely not upset your stomach. 

Smoothies 

If you can’t handle the thought of consuming solid food, then a smoothie is a great option for hangover hunger. Smoothies can be created with any combination of items, including protein-rich peanut butter and fruits high in natural sugars and vitamins. 

Hydrating coconut water can be used as a base, to which you can incorporate any number of nuts, seeds, and even vegetables. Throw in your favorite veggies and reach for fruits high in vitamin C for a good dose of nutrition.

Avocados

Combined with whole-wheat or multigrain bread, avocados could be a great option if you are looking for a food that is light, filled with protein, and rich in potassium. In combination with some of the carbohydrates from whole-grain bread, avocados can offer a light meal that is unlikely to upset your stomach while providing a decent amount of protein and energy for your body. 

High Water-Content Foods

If you’re experiencing a hangover, then you’re also likely dehydrated. Consuming foods high in water content is a great way to add fluids to your body while still receiving nutrition from foods. Cucumbers, watermelon, spinach, and apples are all foods with high water contents that will hydrate and nourish you. Spinach can easily be incorporated into a smoothie, whereas cucumbers can be eaten alone or placed in water. 

Sports Drinks and Electrolyte-Enhanced Beverages

This hangover staple is a tried-and-true remedy for a reason; your body, when hungover, is in desperate need of some electrolytes. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means you will be urinating more than usual and at a higher risk of becoming dehydrated. Alcohol plus dehydration equals a hangover in the making. 

Sports drinks and beverages with electrolytes – a combination of minerals like sodium, potassium, and calcium – help replenish what your body lost while drinking. Coconut water could be a good alternative if you are looking for something natural, and regular water will also hydrate you. Try consuming beverages packed with electrolytes before you go to bed in addition to hydrating with water. 

Ginger

If you are looking to reduce nausea, some people find ginger helpful. Easily incorporated into any smoothie or grated fresh atop a dish, ginger has been found to support easing an upset stomach. Ginger candies – if you’re unable to find fresh ginger – can be helpful. Lastly, ginger tea or a soup with ginger in it is always a good option if you cannot consume solid food just yet. 

Soup

There’s nothing like a childhood favorite to nurse you back to health, and a soup is sure to do the trick. Embrace a broth-based soup, like chicken noodle soup, could aid in replenishing lost sodium and fluids. 

Vegetables and lean proteins in a lighter soup will help give your body the protein it craves without the heaviness (or quantity) of a full-scale meal. However, avoid a dairy-based soup as it can upset your already sensitive stomach.

What Foods Should You Avoid?

In general, it’s best to avoid foods high in fat, added sugars, and grease. Even though you might want to reach for that butter-filled breakfast sandwich the morning after, your body is already in a depleted state and is looking for vital nutrients to replenish itself. 

Foods high in sugar and fat should not be your go-to hangover meal – even if you really want it. Consuming high sugar levels will only satisfy you for so long until you crash. This doesn’t mean you can’t try that new maple bacon sandwich or indulge in a brunch here and there, but if you’re looking to help your body out of a depleted state, then be mindful of what foods you put into your body.

Be Mindful of Caffeine 

While not a food, another thing to be mindful of if you’re hungover is how much caffeine you consume. While some level of caffeine might help address that headache, too much of it can be detrimental. If you’re a regular coffee drinker, don’t skip it on a day when you’ve got a hangover because it might worsen that headache (although you may want to skip the spoonful or two of sugar you put in it).

Caffeine is a diuretic, which means that while it does not directly cause dehydration, it will make you urinate more frequently, which leads to fluid loss. If you are hungover, chances are you’re already dehydrated: adding caffeine on top of that can increase your chances of being further dehydrated. 

If you do choose to consume caffeine while experiencing a hangover, be mindful of how much you choose to imbibe and compensate with a significant amount of water and other hydrating fluids. Dehydrating your already-dehydrated body will only postpone your recovery time from the hangover.

Skip the Mimosas

After a night out, it may be tempting to meet up with friends for a boozy, breezy brunch or hair of the dog. However, bottomless mimosas after a night of drinking can only further upset your stomach; the acid in orange juice can irritate a sensitive stomach, and the alcohol can continue to dehydrate you. Though the sodium in tomato juice (in the brunch-favorite bloody mary) can help replenish lower sodium levels, it’s best to stick to water the day after. Skip the buzz and start hydrating. 

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

As previously mentioned, hydration is great for helping move your wellness factor along. Like caffeine, alcohol is also a diuretic, which means that you are likely to urinate more frequently when alcohol is in your system, increasing your chance of getting dehydrated. Without hydrating regularly, frequent urination can cause dehydration in addition to alcohol consumption.

As a general rule, drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume; monitor the rate at which you are consuming alcohol, and be sure to eat before drinking. Consuming alcohol on an empty stomach is a recipe for a morning filled with nausea and dizziness. 

If you are already experiencing a hangover, then you’re dehydrated. Consume liquids at your own pace, prioritizing beverages with electrolytes and nutrients but not with exorbitantly high levels of sugar. If you cannot keep liquids down, consider in-home IV therapy, which can help you hydrate without consuming liquids orally. 

Administered by medical professionals in the comfort of your own home, IV therapy is packed with the electrolytes, nutrients, and vitamins that your body is desperately in need of when hungover. This rescue treatment by The I.V. Doc has been crafted specifically for the worst of hangovers; packed with hydrating fluids and medication, this liquid therapy may have you revived in no time. 

The Bottom Line

While it may seem tempting to reach for a greasy breakfast sandwich, piled-high bagel, or stack of waffles if you drank too much last night, there are just some foods that aren’t going to help that hangover. Greasy, carb-loaded, sugar-packed foods may taste great, but when your body is hungover, it’s desperately in need of nourishment.

If you wake up feeling awful, prioritize hydration and small, high-impact foods that can get you some of the vitamins and minerals you need. Protein-packed snacks like nuts, avocado, peanut butter toast, and oatmeal are filled with the good kinds of fats and proteins that will provide you with some nourishment. 

Avoid heavy, greasy, sugary foods that may exacerbate an already-pounding headache, and be mindful of your day-after caffeine intake. When you’re hungover, it’s all about time. As alcohol exits your body, make rehydration and high-protein foods a priority. It takes time to get your energy levels back to normal.

The next time you drink, hydrate consistently and never drink on an empty stomach. Take care while you drink, and hopefully, you won’t end up with any of the uncomfortable hangover symptoms the day after.

 

Sources:

L-Cysteine Containing Vitamin Supplement Which Prevents or Alleviates Alcohol-related Hangover Symptoms: Nausea, Headache, Stress and Anxiety | Oxford Academic

Caffeine: Is it dehydrating or not? | Mayo Clinic.

Hangovers | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
 

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