Best Hangover Food—Your Health Guide to What to Eat When You Are Hangover


  • Hangovers are negative symptoms that occur in the body after a night of heavy drinking.
  • Symptoms of hangovers include headaches, nausea, thirst, fatigue, muscle weakness, and stomach pain.
  • Hangover foods should focus on hydrating, replenishing electrolytes, and decreasing inflammation.

There are various factors that make the best hangover food. These include water, electrolytes, sodium content, and amino acids. Many can relate to feeling hung over after a night of drinking. Whether it is a headache, acid reflux, or a craving for carbs, the symptoms of a hangover may vary. In general, alcohol should be consumed in moderation. This should be done in order to protect your liver and your overall health. However, hangovers may happen. Their frequency and severity depends on how much you drink and the types of drinks you have.  Your age, sex, and exercise levels also matter. Today we are going to talk about what to eat when you are hungover. These will help you get through those uncomfortable mornings.

What Does a Hangover Look Like?

Hangovers can be defined as mental and physical symptoms. They are experienced after  excessive alcohol consumption. Hangover symptoms may be slightly different among different people. However, some of the more commonly recognized hangover symptoms include: headache, increased blood pressure, and muscle aches or weakness. You may also experience thirst, nausea, dizziness, stomach pain, and fatigue. Some also reported having depression, anxiety, or irritability. Approximately 12% of men and 22% of women reported experiencing a hangover. This is usually following a night of binge drinking. Age, sex, race, consumed food, and exercise can all impact alcohol metabolism. 

Out of all of them, fatigue and thirst are the most commonly cited signs of a hangover. Dehydration is an important factor that leads to the discomfort experienced during a hangover. This is because the alcohol consumed increases the need to pee. It also decreases how much the body releases vasopressin. This is a hormone that helps balance bodily fluids. Hangovers can begin during the night of drinking. This emphasizes the importance of hydration and food consumption. Make sure to do this even before you are done consuming alcohol.

What Do I Need to Know About Hangovers?

As a general rule, your body needs one hour in order to fully metabolize one alcoholic beverage. The amount of alcohol that will end with a hangover may vary. It also depends on  whether you are drinking beer, wine, or hard seltzer. Your hangover may be different whether you drink malt liquor or hard liquor.  This is because alcohol content varies across different types of alcohol. 

Alcohol metabolism, or the breakdown of alcohol, occurs in the liver. After a night of heavy drinking, you are vulnerable to experience a hangover. This is because alcohol consumption decreases hydration. This can then lead to electrolyte imbalance and increased inflammation. Electrolytes are minerals like sodium, calcium, and potassium. They are needed by your body to function properly. 

Increased peeing may also occur as a result of heavy drinking. This eliminates high levels of these essential electrolytes. Symptoms of hangover often result from the body’s increased level of inflammation. This is particularly evident in the stomach. This occurs as it takes care of alcohol metabolism.

What Can I Do About Avoiding a Hangover?

You are probably wondering what you can do to help a hangover once it has already begun. Let’s look at a few preventative tips for avoiding a hangover in the first place. The best way to prevent a hangover is to limit drinking. Make sure to consume alcohol in moderation

Some research also suggests drinking pear juice, ginseng, and dandelion juice before drinking alcohol. They may be helpful in preventing hangover symptoms. Focus on drinking water throughout the night. 

We also suggest getting carbohydrates into your system. For example, having a big dinner of noodles before drinking will help your body absorb more of the alcohol. 

Finally, alcohol impacts your sleep. Therefore, make sure to get enough rest before and after drinking. While hangovers are common, there are important foods that you should know about. These will help you combat the symptoms of a hangover. 

What Food and Beverages are Good for a Hangover?

Water

First of all, water is going to be the most important item to consume. This is true to both prevent and treat your hangover.  This is because dehydration is so central to hangover symptoms.  Hydration  is also crucial to how well your body functions.

Electrolyte Drinks

Consuming electrolyte-enhanced drinks can help you recover faster. It speeds up the process of replacing lost electrolytes from the night before. Drinking beverages like coconut water can serve as a natural source of electrolytes as well. It is helpful if you are focusing on rehydrating your body. Also, drinks high in sodium content could aid in retention of electrolytes. This includes tomato juice and pickle juice. 

Eggs

Eggs are a breakfast staple. Did you know that it can also be a beneficial hangover food? This is due to the amino acids and protein they contain. Eggs have  cysteine, which helps process chemicals found in alcohol. It also contains taurine, which helps with liver functioning. You may be craving greasy foods when hungover. However, keep in mind that the butter you use to make eggs is not what will help most.

Fruit and Fruit Juice

Some research has shown that drinking juice or consuming fruit can help you with your hangover. It can decrease the discomfort due to their fructose content. In fruits, naturally occurring sugars combine with high water content. This makes mangoes, grapes, pears, and watermelon great snacks to help relieve hangover symptoms.

Ginger

Ginger can have anti-nausea benefits. This can be helpful to avoid the symptom of throwing up. Certain metabolites are the result of digestion. They are believed to calm an upset stomach. It does this by influencing the tone of the digestive tract. Try adding ginger to a smoothie combined with delicious fruit. We also suggest having ginger-based tea.

Bananas and Dates

Both bananas and dates serve as excellent sources of potassium. This is one of the essential electrolytes  eliminated from the body during a night of drinking. In addition, bananas are a good way to replenish carbohydrates and sugar. They will help absorb and process the alcohol left over in your system. Dates come with anti-inflammatory effects in addition to vitamins. These will help regulate the digestion of other important fats and proteins.

Bland Foods

Foods that may be considered “bland” include bananas, rice, noodles, and toast. They may help settle your upset stomach. Keeping your diet a bit more bland than usual the day after heavy drinking can help. We also recommend avoiding greasy foods. These allow our body to focus on digesting and eliminating the residual chemicals. These may be left over from the alcoholic beverages.

Hangovers are common after a night of heavy drinking. Of course, the healthiest option is to consume alcohol  in moderation. Symptoms of hangovers include headaches, nausea, thirst, fatigue, muscle weakness, and stomach pain. In order to reduce the impact of a hangover, you need to focus on how alcohol consumption impacts different factors. These include hydration, electrolytes, and inflammation. This guide offers important information about hangovers in general. It also includes helpful hints about what to eat when you are hungover. By remembering the best hangover food, you will set yourself up for success. Next time you are planning a night of drinking, what hangover cure food will you stock up on beforehand? 

Summary

The current article discusses the best foods to cure a hangover. We start by defining what a hangover is. We may also find out what can be done to prevent it. Finally, we go on to discuss the best hangover food. Focusing on hydration, inflammation reduction, and electrolyte retention are key. They will help get the right foods in your system after a heavy night of drinking. Alcohol affects  everyone differently. However, learning more about these foods are important tools to have on hand. It will help replenish your body when experiencing symptoms of a hangover.

Scientific Information

  • Amino acids – The building blocks of proteins that help the body to grow, repair tissue, and break down food.
  • Electrolyte – Essential minerals that contribute to various bodily functions; common electrolytes include potassium, calcium, and sodium.
  • Fructose – A type of sugar that primarily is found in fruits, making them naturally sweet.
  • Metabolize  The body’s process of turning food into energy and waste.
Written by:

Eleanor Beale, MA

Clinical Psychology

Reviewed by:
Registered Dietitian
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