A rough hangover is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies. The pounding headache, the sensitivity to light, the nausea — it’s horrible. You want to crawl in bed all day long and enjoy a hearty cheeseburger and a chocolate milkshake. Not so fast, though. The comfort food we generally reach for the morning after a night out only makes everything worse. Alcohol irritates our digestive system and causes our stomachs to produce more acid than usual, resulting in acid reflux and tummy pain. So when you're considering foods to nurse a hangover, it’s important to stay hydrated as well as turn to foods that are alkaline-forming — they’ll help your body detoxify faster.
My go-to Sunday hangover nosh used to consist of fried chicken, potato skins, a few Twixes, and Coca Cola. It was satisfying for about half an hour tops, then my nausea only got worse. Science proves that anything sugary or greasy gives us a temporary increase in blood sugar; you’ll just crash soon after and aggravate your stomach lining. So, it’s better in the long run if you reach for sustenance that will balance glucose as well as comfort your tummy. Your hangover will disappear much faster.
Next time you’re clutching your head, wondering why you had that extra cocktail last night, try any of these 13 foods that will nurse your upset stomach back to working condition in no time.
This breakfast staple is full of amino acids, including cysteine and taurine. The former gets rid of the toxins that cause your hangover, while the latter boosts liver function. Plus, the protein you get from eggs will prevent you from snacking later on the kind of fried food that will definitely make your tummy feel worse.
Bread is a good source of bland calories that will settle your stomach rather than forcing it to work too hard during the digestion process. No need to settle for anything dry and boring, though. Make artisanal toast out of rye bread, bacon, avocado, and tomato. Finish with a sprinkle of shaved Parmesan.
Chicken noodle soup and miso soup are two great choices — they offer sodium and potassium, which will help you retain more water. They’re also gentle on the digestive system. Caution: avoid cheap store-bought cans that are most likely overloaded with unknown chemicals and preservatives. Your body is in no state to process that kind of stuff.
The immense amount of potassium in these brightly colored fruits helps balance salt levels in the blood, and it’s an important electrolyte that is often depleted after your series of gin and tonics. Treat yourself with banana pancakes. Maybe with a just a tad of Nutella spread on the top?
All-natural, raw honey contains fructose that helps break down the alcohol faster in your stomach. It’s also an antioxidant, so it only seems right to spread some on your rye toast or sprinkle it on top of homemade pancakes. The best hangover remedy, though, is honey mixed into green tea, which relieves nausea and headache.
I love to make myself a steaming hot bowl of banana date oatmeal. This superfood is packed with vitamin B, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Oats neutralize the acids in your belly and raise blood sugar levels in a good way; the energy you get from it won’t make you crash later. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top for extra goodness.
Dark green veggies are chockfull of vitamin C, folic acid, and antioxidants. I’m not prescribing a salad at sunrise (although that wouldn’t be a bad idea); instead, reach for a green smoothie with coconut water, which contains five important electrolytes. Get crazy and mix in some kiwi and strawberries too.
Your stomach and gastrointestinal tract is pretty irritated from the booze, so the lycopene in tomatoes can reduce that inflammation. But no hair of the dog — say no to the Bloody Marys! Instead, just drink tomato juice or assemble a yummy tomato, lettuce, egg, and mayo sandwich.
Before you get too excited, I don’t mean French fries dripping with grease. Instead, make a Hangover Hash with extra virgin olive oil. Bland, starchy foods like potatoes will reduce the nausea and boost your insulin, as well as help break down the alcohol. Have the hash with a fried egg on top, and you’ll be more than satisfied.
This is your new secret weapon. Asparagus contains crucial enzymes in breaking down the alcohol in your digestive tract. It's also high in amino acid and good for the liver. Try it garlic-roasted with olive oil and maybe some chopped up pine nuts. Yum!
They’re an excellent source of alkaline — exactly what your tummy is craving. Don’t worry, you don’t have peel them and eat ‘em like oranges. Drink a lot of filtered water with freshly squeezed lemon juice or, better yet, make your own lemonade, sweetened naturally with honey. These drinks will soothe the stomach lining as well as help detoxify your body much quicker.
Chickpeas contain a good amount of B6, which can relieve hangover symptoms, including upset stomach. They are a good source of protein as well. This is your chance to have some whole-wheat crackers on the side, which have the same effect as toast — easy on the belly and good for balancing blood sugar.
Spaghetti with marinara sauce sounds like a great weekend lunch, doesn’t it? Well, pasta increases the release of glucose in your body, enhancing your insulin and preventing you from reaching for the processed sugars later. That said, avoid the creamy sauces. All that fat and dairy may make your stomach feel horrible.
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