So. Your office party “coping strategy” of remaining Tyrion Lannister-grade drunk throughout the evening didn’t quite pan out for you? Huh. In all fairness, you probably secretly knew it wouldn’t, but it did sort of feel good at the time.
Now it doesn’t.
Curing hangovers is a subject surrounded by much folklore and old wives’ tale-itude because it is a pervasive and age-old problem. Some advice people might give you is pointless, and some might even be counterproductive. (Unless you are a serious alcoholic in serious detox, that “hair of the dog” thing is not going to help you, ever. And if you are? Get to the hospital.)
However, there are plenty of foods that do speed the removal of the vice that’s clamped to your head and the incredibly unpleasant sensation in your stomach. Here are some.
If you’ve been drunk enough to provoke a hangover, I guarantee you are dehydrated. Also, your liver is begging you for help. Drinking water, and lots of it, is a crucial element of hangover-slaying. Aim for approximately half your body weight for number of ounces (If you weigh 140 pounds, try to drink 70 ounces of water over the course of the day). YES to lemon and or lime in the water, as they tend to clear out excess acid from the stomach. NO to downing huge amounts of it in the middle of a meal, which can temporarily exacerbate queasiness.
They’re full of really high-quality complete protein—complete meaning containing all essential amino acids. In particular, Cysteine breaks down acetaldehyde, which is the alcohol-metabolism byproduct that is causing your headache, and taurine, which is especially helpful for liver function.
I don’t know why exactly, but my theory of the tomato’s power over hangovers is its high sodium content. It could be lycopene, which is anti-inflammatory—hell, it could be both. But you need salt.
Hydration. Minerals. Easy on the stomach. No Brainer.
The fructose in honey helps your body break down alcohol and its toxic leftovers faster. It also provides a gentle rise in blood sugar (compared with processed sucrose) that will help stabilize you.
I know, it’s so fad-superfoody that it’s annoying, but the truth is, coconut water has a pretty much perfect balance of electrolytes for the human body. You need to replenish sodium, potassium, phosphorus and all the other goodies you are low on. Sports drinks don’t contain the whole profile of electrolytes and personally I don’t think those Day-Glo green and blue hues come from anything that bodes well for your health.
In addition to being great gut-regulators and naturally anti-inflammatory, pears have some magic mojo around speeding the metabolism of alcohol and possibly even lowering absorption (which would make them a good thing to eat before drinking as well). They’ve been shown to be quite useful in clearing acetaldehyde from the body. Acetaldehyde is the reason you feel crappy. You want it gone.
Ginger and/or Peppermint
Tea made from fresh ginger root or peppermint tea (plain old bagged stuff is perfectly fine) can be highly potent digestive aids. They also help with the hydration thing.
Bananas are full of potassium and very calming to the digestive tract.
There. An arsenal of alternatives to a couple of Bloody Marys or ten cups of coffee. As far as what you’re going to say when you see your boss on Monday? Not my department, but you’ll think of something.