Whether it’s New Year’s Eve or St. Patrick’s Day, there are certain days where it seems like alcohol is everywhere, which likely also means that a hangover is close on its heels. You may even be taking a sip now as you glance at this post on your smartphone…;) Of course, moderation is always a good way to go, but sometimes it’s easy to get swept up in the momentum of things and lose track of how much we’re consuming. So here is some helpful information and tips from our Registered Dietitian on how to nurse yourself back to 100% after a night of drinking: Consuming alcohol depletes your body of hydration, key nutrients, and antioxidants, so restoring these after a big night of drinking is key in helping you cure a hangover. Your liver is stressed from the job of detoxifying the alcohol and your stomach may be irritated, so the best post-drinking meals include anti-inflammatory, soothing foods. In general, to help your body recover, you should stay away from:
- Greasy foods (which will just give you heartburn), caffeine, and sugar.
- Foods that are high in sugar, which just add to the inflammation your body is experiencing from the alcohol.
- Coffee may sound like a good idea but no! If you are a regular coffee drinker, you don’t want to add a caffeine withdrawal headache to your hangover but don’t overdo it. Caffeine is a diuretic, adding to dehydration and a vasoconstrictor that can take your headache to the next level.
Some good foods I recommend to soothe your hangover are below.
1) Coconut Berry Smoothie. Coconut water’s high electrolyte content is great for rehydration, and berries such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are high in antioxidants, which help to neutralize toxins and help protect healthy cells from damage from free radicals, which alcohol generates. Throw in a banana to add texture to your smoothie as well as potassium, which helps with weak shaky muscles.
2) Grilled asparagus. Cook up a side of asparagus with your breakfast and you’ll be glad you did. Asparagus contains enzymes that are known to help break down and detoxify alcohol. For some extra flavor, add in some heart-healthy garlic to your dish!
3) Healthy Holiday Quinoa Bake (gluten-free, dairy-free). This is a festive dish to make for your holiday meal AND to eat as breakfast the day after. Eggs are a great hangover food that contain the essential amino acids cysteine and taurine that help the liver detoxify. Quinoa is a high protein grain that helps replace lost amino acids. Check out the recipe here.
4) Quick Mexican-Style Pumpkin Chili (gluten-free, dairy-free). This chili recipe is full of tomatoes, which are high in lycopene and vitamin C, both of which quell inflammation (this recipe is way better than the tomato from a Bloody Mary). The turkey contains the amino acid cysteine which helps the liver detoxify.
5) Miso Soup with Chicken Broth. Traditional miso soup is made with a base of seaweed and dried seafood, but I recommend using chicken broth instead. Just whisk in a few tablespoons of miso paste into your heated broth and add some chopped scallions and tofu. The chicken broth is high in sodium, helping you restore water levels. Chicken, like eggs and turkey, also contains the amino acid cysteine which helps detoxify the liver. The fermentation of the miso can also aid in digestion, making this soup an easy-to-digest and soothing hangover cure.
Lea Basch is a registered dietitian and has been in the nutrition industry for over 30 years, most of which she spent at Longmont United Hospital in Boulder, Colorado, where she was one of the founders of the facility’s nutrition program. Longmont’s Planetree philosophy of caring for the body, mind and spirit of patients is very much in line with Lea’s interest in both traditional and alternative therapies for treating chronic illnesses. Gluten-intolerant herself, Lea now focuses much of her time on the latest research and issues relating to gluten-free diets and other food intolerances. She is a diabetes educator and is a Registered Dietitian with the American Dietetic Association. Lea’s lifelong passion has been combining the science of nutrition with the heart that it takes to change lifelong habits. Lea received her BS and MS in Nutrition and Dietetics at Florida International University and BA in Education at University of Florida. Ask Lea your nutrition questions at Lea@tastefulpantry.com