Let me describe a scenario for you that I, for one, know all too well. You wake up on a Saturday or Sunday morning (or a weekday, no judgement here) with the lingering taste and smell of tequila shots. You open one eye and survey last night’s damage: dull headache, slight nausea, a bruise on your kneecap (how the hell did that happen?), and your pillowcase smeared with makeup. All I can hope for you when you wake up with a hangover, is that you had enough fun last night to make your current state worth it.
While alcohol oozes from your pores, the questions arise: “Am I capable of eating?”, “What am I craving?”, “Who loves me enough to bring me food?”. If ready and willing, we source our tried-and-true hangover cures. Some swear by bacon and eggs, some believe Maccas solves everything (Uber Eats maccas is both the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me), and others head straight to brunch and re-tox on mimosas and Bloody Marys.
This is what my drunk dreams look like.
After one particularly difficult Sunday when no amount of electrolytes or greasy food seemed to help, I took to Google to get down to the truth of which foods would properly solve my hangover.
The ugly concept of ‘alcohol abstinence’ came up a lot - kudos to those who do it, but, no thankyou - but I managed to unearth some real gems of nutritionist knowledge I thought I would share with you. And it turns out, most of us are trying expedite our hangovers with the completely wrong foods. Here’s what we should be eating:
First, let’s talk coffee. Yes, it further dehydrates you, but I get a headache if I haven’t had a caffeine hit by 11am. I brought this on myself, and it’s a terrible plight I have to live with now. Anyway, nutritionists say a cup of Joe is a-okay, just not an an empty stomach as coffee is acidic. Also, guzzle something with electrolytes (coconut water is a great option, if you can get over the taste of glue) and drink at least two extra cups of water to counter the dehydration effects of coffee.
The experts recommend maintaining a balance of carbs, protein (which soaks up toxins) and fat to prevent further blood sugar drops and spikes, and replenishing lost nutrients, electrolytes, potassium and B-vitamins. Some options:
- Eggs with whole wheat toast, avocado and a side of fruit.
- Whole wheat toast or porridge with almond butter and sliced banana.
- A smoothie with a coconut water (ugh) (but even more potassium than a banana) base, with berries, protein powder, greens, collagen and avocado.
Put your phone away - nutritionists say no to McDonalds. Instead of greasy food, opt for more foods rich in complex carbs, nutrients and electrolytes. These will fill you up, nourish and rehydrate.
Good news - you can have a burger, just skip the cheese, take the top bun off and make sure it contains plenty of veggies; the more vegetables you eat, the more hydrated you get and the more vitamins you consume.
WHYYY ARE YOU NOT GOOD FOR ME?
Hopefully by dinner time, you’re feeling less dusty. However, if you’re still needing to give your body some more love and care, here’s some last-hurrah cures.
- I have the attitude towards soup that many people have towards a cuppa tea; it just solves everything for me. Chicken noodle soup is the holy grail of hangover dinners. The sodium helps your body retain fluids, you’ve got carbs, protein and an extra dose of warmth. It’s basically the food equivalent of a hug.
- Reckon you need an extra kick of veggies and fiber? You probably do - it will fill you up, nourish you and prevent cravings (good, I’ll probably still be thinking of fast food). Try roasted veggies or zoodles (shout out to The Whole Mix - best zoods) with salmon and a half-cup of whole grains or kumara.
Health is wealth.
The body craves magnesium after boozing, especially for muscle recovery after getting looooow all night. This mineral also activates B-vitamins for energy metabolism and mood regulation. Give your bod what it needs with a handful of nuts; almonds are best. Beans are also rich in magnesium - add them to any of the above meals for a boost!
Dried apricots are high in natural sugar, but are a way better choice than highly processed, artificially sweetened lollies. They are also rich in all-important potassium. Another sweet option is honey; again with the potassium, and antioxidants.
Blueberries are rich in nutrients that fight inflammation (byeeeeee headache). Salmon is also a great anti-inflammatory!
Get rid of nausea with ginger! A ginger beer or some candied ginger will do the trick. Otherwise, add it to a meal or have a ginger tea.
If you really can’t handle real food, Green Tea is your liver’s best friend. It will speed up the detoxifying process so you can flush out the remnants of your terrible life choices faster.
Even if you decide to ignore all of this advice, YOU MUST ADHERE TO THE GOLDEN RULE:
Hydrate or die. Don’t be dumb, drink aaaaall the water.
I’m off to add all of these foods to my hangover arsenal, then stock up on wine YAY. Happy hangovers, team.