- It’s not easy knowing what to eat when you’re hungover.
- Greasy food can make your hangover symptoms worse.
- Salty foods can be fine, but remember to rehydrate.
- Do not drink more to “cure” a hangover.
Being hungover can sometimes feel synonymous with being hungry. Your head is pounding like you hit it on a cement roof the night before, your joints ache, your throat and mouth are dry and your stomach may be churning a little. But before you reach for the extra large pizza you ordered last night but passed out right before you could dig into a slice, know that giving into cravings can worsen, rather than relieve a hangover. We asked medical experts for their advice on what foods you should avoid when you wake up with a painful hangover.
Say goodbye to greasy cures.
“Everything you thought you knew about curing a hangover might be wrong,” Ali Tager, nutritionist and health coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, told INSIDER. “Indulging in greasy food is actually the worst thing you can do for your body. Alcohol is broken down via the same metabolic pathway as fat, so while your body is breaking down those margaritas you threw back last night, it will have to put that greasy food to the side.”
So while that hangover sandwich wrapped in bacon and melty cheese from your nearby deli may seem tempting, your body will technically be storing the fats for later because it cannot digest both the greasy food and alcohol at the same time, leaving you feeling bad for longer.
Salty food, however, is fine, as it should hopefully encourage you to drink more water and rehydrate quicker.
“Craving salt may result from being dehydrated,” nutritionist Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RDN, told INSIDER. “Alcohol is very dehydrating – it removes more fluid from the body than it supplies in the drink -, and when your body sheds fluids, you can lose electrolytes, including sodium, along with that fluid.)”
Don’t overdo it with the protein.
“Additionally, be wary of the protein to carb ratio of your meal,” Tager said. “Your blood sugar might be low from over consuming alcohol, so ensure that your meal includes a healthy balance of carbs and protein to keep it steady.”
Oatmeal, congee and other easy-to-digest, unprocessed carb-centric meals are your friends right now. For a heartier meal, Tager recommends eating a lean protein like chicken or turkey with complex carbs like sweet potato, quinoa or brown rice.
Coffee and orange juice may also be your enemies.
Morning beverages, beware, orange juice and coffee can be harmful to hangovers.
“You also want to avoid citrus since it’s harsh on your stomach,” Tager said. She doesn’t see a problem with drinking caffeine, as long as you stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, but others warn against caffeine consumption after a long night out.
“Caffeine is a diuretic and will deplete you of water and hydration that is necessary for [curing] hangovers,” said clinical nutritionist and Bonafide Provisions founder Sharon Brown. Hangovers can often cause an upset stomach and dehydration can make those symptoms even worse.
And definitely don’t drink more.
The cutely named hair of the dog cure, i.e. ordering a Bloody Mary to relieve symptoms from a pounding head, is not a cure at all. Nutritionists and doctors agree, that even though having a drink may temporarily relieve symptoms, it will leave you feeling worse than if you just rehydrated and stayed healthy for, well, at least a day.
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