- Business Insider spoke to nutritionist Geeta Sidhu-Robb about the best food and drink to consume on a hangover.
- Ginger tea and tomato juice are best for settling the stomach.
- Foods high in healthy fats like eggs, avocado, are best to eat on a hangover.
- Dairy, acidic or greasy foods and drinks are best avoided.
Christmas party season is in full swing. There’s a downside to all this fun, of course – and it’s that horrible feeling the morning after the night before. That third bottle of fizz, fifth tequila, and early morning fried chicken stop-off all begin to curdle into one giant knot of regret, nausea, and sometimes the blues.
Fortunately, help is at hand. To get you through the inevitable hangover, Business Insider spoke to nutritionist and all-round healthy eating guru Geeta Sidhu-Robb, founder of Nosh Detox, about the best foods to eat to make yourself feel mentally and physically better after a night on the booze.
Using Sidhu-Robb’s expertise we have created a step-by-step guide of everything you should eat and drink – and what time of day to have it – while dealing with a hangover, even if you’re headed back into the office.
7:30 a.m. – Wake up, have two glasses of water.
It’s not rocket science – obviously hydration is key here, but why not measure your water intake by factoring in a couple of glasses of water at a time throughout the day? This will ensure you get your eight plus glasses of H20 on a day you really need it.
8 a.m. – Drink a ginger tea with honey.
Swap out your morning coffee for a ginger tea with a dollop of honey. Sidhu-Robb said: “As caffeine is a diuretic which will make you even more dehydrated, it can make your headache even worse. Like alcohol, caffeine narrows blood vessels, which increases blood pressure and makes your head hurt.
“Ginger is an effective way to settle an upset stomach. Sweetening your tea with honey will also ease a hangover as the fructose in honey will help your body metabolise any alcohol still in your system.”
8:30 a.m. – Breakfast of either a mushroom omelette (without the cheese) or poached eggs and mushrooms on toast.
According to Sidhu-Robb, breakfast foods such as oats, eggs, and toast, are generally the best at providing bursts of energy through hangovers that can make you feel better.
“Eggs provide energy and they also contain significant amounts of cysteine which breaks down the hangover-causing toxin acetaldehyde, the chemical that’s left over when the liver breaks down ethanol. Mushrooms are also great on a hangover as they’re a brilliant source of selenium, which is due to their antioxidant powers.”
Porridge is another sensible option, but if you’re already feeling queasy, the texture might not seem that appealing first thing.
Dairy should be avoided at all costs, explained Sidhu-Robb, along with milk-based products that are already difficult to digest under normal conditions.
“Eating cheese or other dairy products as a snack while drinking or after drinking could potentially cause indigestion, heartburn, and worsen hangovers,” she added.
Have tomato juice with breakfast.
Drinking tomato juice is a great way to settle an uneasy stomach, hence why bloody mary’s are so popular to those suffering. Sidhu-Robb recommended the virgin variety, though.
“The glucose in tomato juice will help to get your sugar levels back up to normal, helping you to avoid fatigue, weakness, and bad moods. It’s a great alternative to pasteurised orange juice and other citrus juices that can irritate your sensitive stomach and make you feel even sicker.”
10 a.m. – Have two more glasses of water and a banana.
Bananas are gentle on the stomach and also good for keeping up your blood sugars. Strikingly coloured foods are rich in important electrolytes, especially potassium. They also contain B vitamins and mood-boosting carbohydrates, which can help to fight off the depressive effects of alcohol.
12 p.m. – A lunch of sushi and a miso soup.
Eating greasy or heavy carbs may provide an initial energy boost, but it will lead to a crash shortly after. So instead of chips, pasta, a pizza slice, or your usual shop-bought sandwich, opt for sushi and a miso soup.
Sushi might seem like an unusual choice – lots of people avoid fish at all costs on a hangover – but the omega-3 fatty acids in the oily fish and absorbent rice are just what you need.
“Eating high healthy fats in general are great for a hangover,” she said. “While the salt in the miso soup will rehydrate and replenish the body’s sodium levels.”
Have coconut water with lunch.
- Wikimedia Commons/Crisco_1492
Coconut water can also help to restock the body’s sodium levels after a night of boozing, according to Sidhu-Robb.
2:30 p.m. – Drink a green smoothie.
- Joanna Slodownik/Flickr
Now your tummy should be more settled, and it’s time for a huge injection of vitamins by way of a smoothie. The thick texture should be easier to manage by this point in the day.
A smoothie can help to satisfy sugar cravings, so it’s a good alternative to reaching for chocolate.
“Try to resist your cravings and avoid sugary foods and drinks, as more sugar will only add to your imbalance,” Sidhu-Robb said. “Instead, get your sweet fix through natural fruit juices and smoothies which release energy more slowly.”
The ingredients you need for the smoothie are leafy greens like kale, chard, and spinach for immediate relief and energy. You could even chuck another half a banana in there and a dash of honey for sweetness.
“Spinach is full of folic acid, vitamin C, and sulphur – all nutrients heralded for warding off those hangover symptoms.”
4 p.m. – Have two more glasses of water and a slice of brown toast (with or without avocado).
You can also opt to pair your toast with mashed avocado. Like sushi, the good fats in avocados are great while your body is digesting alcohol, and jazzing it up with chilli will spark your liver and gall bladder into action.
7 p.m. – Finally, it’s dinner time. Reward your efforts with a burger, sweet potato fries, and two more glasses of water.
- flickr/Jeff Sandquist
You’ve made it through the day and bed is in the near future, so it’s time to reward your efforts.
The good news is that you can still end your hangover with a takeaway, if you want to. Lean protein will make you feel full and level out blood sugars, while the red meat also provides a good dose of iron – just try to leave out the cheese. Have it with a side of sweet potato fries, preferably baked.
Sweet potatoes contain unrefined carbs which are broken down gradually, which will avoid a blood sugar spike. They also contain B vitamins and fibre, and you won’t feel too stodgy afterwards.
If this all seems like too much to stomach, there are other options.
Before her hangover has even taken its grip, Sidhu-Robb said that her own secret weapon is a homeopathic remedy called Nux Vomica. She takes one pill at night and one the morning after which she says calms an acidic tummy.
If you’ve got a bit more cash to splash, IV vitamin drips are extreme answers to dealing with hangovers to those that can afford them. They boost blood levels by vitamin drip nutrients directly – but prices for the Nosh Detox IV vitamin drip start from £127.