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What are good foods for hangovers? It’s a very common question with a not so simple answer.
If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you’ve woken up feeling worse for wear. And naturally, you’re looking for the best food to soften your hangover.
Is it greasy food, fruit, salad, or smoothies?
Look no further because we’ve got you covered!
In this article, we’re going to take a detailed look at good foods for hangovers. To do so, we’ll first go over how alcohol affects your body and specifically your gut.
That will allow us to understand why some foods are better than others for hangovers.
So, with the introductions out of the way, let’s start taking a closer look at good hangover foods.
How does alcohol affect the body?
The science of hangovers isn’t straightforward. In fact, scientists are still debating what the actual causes are.
With that said, they mostly agree that the following all play an important part.
Dehydration: Alcohol is a diuretic which means it makes you pee out water.
Inflammation: Toxic by-products are formed when alcohol is broken down by your liver. They react with your cells causing inflammation.
Reduced sleep quality: Alcohol blocks your brain from reaching the REM stage of sleep which is required to feel fully rested.
In summary, your hangover symptoms can be explained by many different factors. And that’s why you wake up with such terrible hangover symptoms.
Furthermore, drinking too much alcohol has a particularly negative impact on your gut. And some of the worst symptoms of a hangover such as nausea and vomiting are caused by alcohol-related irritation. You can read more about the causes in our article about hangover nausea.
With the science out the way, let’s start taking a closer look at what things to look for when choosing good food for hangovers.
What makes certain food "good" for hangovers?
So what actually makes the best hangover food?
Drinking too much alcohol can make you feel queasy, give you heartburn or feel bloated.
So, good hangover foods should sit well in your stomach, instead of causing more problems. With that said, here are a few things to look out for when deciding what to choose.
Easy to digest
There are some foods that take much longer than others to digest. By this we mean, how long it takes for your stomach to break down food enough so that it can pass into your small intestines where it can be digested even more.
The longer food sits in your stomach, the more chance you have of feeling nauseous and bloated.
That means meat (in particular red meat), salads, and raw vegetables are best avoided. It’s because these foods take hours longer to digest compared to carbohydrate-rich foods.
Soft and moist
Apologies in advance for the heading. We know that some people don’t particularly like the word moist. But when it comes to good hangover foods, it’s something that’s needed.
Chomping away on tough food is not what you need when hungover. Any added effort chewing is going to annoy you pretty quickly and that’s why the foods got to be soft and palatable.
Imagine if someone offered you some dry crackers in the morning when you’re hungover. With a Sahara desert-like dry mouth, I’m sure you’d say no.
High in energy
If you’ve been drinking all night, and on top of that, have been sleeping well into the morning (or afternoon), your sugar levels are going to be low. In fact, it’s well known that drinking in excess can tank your blood glucose.(1)
That’s why you need food that gives you an instant glucose hit. And the best way to get a glucose hit is from carbohydrates. There’s no way eating a raw carrot is going to suffice now, is it?
Tasty and nutritious
Obviously, it’s got to taste good. You need that hit of endorphins as a pick-me-up when hungover. So regardless of how much you may think green juice is the answer to your hangover woes, if you hate the taste it's not going to go down easy.
On that note, good foods for hangovers should be packed with vitamins and minerals that’ll replenish some of what’s lost.
So, now that we know what characteristics to look out for, let’s get straight into our top pick of good foods for a hangover.
The best hangover foods
Before we start this section, it’s important for us to mention that in all honesty, it doesn’t matter that much what you eat. There’s no such thing as a "best hangover food" that’ll magically take away your symptoms.
Also, it all depends on your own personal preference. Some of the foods mentioned below you may not like. And that’s OK!
1) Carb-rich foods
Anything that your stomach can digest easily to give you a glucose hit is arguably one of the best hangover foods. That’s why carbohydrates are great because they are rapidly broken down into glucose and absorbed.
So that means, anything that contains potatoes, rice, pasta, or bread is good food for hangovers. Examples include:
- Tomato pasta
- Egg fried rice
- Patatas bravas
Get the gist?
You can easily make these options into foods that are not so good for hangovers by adding hard-to-digest things like meat and vegetables to them.
There are several fruits that would make it into our top list of good foods for hangovers. Essentially, anything that’s made up of mostly water and very sweet. So, it’s not hard to choose.
We’ll pick out some personal favorites which will rehydrate you as well as provide vitamins and a sugar hit.
You can find out about how some of the vitamins in fruit can help in our article about the best hangover vitamins.
Regardless of whether you’re hungover or not, a nice soup can always make you feel better. But given the fact that this article is about the best hangover foods, soup easily makes it in our list of top choices.
Soup may be the only thing you can eat when hungover anyway. If you’re feeling nauseous, anything solid may just make you feel a lot worse.
And when it comes to choosing which type of soup to eat for a hangover, it doesn’t actually matter. Anything you like the taste of will work.
Soup is also good food for hangovers as it’s a good tester to see how your stomach is doing. It’s the easiest thing to digest because it’s basically liquid and you’ll quickly know if you can move on to something more substantial.
When we say ginger, we don’t mean getting fresh ginger and just munching on it raw. Unless of course, you love ginger, then go for it!
The reason ginger makes it onto the best hangover foods is because it’s a natural anti-nausea remedy. Research studies have shown countless times it works to alleviate nausea and doctors still recommend it first line for pregnant women with morning sickness.(2)
A ginger-based dish or smoothie is ideal!. Gingerbread is also a great option!
Anything else to consider
Hangovers are a sign from your body that you’ve been drinking too much alcohol for your body to handle. If your hangover is severe enough that you have to watch what you eat in case you feel worse, it’s even more of a sign to consider cutting down.
When it comes to hangovers, prevention is key. That means, drinking less, keeping hydrated, and eating before going out. This way, you’re much less likely to need to search for the best hangover foods.
Best food for hangovers – Takeaway points
That brings us to the end of our look into the best foods for a hangover.
We’ve walked you through all the things to look out for if you’re feeling rough in the morning.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference. There’s no particular food that’s going to cure your hangover. The most important thing is choosing foods that you’re able to eat easily without causing you more grief.
Check out our article on the best hangover smoothies for drinks to go with your meal.