When you wake up nauseated with a pounding headache and hazy memories of the night before, one of two scenarios is likely:
- You’re Jason Bourne.
- You’re hungover.
Hangovers happen when you overindulge, and all that booze can cause a Who’s Who of nasty symptoms. Everything from dizziness and dehydration to photosensitivity and fatigue.
While there’s no cure for a hangover, there are certain foods and drinks you can consume before, during, and after a night out to reduce the severity of your symptoms (and spend less time feeling like the walking dead).
Food To Eat Before Going Out
You know the old saying, “You are what you eat?” The same is true, at least in part, of hangovers. The foods you chow down before going out can affect how your body handles liquor. Refined carbs, salty snacks, and sugary anything, will turn your hangover from Bruce Banner into The Incredible Hulk faster than you can say “OMG, Why is everybody in this library shouting?!”
Fortunately, other foods have the opposite effect. Alcohol is a toxin. The best food for hangover symptoms, therefore, is one that helps your body’s natural detoxifying processes take care of business. Eat well before all those $3 You-Call-Its, and you may spend less time tomorrow languishing in a darkened living room.
Vitamin B Vegetables
Your body needs B vitamins to give alcohol and other toxins the boot. Run low on B vitamins, and your liver and pancreas both sound the alarm. The result? You feel tired, dizzy, and unable to remember what happened the night before. Yikes!
To help your liver detox and show your pancreas the support it deserves, fill your plate with the following vegetables, each of which is high in B vitamins:
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Brussel sprouts
- Dark, leafy greens such as spinach, romaine lettuce, turnip greens, and collard greens
Fruits are another simple (and portable!) way to minimize hangover symptoms. Those that contain a lot of water can help you stay hydrated, while those packed full of potassium help preserve your body’s electrolyte balance.
Some fruits do both. Show-offs. Here are four potassium-rich fruits that also make the Dean’s list for their superior water content:
Not to spoil your next Happy Hour, but one of the gnarlier side effects of a hangover is inflammation in the brain, which is a scarier way of saying “worst headache in the history of both heads and aches.” To reduce swelling, try snacking on some salmon before you imbibe. Salmon is full of inflammation-reducing omega-3 fatty acids.
Salmon’s benefits don’t stop there. It’s also high in protein. Research suggests this may lead to slower alcohol absorption as you polish off another round of 2-for-1 margaritas.
Sometimes, you don’t have 45 minutes to expertly roast salmon filets on a cedar plank before Karaoke Night. We get it. Fortunately, a bowl of fiber-rich cereal is also a wise pre-gaming plan. Oats are one of the best things you can eat before drinking.
Like most types of fiber, oats make you feel full. This increases your odds of turning down that sixth IPA, thereby reducing your potential hangover symptoms.
Oats are also your liver’s BFF. Studies show that oats can enhance liver function and prevent liver damage explicitly caused by drinking.
During Your Night Out
Depending on your plans, it may not be practical to line your pockets with smoked salmon or stash a watermelon in your purse. While you’re out drinking, you need to play defense.
Hydration is Key
Arguably one of the greatest injustices in the History of Having Fun is that drinking large quantities of alcohol will severely dehydrate you. Shouldn’t all those Long Island Iced Teas hydrate you? After all, they’re tea…sort of.
Drink recipes notwithstanding, alcohol makes you urinate more frequently. This leads to dehydration, and dehydration can make you feel thirsty, dizzy, nauseous, and generally “out of it.” For this reason, it’s always smart to chase every earthy Pinot Noir with a refreshing glass of water. Any vintage will do.
Add Polisorb to one of those glasses of water, and your hangover defense approaches legendary status. Think the ’85 Bears but for your liver.
Polisorb can prevent the worst hangover symptoms by helping your body flush toxins before they can cause your hangover. Polisorb works like a magnet as it moves through your system, ushering out irritants while never being absorbed itself, making it a gentle and efficient way to shrink your hangover symptoms.
Avoid a Hangover? Yes Please! Shop Hangover Recovery to Help Minimize Downtime.
What to Eat After Drinking
The foods you eat following a night of partying are just as important as how you pre-game. Some foods can prolong or intensify symptoms. Others can help expedite your hangover and make it less horrendous. Here’s what to eat when hungover:
In addition to being high in protein, eggs are chock-full of cysteine. Cysteine is an amino acid that makes an antioxidant called glutathione. Glutathione helps your body bust up all the pollutants created when your body metabolizes booze. In short, more eggs in your hungover tummy means more glutathione being churned out to help your body banish the toxins that are making you feel terrible.
Have one too many cocktails, and you may find yourself with a seriously upset stomach in the morning. Enter ginger. Ginger has long been an easy, natural way to ease nausea.
It’s versatile, too. You can find stomach-soothing ginger in everything, from tea to sugar-free candy! The latter of which has long been a staple for expectant mothers waging war on morning sickness.
Detoxify Herbal Cleanses
Packed with our proprietary blend of cleansing herbs, Detoxify herbal cleanses remove the toxins from your circulatory, urinary and digestive systems. And, our herbal cleanses deliver hydration to your bloodstream faster than water alone. Plus, added vitamins and minerals replenish what your body needs to get back to optimal function.
Smoothies are a quick, delicious way to down a bunch of hangover-fighting foods at once. (Just make sure you don’t cancel them out by tossing a scoop of ice cream or other sources of added sugar into your blender.) For your base, opt for coconut water or Greek yogurt. Then craft a killer smoothie out of your favorite combination of the following:
- Chia seeds
- Peanut butter powder
- Dark, leafy greens
If you’re like most people, when you’re hungover, you want to load up on greasy diner food — burgers, fries, maybe some Moons Over My Hammy. A much better idea is to chow down on carbs that are easy to digest. Crackers, for example, are carbs that your body can break down quickly, which will boost your blood sugar.
Why does your blood sugar matter? Because regulating it is one of your liver’s jobs. If you’re hungover, your liver is too busy putting out that fire to keep your blood sugar from plummeting. When your blood sugar nose-dives, you feel tired and weak.
To stave off that crash, opt for healthy carbs such as:
- Whole wheat toast, which would go great with those eggs
- Buckwheat and quinoa, two powerhouse grains
- Sweet potatoes, which are also full of potassium and vitamins A and C
- Chickpeas, which are also rich in iron and B vitamins
- Fruit, including blueberries, grapefruit, oranges, and bananas
A hangover is your body’s natural response to overindulgence. Or, more to the point, you can’t pour a case of Natty Light into your system and not expect your insides to fight back. Instead of wasting another sun-drenched Sunday in a blanket cave watching Parks and Rec for the 400th time, plan ahead. Eat and drink wisely before, during, and after a night out, and you can reduce the severity and duration of your worst hangover symptoms.