Hair of the Dog? Check Out the Best And Worst Foods For A Hangover

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If you’ve ever sacrificed your entire Saturday for a fun Friday night, you’re not alone. Hangovers have plagued the human race for thousands of years. Hopefully you had the foresight to limit your hangover the night before. This can be accomplished by eating before you drink, taking supplements that arm your body to effectively metabolize the alcohol in your system, and drinking plenty of water between alcoholic beverages. Regardless, now it’s morning and you need to know what will help the most with your current predicament. Here are the best and worst foods for a hangover. Let’s dive in.

What Does Your Body Need to Combat a Hangover?

In order to properly metabolize alcohol and its byproduct acetaldehyde, your body needs to produce enzymes known as ALDH’s or aldehyde dehydrogenases. The precursors that need to be present for these enzymes include amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, biogenic amines, and vitamins. Now we know the building blocks of a speedy hangover recovery, so where do we find them?

Double Down on Hydration

The first thing you learn upon waking up from your first night of heavy drinking is that alcohol dehydrates you. This is made very evident by the overwhelming desire to drink a bathtub amount of water. Consuming alcohol increases your frequency of urination, while it decreases the production of antidiuretic hormone. This hormone regulates and conserves the amount of water that is passed during urination. As a result, you are much more susceptible to becoming dehydrated while drinking alcohol. Vomiting can also cause dehydration, as your body will lose more fluid than it can take in. If you happen to of vomited as a result of drinking too much alcohol during last night’s fun, you may consider rehydrating yourself with a few tall glasses of water.

However, water may not be the best option to rehydrate yourself on. Granted, water is great and your body needs it. However, you can double down with your hydration by consuming beverages that hydrate you as well as replenish electrolytes, probiotics, enzymes, and more. Some excellent rehydration choices include:

Pedialyte and other electrolyte sports drinks are great for replacing the potassium and salt that you lose from consuming alcohol. Coconut water is also packed with antioxidants and electrolytes. Kombucha is also very helpful for a quick hangover recovery because it contains probiotics, liver supporting detoxifiers and B vitamins, which can be depleted when drinking alcohol. Whatever your choice for rehydrating yourself after a night of heavy drinking, know that these choices can go a long way in helping to relieve your hangover pain.

Stay Away From Junk Food

A good rule of thumb is to stick to food with a high level of nutrition. Don’t fill your stomach with potato chips, candy bars and donuts as this will take up space that could have been filled with useful nutrition. It’s common to hear old wives tales about heavy junk food being a steadfast “hangover cure.” This is simply not the case and these are the worst type of foods for a hangover. Eating half of a cold cheese pizza might make you feel better simply because it forces you to take a nap and sleep deprivation makes hangovers way worse. We’ll define junk food as being comprised mostly of highly refined carbohydrates with little to no protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, etc.

Best Foods For A Hangover

Your best bet is to simply eat nutritious food that is good for you. Avoid “filler” food that is high in starchy carbohydrates like bread or potatoes. Instead, aim for food high in healthy fats, complete protein, and fibrous vegetables. Some of the best foods for a hangover include:

  • Eggs
  • Grass Fed Beef
  • Salmon
  • Grass Fed Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocados
  • Ginger
  • Cashews
  • Bananas
  • Leafy Greens
  • Kimchi/Sauerkraut

The incredible edible egg is one of your greatest allies in your next day hangover recovery. Eggs contain amino acids like cysteine and taurine, which help the liver to breakdown ethanol and its byproduct acetaldehyde. Eating healthy proteins and fats like grass-fed beef, grass-fed butter, salmon and avocados also help relieve nausea and headaches. Ginger is also a great solution for curing an upset stomach. Ginger root can be eaten or drunk in a tea. Kimchi and sauerkraut are also great foods to consume the morning after drinking, because they help to replenish your body with salt and water. They also contain succinic acid, which also helps to accelerate the decomposition of acetaldehyde in the liver.

These foods will provide your body with the building blocks it needs to combat your hangover. The underlying logic is simple. Hangovers are caused by acetaldehyde, so give your body what it needs to break down acetaldehyde.

Prevention is Your Best Bet

In closing, we’ll point out that preventing a hangover is always more effective than treating it after the fact. In the future, try to apply some hacks that will help you pace your intake. For example, setting a rule that you must drink 1 glass of water between every drink. This will usually reduce your overall intake by 50%. Also, be sure to eat a full meal of healthy protein and fats before you start drinking. This will cause a large percentage of the alcohol to be neutralized in the stomach before it enters the bloodstream. We hope you had a good time last night, and found this guide of the best and worst foods for a hangover useful. Remember to always be safe and drink responsibly.

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Kyle Doran

Kyle Doran

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Kyle Doran is a freelance writer for Intelligent Drinking. He lives in Denver, Colorado and enjoys an active lifestyle that involves healthy nutrition and fitness."

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