I was messing around on Twitter the other day (follow me! @thefabfoodie) and one of my friends was tweeting under the influence of alcohol. It’s about equal to drunk texting – both are no bueno. The next day (I assume) he was tweeting soberly about his hangover. I offered him some advice on what to eat and drink to help him ease the pain (my friend Kim says I’m a nurturer), and I decided to pass on my wisdom to you! Unless you don’t drink. In that case, send this link to someone who does!

If you’ve had a drink or two (or five, who’s counting?) before, chances are that you’ve been awakened the next day with a pounding headache, nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, sensitivity to light, very low energy, etc. All of these are symptoms of a hangover. We get these symptoms because excessive amounts of alcohol are toxic to our body’s cells, and our bodies are fighting to release these toxins from our system. The headaches come from dehydration, which is a result of loss of fluids – alcohol is a diuretic, which makes you urinate. Alcohol + many trips to the little boys/girls room=dehydration=little drummers inside your head the next morning.

There are some preventative measures to take prior to a night out with drinks that will cut down your likelihood of those “morning-after” pains. Of course, the simplest two measures – not drinking at all and avoiding excessive drinking – probably went out the window during the planning stage of your night out. So, the two important preventative measures you can take are to stay hydrated and eat while you drink. Drinking plenty of water before and during drinking will keep you hydrated, even during all those trips to the potty. Add a splash of lemon for extra Vitamin C, which also helps combat hangover systems. Staying hydrated is also helpful for the ladies – dehydration pulls all the moisture from your skin, and leaves your face dry when drinking – not a good look. Here’s a tip – for every alcoholic drink, have a glass of water after it. Your body will thank you! Eating while drinking helps to coat your stomach and soak up some of the alcohol. Stick with fried or fatty foods for the best effect. When I’ve had one of “those” nights, I go for McDonald’s fries or Utz Plain chips. I call them my “drunk snacks”.

If you’re beyond the point of preventative measures, you’ll probably have a hangover with your name on it patiently waiting for you. There is no “cure” for a hangover, but there are some foods that you can eat to ease you pain. The important thing to remember is that you need to eat and stay hydrated – these two things will help you on the road to recovery.

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Your night of reckless drinking has given you dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids to replenish the liquids you left in the bathroom. Adding salt and sugar to water helps replace the sodium and glycogen lost during drinking. If this doesn’t sound too appealing, grab a non-carbonated sports drink, like Gatorade or Powerade. They achieve the same effect. Fruit juice is also beneficial to fighting that hangover. The fructose in fruit juice helps to naturally increase your body’s energy level, and also increases the rate at which the body gets rid of toxins left over from alcohol metabolism (what your body does to break down the alcohol in your system). Fruit juice is also high in vitamins and nutrients that were depleted during your night of drunken abandon. Try coconut water – it’s high in potassium and mineral content. One cup of coconut water contains more electrolytes than most sports drinks and more potassium than a banana. Who knew!
  • Eat Something. Eating while in the throes of a massive hangover is usually the last thing you want to do, but your body can’t start recovering without fuel. My go-to food for fighting hangovers is bananas. Bananas are full of fructose, potassium, and magnesium, all of which are essential to combating a hangover. In addition, bananas contain natural chemicals that fight nausea and stomach pain. If you don’t want to eat the banana, toss it in a blender, add some frozen strawberries, a cup of orange juice, and a tablespoon of honey. Smoothie anyone? Kiwi fruit, cantaloupe, and watermelon are other fruits rich in potassium. Eggs are another food that help fight hangovers. They contain large amounts of cysteine, a substance that breaks down hangover-causing toxins in the liver. Eggs, some fruit, a piece of dry toast…sounds like you’ve got a nice breakfast going!

After you’ve eaten, get up and get moving! Exercise helps to speed up your metabolism and get rid of toxins in the body. Don’t overdo it – trying to tackle a Jillian Michaels DVD is not smart. Take it slow – go for a walk in your neighborhood – the fresh air will help too!

Before I go, I have to share my funniest drunken night story (that I remember):

I was celebrating my sister Shaunte’s 30th birthday and got a little too “friendly” with some French Connections. My wonderful Knight in Shining Armor came to pick me up, and all I wanted was “Plain Utz and take me home.” So, we stop at a 7-Eleven and he leaves me in my inebriated state to get my drunk snack and some Gatorade. He comes back to the car…with Doritos and Plain LAY’S. LAY’S? I don’t eat LAY’S!! Yes, I’m still a food snob when I’m drunk.  I launched into a drunken fit. He told me to calm down and drink my Gatorade. I was livid. In my slurring, angry, drunken state, I yell, “What kind of establishment don’t have UTZ?!?!”


Don’t judge me.

What are your “drunk snacks”? How do you fight the hangover blues? Share in the comments!

Happy eating!

The Fab Foodie