Overdone it on the booze? While you may be tempted to reach for the junk food to make yourself feel better, loading your overworked liver with more toxins is actually the last thing it needs. Instead, try snacking on one of these alternative foods to aid your recovery and start feeling better in no time at all.
One reason many of us feel so bad the morning after a drinking session is because alcohol depletes your system of essential nutrients, including B vitamins. A lack of B vitamins can cause anxiety and depression, so try munching on Marmite - a rich source of the vitamin B complex - to lift your mood. As an added benefit, Marmite has a high sodium content which can help replace the salts lost through drinking alcohol. Try the savoury spread on toast for an added fix of carbs.
Not only does alcohol deplete your body of nutrients, it can also lead to low blood sugar levels, which may leave you feeling weak and shaky. To counteract this, try snacking on watermelon, which is not only high in fructose but is also water-rich to boost hydration. On top of this, watermelon is high in many essential nutrients, including vitamin C, B-vitamins and magnesium.
If too much alcohol has you feeling queasy, ginger is the perfect food to help settle your stomach and relieve nausea. While you may not feel much like chewing on the food in its original form, you could try adding some grated ginger to hot water for a ginger tea, blending into a fresh fruit or vegetable juice, or snacking on ginger biscuits for a stomach-soothing treat.
Scrambled, fried or boiled, eggs are a popular hangover breakfast, and the good news is they are a great choice for beating the nastiest of hangovers. Firstly, eggs are extremely rich in protein, which helps raise mood-boosting serotonin levels as well as helping to reduce nausea. Furthermore, eggs are rich in an amino acid called cystine, which helps fight against the alcohol-induced toxins that contribute to your hangover.
Bananas are packed with potassium and magnesium, two of the minerals often depleted in our bodies when alcohol is consumed. A lack of potassium in the body can lead to nausea, weakness and tiredness, so stocking up on bananas can help reduce these classic hangover symptoms. As an added bonus, bananas are natural antacids so great for reducing stomach acid, and are good for providing a boost of energy if you have a busy day ahead.
One of the most important steps for beating a hangover is getting your body rehydrated, and this can be done through what you eat as much as what you drink. To up your fluids and sodium levels and get a shot of nutrients all at once, try some health-boosting vegetable or miso soup. As an added benefit, soup is easy on the stomach so good if you're feeling a bit queasy.
Due to the diuretic effects of alcohol, the body loses many essential minerals and vitamins during a heavy drinking session. Luckily, oats can provide you with many of these nutrients, including B vitamins (good for the liver and mood) and essential minerals magnesium, calcium and iron. On top of this, oats can help neutralise acidity levels in the body, cleanse the liver, absorb toxins and slowly raise blood sugar levels, making a bowl of porridge the perfect hangover breakfast.
If you're feeling a bit queasy at the thought of food, then this is the cure for you. While it's great to line your stomach with food if you can, to replace lost vitamins, raise blood sugar levels and rehydrate your body, you can't do much better than a glass of fresh juice. Not only is juice good for immediate relief, the fructose will also help speed up the removal of alcohol from your blood.
If you're craving something savoury, sardines on toast could be the perfect morning-after breakfast. A major cause of hangovers is an imbalance of electrolytes, and sardines are rich in many of these vital minerals, including sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium. In addition to this, sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for protecting the liver as well as lifting the mood.
Many hangover sufferers swear by sports drinks as a way to hydrate the body and help rebalance electrolytes. However, sports drinks are often carbonated, which can irritate the stomach, and packed with refined sugars. For a natural alternative to sports drinks, try sipping on some coconut water, which contains essential electrolytes (including calcium, potassium and magnesium) to boost hydration, and is also soothing for the stomach.