We all know that drinking alcohol is not ideal for our health, and yet, sometimes we overindulge – especially around the holidays. The following 10 foods can help you recover from a rough night out and get you feeling, and looking, brighter and better the next morning.
Hangover: 10 Best Hangover Food Cures
1. Beets: Beets are a naturally a rich source of folate and magnesium, which promote new cell growth and healing. They both have been linked to alleviating feelings of depression and can help improve a person’s mood. Additionally, beets are very alkalinizing to the body. This unique chemical property helps the stomach to recover from the highly acidic environment brought on by alcohol.
2. Celery: Celery is very high in potassium, especially in relation to its very low concentration of sodium. This helps flush out sodium from the body which is associated with puffiness and bloating that can occur after drinking and not sleeping well.
This is important if you are hungover because alcohol disrupts sleeping cycles and prevents deep sleep that would make you look and feel rested. Celery is also a natural laxative and helps support kidney and liver functions – both necessary to remove wastes and toxins from the body. The B vitamins in celery also aid in energy metabolism to help you feel energized and awake.
3. Dark Greens: Dark green leafy vegetables, such as collard greens, spinach, and kale, are rich sources of chlorophyll and magnesium, which can ease stress and improve mood. Chlorophyll is also very alkalizing to the body and helps the body detoxify itself from harmful acids caused by alcohol and junk foods that one might have eaten while drinking. These dark greens are also high in iron, which promotes oxygen circulation and blood flow to the brain that can help alleviate headaches and an achy body.
4. Coconut water: Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body, which is thought to be the cause of the irritable and groggy feeling associated with a hangover. Coconut water is rich in hydrating potassium and other electrolytes. Dehydration makes skin look dry, saggy, and tired so it is important to hydrate your skin to help you look and feel brighter and more energized the next morning.
5. Lemon: Lemons contain a compound called limonene that has been used in alternative medicine to relieve heartburn and acid reflux. Despite their status as citrus, lemons are quite alkaline-forming to the body and assist in stabilizing the pH imbalance caused by heavy drinking.
6. Cucumbers: When it comes to hangover aids, cucumbers are practically a superfood. They are a rich source of many brightening and energizing elements including water, silica, B vitamins, electrolytes, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. The high silica content in cucumbers is essential for promoting radiant, glowing skin because it strengthens the bonds and makeup of collagen and elastin, thus preventing a sunken, dull face and eyes. The water content in cucumbers is also packed with enzymes that naturally hydrate and increase the rate and effectiveness of healthy bodily functions such as detoxification and cleansing. Cucumbers also contain caffeic acid, which lowers inflammation and thus reduces irritated and puffy eyes.
7. Mint: Mint has been shown to reduce nausea, relieve spasms, and has a soothing effect on people with irritable bowel syndrome. Often during a hangover, people suffer from an irritable stomach in addition to a pounding headache. Brew some fresh mint with hot water for an ideal hangover cure.
8. Ginger: Ginger contains powerful antioxidants that combat oxidative stress brought on by second-hand smoke and other irritants commonly associated with a night of drinking. Ginger is also proven to reduce nausea and can help alleviate the feeling of vomiting.
9. Watermelon: Watermelon contains an amino acid, L-citrulline, which has been found to relieve muscle soreness. This can be helpful if you were dancing all night and wake up feeling the effects all over. Watermelon also has a high antioxidant and water content which is great for rehydrating your cells.
10. Bananas: Bananas contain potassium and magnesium, which can relax muscles. Bananas also contain the amino acid L-tryptophan that later gets converted to serotonin, a relaxing neurotransmitter. Bananas also contain pectin, a natural digestive aid.
Ilana Muhlstein, R.D., aka “Nutrition Babe,” is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a Private Practice in Los Angeles. She also works part-time at UCLA where she delivers a 12- week seminar on weight loss and health promotion. She integrates health and wellness into everything she does and constantly strives to better the minds and bodies of her patients and class participants. Read more about Ilana’s background and professional services.