We’ve all been there—unless you’re under the age of 21 or don’t drink *respect*—we’ve all experienced the hangover from hell. Symptoms of a doomsday hangover include but are not limited to dry mouth, the spins, prolonged intoxication (depending on when you finally passed out versus woke up), and nausea.
No, I don’t know why we keep punishing ourselves, party after party, or why the hangover—une gueule de bois, la cruda—is a consequence we’re willing to suffer through. Perhaps getting “riggity-wrecked, son” is worth it, especially when humans have come up with innumerable ways to “cure” it. But there is no “cure” to a hangover, only a slow recovery filled with promises never to drink tequila again, regrets from the night before, and food.
Now, if you can manage to keep food down while processing your hangover, you’ll certainly want to choose what you eat wisely—and not for your figure, screw that. Though no food will cure your hangover, the right food will help prevent one and replenish your system to help you recover faster. And let’s face it, a greasy cheeseburger after a night of drinking does taste pretty good.
With that, let’s get into the top 10 foods that will cure (well, help prevent and recover from) a hangover.
Yogurt, preferably vanilla or plain, is a stomach settler. If you’re hurtin’ the day after drinking, a spoonful, or bowlful if you can manage, can help ease an upset stomach, regulate blood sugar, and reduce bloat. The only thing is that yogurt has mixed reviews.
It’s all about how you feel waking up, thinking about putting sloppy white fermented dairy in your mouth. I mean, if you can psychologically come to terms with the benefits of eating yogurt with a hangover, it’ll do you right. But if not, it could end up pretty obscene.
9 Avocado Toast
Why are Millennials obsessed with avocado toast? Mostly because of food trends and because the fat from the guacamole and the carbs from the toast are great for a hangover body. It’s a popular boozy brunch item for a reason. And, unlike the burger, that fat in avocados is really good for you and can help bring some equilibrium to your upset stomach and body in general.
When you drink, you lose potassium. Potassium helps you regulate the fluid in your body, and when you don’t have enough of it, it can lead to dizzy spells, muscle spasms, and general weakness. Avocado has that potassium, girl! It is your hangover superfood, so get to know it well.
Don’t go full guac if you want to play the avocado game safe. The onions, cilantro, and citrus flavor could do the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. Stick with an avocado mash with a bit of salt, olive oil, and a hint of lime.
8 Bloody Marys
The hair of the dog is a gross term that refers to a remedy that involves drinking more to help ease a hangover. Despite your standpoint on tomato juice, a Bloody Mary is a perfect hair of the dog option, which has, in recent years, become a full-blown meal.
The tomato juice, for one, is thick enough to make you full. Two, it is a good source of salt to help your electrolytes catch up and lycopene which is good for your heart. But we really want to talk about Bloody Marys because plenty of restaurants have decidedly gone over the top with edible garnish. It’s no longer a measly stick of celery anymore. You can get shrimp cocktail, bacon, stuffed olives for days! Not to mention that one restaurant in Long Beach, California (The Attic) serves Bloody Marys garnished with a quarter of a waffle, a fried egg, and a slider.
And, you don’t have to stick to vodka as your hair of the dog choice. You can get a Bloody Maria with tequila, a Red Snapper with gin and clamato juice, or go for a Michelada, which is a Mexican-style bloody beer with lime and salt (we suggest Modelo). A warning about tequila, though. Tequila can make a hangover worse because of its congener content. Ask them to go light on the booze.
Sometimes you just don’t want to eat at all with a hangover, but you do have to eat something. When that’s the case, reach for a banana. Bananas are rich in potassium and can help restore fluid balance in your body, as mentioned before. They also contain magnesium, which can relax blood vessels, thereby reducing headaches, and are a source of B6. Vitamin B6 is still not a hangover cure, but it does a great job in reducing symptoms.
You may already be familiar with the B vitamin hangover cure. Again, there is no hangover cure. But B vitamins are an excellent energy source for the body, and the liver loves them. In particular, the liver will use the energy from B1, B2, B3, and B6 to help speed up the detoxification process.
6 Lemon Water
Okay, technically not a food, but definitely something you need to add to your remedy kit. As we know, our liver is a big player in flushing out toxins and is our friend when it comes to processing alcohol. Part of the reason we get hungover is also due to dehydration. Alcohol is a natural diuretic, making our kidneys flush out fluids faster.
Both water and lemon help the liver process alcohol and rehydrate us. Antioxidants found in the lemon peel can stimulate enzymes in the liver, and Vitamin C is good for your immune system in general. It won’t give you a huge amount of antioxidants, but it’ll be enough to help.
Simply slicing a lemon and putting it in your water won’t have the same effect as squeezing fresh lemon juice into your water, though. So give that lemon a good squeeze for maximum effect.
Don’t go trying to cook fish when you’re half in the bag, and probably don’t order a Filet O’ Fish. Instead, eat some salmon before you drink. Salmon is rich in essential fatty acids, but the vitamin that we’re looking at here is B12. A serving of salmon contains about 50% of your daily recommended dose of B12.
When you drink, your B12 levels drop because alcohol can prevent the absorption of the vitamin from food. So pregaming with a food rich in it while free from inhibitors can help maintain those levels through the evening.
Fancy people will tell you to eat your salmon with some asparagus. Research suggests that asparagus helps prevent liver cell damage caused by alcohol. If anything, the study showed that it reduced inflammation in these cells. Sure, this study was conducted on a small scale and with rat cells, but there has to be some benefit that carries over to humans. Otherwise, what would be the point in conducting studies on animals to test the safety for humans?
4 Sweet Potatoes
Another pregaming food, sweet potatoes, has several benefits to them. First, they are more nutritious than white potatoes—although the jury is out on sweet potato fries (fried food is fried food). Second, they can be very filling, and since they help regulate blood sugar, they may prevent any crazy food cravings while you’re drunk. Third, and this was even new to me, sweet potatoes contain electrolytes! So yeah, maybe eat a sweet potato before you go out and after.
Pickles aren’t just for pregnant women anymore; they are for the wasted and hungover. I’m really not too sure how well someone on the brink of throwing up would do with pickles—even pregnant, I had a hard time balancing morning sickness with the craving (yes, I was basic like that)–but the fact is that the salt content can help replenish electrolytes. Pickleback shots are gross, and you’d be missing the point. Just eat a gosh darn pickle.
Yes, we are reaching the end of this list with the almighty cheeseburger! I’m not sure if Impossible burger meat does the same thing, but heck, I’d take my chances. Between the protein and the fat, a cheeseburger will help absorb some of the alcohol in your stomach, so it doesn’t hit you as hard.
However, you should eat the burger before you start drinking, no matter what you think McDonald’s is telling you as you walk by the golden arches. If you eat a burger after drinking, it has the potential to make you sick to your stomach. The grease will only irritate your stomach.
1 Literally Anything
Eat. Before. You. Drink. Period. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bread basket, sushi, or an entire “pizza” from Domino’s. If you have a decent amount of food in your stomach before you start drinking, it’s going to give you a leg up in the game. Definitely go the fatty, salty, greasy route. Here, you’re allowed everything that the American Heart Association cringes at (unless you have an underlying condition). But please, eat something. You’re not 21 anymore. Don’t be an amateur.