If you’ve ever had one too many alcoholic drinks, you probably know the feeling of waking up the next day with a hangover. This condition, which is usually accompanied by headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, shakiness and other unpleasant symptoms, can affect your mood, performance at work and interactions with others.
The most reliable way to avoid a hangover is to avoid drinking or to drink in moderation. However, if you do get a hangover, you’ll probably want to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
Hangovers often go away on their own within about 24 hours. But, you can also try eating specific foods to speed up the process or help yourself feel better in the meantime. The following are some of the healthier food options you can choose when you want to recover quickly from a hangover.
One breakfast food that may help you feel better is eggs. Eggs contain vital amounts of cysteine, a crucial amino acid that can attack the toxins that create the hangover. These morning classics are a reliable source of protein, are ideal for your eyes and may even help reduce the symptoms of your hangover.
Eating soft, dry foods like toast or bread can often help you boost your blood sugar. Adding these bland items to your diet can also further help settle an upset stomach, which is one typical symptom of a hangover.
Like toast, crackers are dry and bland, so they’ll also help limit any nausea you might feel. Avoid crackers with too much salt or too many flavorings, though; those might irritate your stomach. Instead, stick to plain crackers with little or no salt.
Bouillon soup is a heavy broth that can contain chunks of meat, potatoes and vegetables to add flavor and substance. This type of soup can help replace some of the salt and potassium that you lost from a night of drinking. Many people find that it’s also easy on an upset stomach.
Foods that contain fructose, like honey, are often helpful to eat when you’re recovering from a hangover. Fructose can affect your blood sugar levels, which may help you feel better.
Just like honey, fruit juice contains a notable amount of fructose that may assist your body in getting rid of your hangover. Try natural juices without sweeteners. Fruit has plenty of fructose to help you feel better. If you find it hard to swallow fluids, try eating some whole fruits instead.
It may not be food, but water is one of the most critical things you can consume to beat a hangover. Drink lots of water as soon as you wake up in the morning to prevent dehydration and to feel better faster. If you’re really looking to replenish those fluids and missing electrolytes from your body, turn things up a notch with a high-quality sports drink.
Though studies are still being conducted, preliminary results show that extract from the skin of the prickly pear cactus may help relieve some of the symptoms of a hangover. The cactus extract may relieve symptoms like nausea, dry mouth and appetite loss. It may also reduce the levels of a specific protein linked with heart disease.
Eating tomato-based foods like soups or pastas or drinking tomato juice can help replenish vitamin C your body lost after a night of drinks. Some people also enjoy the rich taste of tomatoes while they’re hungover, which is why Bloody Mary cocktails have become a classic brunch drink. But, keep in mind that a Bloody Mary isn’t a recommended hangover cure. Stick to plain tomato juice — and the celery garnish, if you want.
Beef or Chicken Noodle Soup
It works when you’re sick with a cold or the flu, and it also works when you’re hungover. Like the recommended bouillon soup, a soothing bowl of this classic comfort food is just the ticket to a faster recovery. It’s easy on your stomach and replenishes lost nutrients from the night before.
“Influence of food commodities on hangover based on alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase activities,” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health
“Interventions for preventing or treating alcohol hangover: systematic review of randomised controlled trials,” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health
“Natural Products for the Prevention and Treatment of Hangover and Alcohol Use Disorder,” National Library of Medicine