Is your go-to normally Advil and Tylenol when the hangovers arrive on Jan. 1? Dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot, founder of The F-Factor Diet and author of “The Miracle Carb Diet,” says the foods you eat before, during and after you drink can help you avoid the nasty consequences.
“Definitely stock up on hangover helpers beforehand,” she told us, because alcohol leaves you dehydrated, with low blood sugar and lots of toxins in your body. Food and water is a great armor against getting sick.
Before:Eat before or while drinking to slow down how quickly you get drunk. Instead of absorbing the impurities from the alcohol in your body, the food binds with them. “Starchy foods like bread, pretzels and pasta help slow the absorption of alcohol,” Zuckberbot says. Also: Have fruit. “The fructose will help absorb alcohol,” she says.
Drink: “Milk coats the lining of your stomach and can help minimize the amount of alcohol you absorb — at least, that’s the theory,” she says.
While:Drink water constantly: “Better than taking a painkiller to head off a nasty hangover, drink one glass of water for every cocktail, beer or glass of wine you have,” she recommends. If you forget to do this and decide to go the medical way anyway,“opt for a painkiller right before you go to sleep, but choose ibuprofen instead of acetaminophen, which can interfere with alcohol metabolism and possibly damage your liver.”
Some drinks cause more hangovers than others. “Things that speed up absorption and can cause a terrible hangover are, for example, sweet carbonated mixers and warm drinks like Irish coffee.”
After:“If after drinking you feel nauseated, drink ginger tea with honey and lemon, which will help ease the nausea and settle your stomach,” she advises.
“After a hard night of drinking, kefir also safely helps alleviate those awful hangover symptoms like headache, nausea, diarrhea and more,” Zuckerbrot says. “Kefir is rich in probiotics so it helps restore normal gut bacteria in the stomach, while providing some needed rehydration and a protein boost. And kefir is lactose-free, which some people tolerate better than probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, cheese and milk that contain lactose.”TryLifeway’s kefirproducts, which can be bought in most grocery stores.
“In terms of food, load up on vegetables and fruit because these contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that will help speed your body’s recovery,” she says. “Tomatoes are an especially good source of vitamin C, which gets depleted after heavy drinking. Since alcohol has diuretic effects, pick up some bananas, as eating them or blending into bland smoothie will help you replace lost potassium and other electrolytes.
“Fruit juices are fine, but go for natural juices without added sugar. Your best bet, though, is to eat whole fruit such as apples and pears, which contain energy-boosting fructose as well as fiber that will soak up and flush out toxins still floating around your digestive system.”
Many people only have junk food on their hangover menu, but actually fruit and water is just as helpful.Eggs are also worth a try since they are rich in the amino acid cysteine, which “helps break down acetaldehyde, the toxin responsible for those awful hangovers.”
Try these recipes if you’ve got a hangover
Tomato Juice:Though a major component of the popular bloody mary cocktail, drinking a virgin tomato juice can actually help your body process alcohol more efficiently. Studies have shown that tomato juice can boost liver function, which speeds up alcohol digestion. Other research suggests that the antioxidants and vitamins present in tomatoes quickly restock those lost during a night of drinking, making you feel better faster.
Virgin Bloody Mary (no vodka!)
1 cup tomato juice
½ tsp horseradish
Mix the tomato juice with the juice from half a lime. Add lime, horseradish, a pinch of black pepper and a dash of Tabasco sauce. Pour in glass over ice and add a celery stick for garnish.
Eggs:Sunny side up, scrambled or fried, eggs are a popular breakfast choice the morning after to beat the nastiest of hangovers. Many believe the grease is what makes the pain subside; however, the good news is you don’t need to load on the butter and cheese to clear the fog. Try this healthier egg creation to cure your hangover.
1 whole wheat English muffin
½ tsp. fresh chives
½ tbsp. skim milk
1 slice turkey bacon
1 slice of tomato
1 tsp. olive oil
Heat turkey bacon in a skillet or in the microwave. Toast the English muffin.
Mix the eggs in a small bowl and add 1.5 tsp. of chopped chives and ½ tbsp. of skim milk.
Poor egg mixture in a sauté pan on medium heat, using a minimal amount of olive oil (1 tsp. is all that is needed). Scramble the eggs. Season eggs with salt and pepper and place on English muffin. Add the turkey bacon, top if off with a slice of tomato and enjoy!