Hangovers are definitely the least fun thing about drinking. You wake up after a few too many Prosecco cocktails or glasses of wine with a pounding head, dry mouth, shaky hands, and a churning stomach. And the worse part is, you now have to attempt to make it through an entire day.
Unfortunately, there’s no magical quick fix for curing a hangover (though we do have a full guide to How to Ease Your Hangover in 7 Simple Steps). But what you put into your body the following morning can make a significant difference. And that’s where this guide to the best food for a hangover comes in.
The best hangover food may not be what you expect, or even what you’re craving. But eating the right things can help ease your headache, settle your stomach, and boost your energy levels, making the day ahead a little more bearable.
Before we jump into this list, it’s crucial that we first mention the ultimate hangover cure – water! Water should be the first thing you reach for in the morning before you even think about eating.
Alcohol is a diuretic. Diuretic means that it flushes fluids from the body – hence those extra trips to the loo on a night out (or maybe it was the sheer volume if you were playing drinking games). It also leads to extreme dehydration the following morning, causing horrible hangover symptoms such as a dry mouth and pounding headache.
Ideally, you should drink lots of water alongside alcohol to prevent a hangover in the first place. But let’s be honest, how many of us actually remember to do this? So make sure to drink a glass or two before you jump into bed at the end of the night (tip: have a glass ready at your bedside), and continue to sip on plenty of water throughout the following day.
2. Coconut Water or Electrolytes
You can also step things up a notch by adding some coconut water to your hungover morning routine. Coconut water is not only extremely hydrating, but it’s also full of good sugars, antioxidants, and – most importantly – electrolytes.
When you drink too much alcohol, your blood electrolyte levels get diluted and/or depleted. These electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, are essential in regulating fluids in the body and for many basic bodily functions. Low electrolyte levels are therefore a major contributor to many hangover symptoms, such as nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. This is why it’s necessary to replenish your electrolyte levels after drinking.
Many people reach for energy drinks such as Lucozade, Gatorade, or Pedialyte after a big night out. And while these are also good for replenishing electrolytes, they are high in sugar and not the healthiest hangover cures. Coconut water has the same rehydrating and replenishing effects, but with less sugar and more nutrients.
What to avoid: Hair of the dog – Many people swear by ‘hair of the dog’ to cure a hangover. If you don’t know what this means, it’s the idea that drinking more alcohol the following morning will help prevent or fix your hangover. But unfortunately, this is just a myth.
Waking up and drinking more booze will certainly help to delay the inevitable hangover. But once the initial alcohol buzz wears off, you’ll end up feeling even more dehydrated and hungover than you would have to begin with. So skip the Mimosas at brunch and order a nice fruit smoothie and a glass of water instead.
3. Toast and Honey
Lots of people crave carbs after a big night of drinking. And rightly so. Carb-heavy foods such as bread, sandwiches, toast, and crackers are some of the best things to eat with a hangover. They’re easy for the stomach to digest and offer an immediate source of energy. Carbohydrates are also naturally high in sodium, so they can help replenish your electrolyte levels too.
If you can stomach more than a simple slice of dry toast, try adding some honey for a sweet morning pick-me-up. Honey is packed with fructose, which can help your body eliminate alcohol faster. Toast with honey can raise your blood sugar levels and give you a natural energy boost, without increasing any feelings of nausea.
4. Cheese Pasta
Pasta is another excellent carb-heavy hangover food. You really can’t go wrong with basic cheesy pasta. But it’s probably best not to get over-excited with a super-heavy cheese sauce – you’re hungover stomach won’t thank you.
Instead, add a little butter or olive oil and some cheese of your choice for a simple and easy-to-make hungover lunch.
Cheese pasta is one of the best hangover cure foods for satisfying your cravings for naughty treats, without irritating your stomach (so long as you don’t turn your cheesy pasta into cheese soup).
5. Veggie Stuffed Omelette
Eggs are another good hangover food to add to your post-night-out breakfast. Or, more likely, brunch.
Eggs are packed with amino acids, such as cysteine and taurine, which support liver function. And let’s face it, your liver deserves a little pampering after working overtime last night. They’re also a great source of important nutrients, such as vitamin B6, B12, and vitamin D, which can help improve overall mood and make you feel more energetic.
As a bonus, eggs are a common household food item and a classic breakfast and brunch dish found in most cafes and restaurants. They don’t require much effort to cook or find when you’re not feeling overly energetic in the morning.
An omelette is going to be one of your best breakfast friends since it’s very easy to upgrade your eggs by adding some veggies – such as tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, and spinach – to make a more nutritious egg-based breakfast.
6. Avocado and Scrambled Egg Bagel
Another tasty way to upgrade your eggs is to add them to a bagel along with some smashed avocado. Scrambled eggs in a bagel are my go-to. But fried eggs and poached eggs also work well.
The eggs offer liver-aiding amino acids and plenty of nutrients, the bagel adds some carbs, while smashed avocado offers a good source of potassium. And if you can handle some dairy, halloumi cheese makes a tasty addition and will satisfy your salt cravings.
It really is the ultimate hungover brunch dish.
7. Oatmeal with Fruit and Honey
While your hangover will probably have you craving salty and greasy fast food the second you wake up or sugary treats like pastries, sticking to your regular breakfast of oatmeal or cereal may actually be a much better decision.
Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber, so can help relieve nausea and provide a slow release of energy to help power you through the day. It’s also packed with essential nutrients such as vitamin B, calcium, magnesium, and iron.
Add some fruit and honey for a sweet, tasty, and nutrient-filled breakfast bowl.
What to avoid: heavy greasy foods: Greasy grub is many people’s hungover go-to. Waking up after a big night out, it’s not uncommon to be craving unhealthy foods like a greasy plate of fried eggs, bacon and sausage, takeaway pizza, several scoops of gelato or a fast food burger. But while these foods will certainly taste good at the time, they are definitely not the best foods for a hangover.
Contrary to popular belief, greasy food will not ‘soak up the alcohol’ in your system. In fact, it actually makes it harder for your body to process the remaining alcohol. Fried foods will also leave you feeling sluggish and can irritate your already delicate stomach. So, leave the half eaten kebab on the nightstand.
9. Wholegrain Cereal
Many cereals are also fortified with vitamins and minerals, making them a great post-booze breakfast. But try to choose something bland and healthy like bran flakes, rather than sugary cereals that are likely to give you a sudden energy spike followed by a sharp crash.
And if your stomach isn’t up for dairy quite yet – which can also be harsh on an upset stomach – opt for a plant-based alternative in your cereal instead. Coconut milk and almond milk are two good options.
If you’re feeling lethargic after a heavy night of drinking, it may be because your body is low on potassium, an important electrolyte for basic functioning.
Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium you can get. Plus they’re soft and gentle on the stomach, so should be easy to digest if you’re struggling to keep down solid foods.
You can also blend a banana into a healthy fruit smoothie along with other fruits. Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are some of the best choices for a hungover fruit smoothie.
Berries are high in antioxidants and contain plenty of vitamin C to help you feel better in no time. You could also throw in some flax seeds or chia seeds for extra antioxidants and fiber.
12. Chicken Noodle Soup
Chichen noodle soup is typically associated with being ill. But did you know that it’s a fantastic hangover food too?
Not only is it extremely easy and comforting to eat, but it also has everything your body needs. You’ll get protein from the chicken, simple and easy-to-digest carbs from the noodles, and plenty of sodium and electrolytes from the broth.
Soup can help increase hydration and get some much-needed nutrients into your body, while still satisfying your hungover craving for salty food.
And what about supplementing your hangover food with a nice hot coffee?
If you’re a regular coffee drinker, a good ol’ cup of joe in the morning is a great way to increase your energy levels and help you feel human again.
But, it’s vital to remember that coffee is also a diuretic, just like alcohol. So drinking too much coffee can make you feel even more dehydrated and make your hangover symptoms even worse.
If you are drinking coffee on a hangover, make sure to balance it out with plenty of water. And as tempting as it may be, try not to drink more caffeine than you would on an average non-hungover day.
Strong coffee can also be particularly harsh on your stomach. So if you’re feeling nauseous or vomiting, it may be best to skip the coffee. Stick to the water and coconut water for now and ease into the coffee later in the day.
14. Fruit, Vegetable, or Tomato Juice
Fruit juice is a great addition to any hungover breakfast. Juice helps to keep you hydrated, boosts your blood sugar levels, and gets some necessary vitamins and minerals into your body.
Apple, cranberry, and watermelon juice are all good options for a hungover stomach. A mixed fruit juice containing ginger is particularly effective at easing nausea. My personal favorite is apple, carrot, and ginger juice.
If you can handle it, tomato juice is also a well-known hangover cure. Tomato juice is good for keeping you hydrated, replenishing lost nutrients, and helping with liver function. Note: It’s probably best to skip the Bloody Mary and stick with straight tomato juice to avoid making your hangover worse in the long run.
What to avoid: Acidic and citrus juices – While many people automatically reach for the orange juice, it’s better to pick another type of fruit juice instead. Oranges and other citrus fruits such as grapefruit and lime are highly acidic. This high acid content can irritate a sensitive stomach and even trigger acid reflux.
15. Protein-Packed Salad
Finally, for your hungover lunch or dinner, put down the greasy pizza and opt for a healthy protein-packed salad instead. High-protein foods have been shown to help your body better handle a hangover.
Alcohol stops your body from absorbing certain amino acids. And amino acid deficiency can contribute to hangover symptoms such as fatigue, decreased concentration, low mood, and even anxiety. So given that your body breaks down protein into amino acids, high-protein foods are a good choice on a hangover.
Lean chicken, eggs, and salmon are all excellent sources of protein that work well in a salad.
Compliment the protein source with some super veggies such as avocado (for potassium), spinach (for folate), and asparagus (for its liver-protecting properties), and you’re nourishing your body and hangover and multiple ways.
That’s our guide to the best hangover foods. What are your go-to hangover food and drink cures? Let us know in the comments below.
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