Tied a few on last night? Even though you might be craving something greasy, our resident dietitian Melissa Meier has what your hungover body really needs and spoiler alert: it does not involve a B&E roll or hair of the dog.
Party season is here, which means you might be hitting the alcohol a little (or a lot) harder than you usually do. And while that extra glass – or bottle – of champagne probably seemed like a good idea at the time, 9am-you-the-next-day won’t be so fond of the deathly hangover you’ve brought upon yourself. The remedy? No, it’s not a mimosa or a greasy bacon and egg roll… with good health in mind, here’s what I’d suggest you put on your plate.
In case you’re unaware, alcohol is a diuretic, which means it speeds up the rate at which your body loses fluid. Coupled with vomiting and/or diarrhea if you partied hard the night before, your body is in dire need of a few good glasses of water after a big night out – so that would be my first suggestion.
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In terms of foods, I’m sorry to say there’s no ground-breaking science that highlights which foods will get rid of your hangover the quickest. The only trick in my book is to include eggs in your morning meal, because they contain a compound called cysteine which helps to breakdown acetaldehyde (a by-product of the breakdown of alcohol that can make you feel pretty rubbish). Other than that, I’d recommend a day of simple, healthy eating and a little time in the fresh air to help put that pep back in your step.
What you certainly should avoid when you’re hungover is high-fat foods (think: the greasy fry fest you might be conjuring up images of right now). That’s because alcohol irritates the lining of the stomach and fatty foods can further exacerbate an upset tummy.
Something else you should pay careful attention to after a night on the town is your portion size. After a big night out, quality and quantity of sleep is usually pretty poor, because you wake up frequently to visit the bathroom and you spend less time in the Rapid Eye Movement phase of sleep.
This makes your appetite-regulating hormones run wild – your levels of ghrelin ramp up (this stimulates your appetite) while leptin drops (this tells your brain you’re full). All in all, that makes it very easy to overeat – so watch your serving sizes.
The best things to eat to cure a hangover
So, without further ado, here’s my dietitian-approved day on a plate to help you get over your hangover.
Breakfast: two poached eggs on wholegrain sourdough with cooked spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms
Snack: a small tub of plain yoghurt and half a mango
Lunch: chicken toastie made with one wholemeal wrap, a handful of shredded BBQ chicken and cheese, served with some freshly chopped veggie sticks
Snack: smoothie made of a cup of milk, one banana and a handful of nuts
Dinner: a baked fillet of salmon with roasted sweet potato and steamed greens, served with a small wholegrain roll
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.