8 Surprising Things You Should Eat to Combat that Hangover
If you drink alcohol, chances are you’re going to wake up and face suffering through a hangover from time to time. As for handling a hangover, there are a lot of conflicting ideas out there about what works and what doesn’t. That greasy meal you’re craving might not be the best option, but here are some tried and true foods that absolutely are.
Eggs are a powerhouse to stand up to a hangover for a couple different reasons. For one thing their well-balanced protein ratio can help get you going and reduce some of those more mysterious hangover cravings. But what really makes eggs unique is the cysteine they contain. When your body is processing alcohol out of the body, the liver runs out of chemicals to break down the chemicals, so those painful toxins called acetaldehyde linger unless something comes along to break them up. Cysteine is the magic bullet as it has the same function of those chemicals you’re missing from the liver, and will help to flush out the toxins faster than you could do on your own.
Honey is high in fructose, which can help speed up your body’s metabolism of alcohol, which gets it out of your body faster. Try spreading some on a piece of whole grain toast for a solid (and delicious) hangover breakfast choice, or just eat a spoonful and wash it down with a full glass of water.
When you wake up craving salt after a night out even when you’re dramatically thirsty as well, that’s because your electrolytes have been diminished and your body is screaming out that it could use a replenishing. A sports drink can help out, but strangely pickle juice might be an even better option. Pickle juice is full of salty electrolytes, minerals, and vinegar. Vinegar can help reduce heartburn, assists in the absorption of nutrients while you eat, and may be able to help stabilize the blood sugar.
When you drink too much you diminish the levels of potassium in the body, which can make you feel tired and nauseous. Eating a banana is one of the most efficient ways to get your stores back up and hopefully get you back on your feet. Bananas also contain tryptophan that converts to serotonin and boosts the mood, reduces swelling, helps remove toxins from the body, calm the digestive system (or jumpstart it, ahem), and control your blood sugar. Bananas also help with the production of white blood cells, which might be able to help you prevent getting a cold after a wild weekend.
Researchers aren’t entirely sure why this vegetable can reduce the lethargy, nausea and headaches from a hangover, but it can! If eating a bunch of veggies doesn’t sound like the most appealing thing in your morning fog try chopping it up into an omelet with those amazing eggs. It’s benefits are probably due to some mixture of its minerals, amino acids and vitamins.
Chocolate can give a burst of sugar that’s helpful in hangover recovery, but it can also help you get back nerve impulses that can be deadened from over doing it on the shots. Just keep it minimal and as dark and unprocessed as possible to avoid causing more problems. The cacao in its natural state is the part that has the health benefits, not the added sugar, butter, and milk that make it taste so good.
A warm bowl of oatmeal to recover will do than just make you feel satiated, oats can actually absorb toxins in the body, even out the acid levels, and are packed with B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, and iron, all of which can help replenish your energy levels.
Like eggs, soda water (and it’s sugar filled alternative Sprite) can help to break down the toxin acetaldehyde. Drinking soda water is generally a little more exciting than tap water alone, so it also might encourage you to drink up and get hydrated a little quicker. If it’s still not doing it for you, try adding a little bit of lemon or a drop of a sports drink to give it a bite of flavor.
About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.