As lockdown restrictions are set to finish on June 21, many will be making the most of summer 2021. With pubs, clubs, and restaurants fully reopening to the masses, some of us might take the boozing too far, with a nationwide hangover expected the morning after.
To get some expert advice into the topic, we questioned Dr Harriet Holme (registered nutritionist and founder of Healthy Eating Dr), Dominique Woolf (food writer and founder of The Woolf’s Kitchen), and Fareeha Jay (registered dietician) about the best dishes and ingredients to choose if you are nursing a hangover, as well as noting any specific to avoid. Read on to find out more…
Nutrients and Ingredients
Fareeha commented that “no ingredients, nutrients and foods can magically cure a hangover though choosing the right foods may aid to make you feel better”.
Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium
Fareeha shared that “diarrhoea, vomiting, and excessive urination can also cause your body to lose electrolytes. This imbalance of electrolytes can cause headaches and muscle weakness. Therefore, all the above-mentioned electrolytes need to be added in the diet”.
Antioxidants and healthy fats
Fareeha noted that “alcohol can irritate the stomach and intestines, causing inflammation of the stomach lining, so a diet with antioxidants and healthy fats will have an anti-inflammatory affect”.
Fareeha added that “there is some evidence to suggest that vitamin B6 can help avoid a hangover headache. Food’s rich in vitamin B6 may be taken before or after you drink”.
Fareeha told us that “alcohol has sedative effects that can promote sleep onset, but it disrupts the normal circadian rhythm inducing a jet lag and fatigue is experienced during a hangover. Nothing much can be done about it though if experiencing sleep problems in the next couple of days including tryptophan in the diet can be helpful”.
Dr Holme added that “few of the treatments commonly described for hangover have undergone scientific evaluation, however there is limited evidence to support the benefit of complex carbohydrates and foods containing fructose with regards the symptoms of a hangover”.
Dominique mentioned that “carbohydrates are important in helping refuel the body. However, try to resist having greasy food like a fry up, burger, pizza or take away curry as it will overload the system. If possible, aim for complex carbs mixed with protein”.
Fareeha concluded that “poor nutritional intake coupled with alcohol consumption may induce hypoglycaemia (low sugar levels) for some. Including any type of starchy carbohydrate after a drink or before bed can prevent from getting low sugar levels”.
Dominique added that “caffeine can also help make you feel more awake, especially if you need to function the next day. As it’s now summer, you could try an iced coffee. Blend your coffee with half the amount of milk (dairy or plant based) and a handful of ice until frothy. If you’re not a coffee fan, then perhaps have a large mug of green tea instead.
Fresh fruit and vegetables
Dr Holme caveats that there is “no evidence that specific foods will help in these circumstances”, but notes that “foods containing fructose, such as fruit and fruit juice have been associated with decreased hangover intensity”.
Dominique suggested trying “fresh fruit and vegetable juice mixes for the fluids and hits of vitamin. Try apple, orange, ginger and carrot”. Also, “bananas are particularly good as they contain potassium, an electrolyte you deplete when you drink alcohol”, and “tomatoes are nutritious and contain compounds which help with liver damage”.
Dominique explained that “ginger is known as a treatment for nausea and could definitely help any feelings of nausea associated with a hangover. Try fresh ginger tea – grated ginger, plus honey and a squeeze of lemon and hot water – or have it in a freshly pressed juice, or as a shot.
Dominique advises to “drink plenty of fluids. Make sure you drink a couple of large glasses of water as a starting point, and throughout the day”.
Fareeha added that “alcohol causes the body to increase urinary output. Fluid loss is caused because of sweating, vomiting, and diarrhoea. All these factors can cause dehydration followed by dizziness, light headedness, and weakness. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have lots of fluid”.
If you are really struggling with dehydration, try adding oral rehydration salts into your water for extra electrolytes.
With this advice in mind, the experts suggested 40 tasty dishes to ‘cure’ your hangover this summer:
Breakfast / brunch
1) smashed avocado on toasted brown bread with a poached egg
2) wholegrain toast with nut butter and sliced banana
3) whole-grain muffins with poached eggs
4) porridge with fruit and a dollop of nut butter
5) oats with almond milk, chia seeds blueberries and honey
6) muesli yogurt bowl with a chopped banana
7) blueberries and banana French toast
8) mushrooms with cheese on toast
9) smoked salmon with whole meal bread
Lunch / dinner
11) jacket potato with tuna and green leafy vegetables
12) sweet potato with baked beans and spinach
13) Bouillon soup (vegetables soup)
14) brown rice with poached salmon and spring greens
15) tofu with brown rice, peas, and peanuts
16) rice salad with peas topped with cashews
17) bulgur wheat salad with halloumi
18) wholegrain pasta with vegetable sauce
19) wholemeal spaghetti Bolognese with red and green peppers
20) lentil lasagne with vegetables
21) stir fry tofu with a combination of vegetables like broccoli and sweetcorn
22) chickpea and spinach curry with brown rice
23) mild vegetable curry with brown rice or wholegrain naan
24) homemade chicken fajitas with tomato salsa and guacamole
25) chicken ramen or pho
26) smoked paprika and chickpea stew
27) red lentil dhal
28) hummus with vegetable sticks
29) wholegrain crackers or brown bread with nut butter
30) handful of nuts
31) apple slices with nut butter
32) banana dipped in melted dark chocolate topped with finely chopped nuts
33) homemade sugar free granola bars
34) sugar free wholewheat banana bread
35) Virgin Mary
36) smoothie with spinach, banana, milk, peanut butter, and ice
37) iced coffee
38) ginger tea with lemon and honey
39) glass of milk
40) fruit juice
If you have a hangover, focus on having light meals and increased water intake. When it comes to foods to avoid, remember that greasy, spicy, and high fat foods can further irritate the lining of your stomach.
Also, it’s worth remembering that drinks that contain congeners (which are small biologically active compounds, found in drinks such as whiskey, red wine, and brandy) are more likely to give you a hangover than drinks that are more ethanol (like vodka and gin).
We hope these ‘cure’ ideas will help if you’ve had a boozy night but remember that prevention is always easier, so potentially skip that last pint or gin and tonic if you’re already feeling a little tipsy! If you’re looking for more culinary inspiration, check out our range of delicious food hampers.
Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. Virginia Hayward are not liable or responsible for the accuracy of the advice provided by third party experts, nor for the content or operation of any third-party websites, webpages, or resources which have been linked to within this article.