Filed under Culture
Written by Vira Anekboonyapirom
Hands up those of you who take it a little too far on a night out, regrettably wake up a little worse for wear and like clockwork crave an oily pepperoni pizza by mid-afternoon. (Me = ?)
Then this article is for you.
Not only have I started to question my choice of Friday night plans, but I’m starting to wonder if there’s a holy grail recipe to help me bounce back like my 21-year old self.
So I asked: What foods really help cure a hangover?
I sought out a nutritionist to answer my hangover woes, seemingly the best person for such advice, right? I found our angel and saviour who was kind enough not to judge but assured me that there is a way to eat yourself out of a hangover, well kind of.
As with most nutritionists in the industry, growing up, Shannon suffered from her own personal health issues which lead to undiagnosed intolerances and misdiagnosed conditions. Frustrated, Shannon sent herself to University to study Nutritional Medicine and has been hooked on using food as a cure ever since.
WARNING: you’re not going to like Shannon’s first answer to our quest for the holy grail cure. Water! Dammit.
“This is the cornerstone of a hangover. We are absolutely dehydrated and nutrient-depleted (alcohol leaks so many essential vitamins and minerals from our body) so whilst guzzling down litres of water may be the last thing you feel like doing, it will be the best for you in the long run.”
If the thought of plain water makes you hurl, Shannon suggests to “get some sparkling water or coconut water. Coconut water is loaded with antioxidants and electrolytes (especially potassium) which are key components of effective hangover treatment”.
Coconut water also contains 5 of the electrolytes found in our system and Shannon swears “it’s a wonderful way to rehydrate, much better than the sugary sports drinks” – ciao, Gatorade.
Our body dumps potassium out when we’re drinking and if you’re already low on antioxidants, then you’re more likely to have a worse hangover.
If you’re anything like me and tend to graze all day, usually on a family bucket of KFC or anything salty, oily and well, carbs, because carb loading sucks up all the alcohol the next day, right?
We crave salt because our potassium and sodium balance is “out of whack”.
Salty craving alternatives: Potassium-rich foods, coconut water, or add quality sea salt to your meal (healthy meal).
When we’re low in essential healthy fats we crave oily foods.
Oily craving alternatives: Olive oil, avocado, raw nuts.
Carbs are great, but Shannon’s not suggesting fried rice or burger buns.
Carbohydrate alternatives: Wholegrain sourdough, starchy vegetables like baked sweet potato.
We were dying to know, so we had to ask: Shannon, what do you eat when you’re hungover?
“First things first, I chug a big glass of water and jump in the ocean. Then it’s off to the shops for supplies. Coconut water, sparkling water, ingredients for a big green smoothie (or I’ll buy one if I’m feeling extra sensitive), some sourdough which I’ll top with avocado, greens, halloumi and eggs”
“Eggs are an amazing hangover food. They contain the amino acid cysteine, which breaks down acetaldehyde, the toxin that lingers in your body after alcohol is metabolised.
Eggs also contain taurine, which boosts liver function helping to detoxify the body. Just make sure to have the whole egg, not just the egg white, as we need the yolks to get both of these benefits.”
But what about the times we absolutely can’t muster the strength to cook and UberEats is the only option?
Shannon recommends opting for the “healthy-ish” option and then “pimp it out” at home when it’s delivered.
For example, add a side of sweet potato wedges to a salad topped with extra avocados, eggs, and any other on-hand protein source.
Food recommendations to boost detox:
- Cruciferous veggies (Cauliflower, Broccoli, Kale)
Foods to avoid
- Mangos! (they enhance alcohol absorption – who knew?!)
- Processed foods
- More alcohol (lol)
If you’re into forward planning next time you participate in another big night out, here are Shannon’s non-negotiables:
- Eat something BEFORE drinking
- Water, leave a giant bottle of water on your pillow so when you get home, you can “skull that baby” and you’ll feel so much better for it the next day. “Think of it as a little gift for your future self!”
… And here it is, the inevitable parting wisdom from Shannon… “prevention is always better than the cure.”
So since I’m all about the cure in this instance, I threw out the idea of KFC and pepperoni pizza for avo on toast, topped with a poached egg, featuring a big side of sparkling water and a green smoothie to wash it all down… the verdict? It works.
Photography: Lucy Alcorn
Styling: Vira Anekboonyapirom
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