Almost all of us who drink will fight the beast that is the hangover at some point — some of us more often than not. A pounding headache, churning stomach, and extreme thirst are the last things we want to feel in the morning after a crazy night out, but many swear by their own cures as they stumble through life, weekend after weekend. From the basic (crackers and water) to the crazy (drinking even more), we’ve sifted through all kinds of “cures.” Most of what’s out there may be completely bogus, but these are the 15 greatest foods for when you’re hungover that will make a difference.
1. Breakfast Sandwich
The breakfast sandwich is a classic hangover food, whether your favorite is an egg McMuffin, a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit or even something homemade. There’s little to no work on your part — this grease bomb will ease your suffering. It covers the carbs and protein needed to clear your head and get back to work.
2. Mac and Cheese
There’s nothing like the warmth of good comfort food, and macaroni and cheese really hits the spot when you’re hungover. It doesn’t matter if it’s from Kraft in a box or if it’s that recipe your mom sent you, macaroni and cheese is a great option. The noodles allow easy digestion and provide plenty of carbs, while the cheese gives a decent amount of protein to help your body repair all the damage you caused.
Pizza is another classic hangover food for those that swear by the greasy cures. It’s also one of the few hangover foods that’s likely to already be on your table when you wake up. Carbs are in no short supply with pizza, though things like macaroni and cheese will give you more — but pepperoni will boost that protein and even add to the grease factor. Pizza is easy and cheap to come by — cue the stampede of college students — so we don’t see it losing its popularity amongst other hangover foods any time soon.
While pho (pronounced “fuh”) may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering how to cure a miserable hangover, this Vietnamese noodle soup does wonders. The broth in pho is a constant, but there are many choices available on the meat front, though sliced rare beef and chicken are surefire, tasty choices. The winning key to pho is the broth though — it helps replace the salt and potassium your body loses by the boatload when you drink.
5. PBJ Sandwich
Yes, it’s a simple solution, but sometimes simple is all you need. This little sandwich is a concoction of some powerhouse hangover fighters — peanut butter for protein, bread for carbs, and jelly for sugars. It’s easy on the stomach, kind to the taste buds, and extremely quick to prepare. On whole wheat, it also has the “healthy” effect on your already guilty conscience.
6. Full English Breakfast
Enjoying a full English breakfast, if you have the time, is highly recommended when hungover (and even when you’re not). Breakfast sandwiches are a quick solution, but the full English breakfast will cover all your bases, and then some. A full English breakfast traditionally consists of: Bacon, eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or toast and sausages, black pudding, fried potato cakes, and is usually served with a mug of tea. Granted, this may not be the easiest thing to come by if you’re outside the UK and not in a big city elsewhere, but if it’s available it’s a good choice.
Yes, really. Bananas are like nature’s own little hangover cures. Not only are bananas full of fructose (natural fruit sugar), to help with energy, they contain a nice amount of potassium. See, when you drink excessively, potassium is one of those minerals that gets depleted. Bananas are also natural antacids — which will help your nausea and stomach pain — and they also contain magnesium, which helps to relax pounding blood vessels in your head. Don’t be afraid to go the sandwich route either — peanut butter and bread only help.
Though not the most flavorful food of the bunch, crackers can be a life saver to those folks who are so bad off that they’re unable to keep anything down. Crackers are mostly carbs — with a teensy bit of protein — and will help to calm a rowdy bout of nausea while offering some form of sustenance. It’s great to pair saltine crackers with some ginger ale or other carbonated, caffeinated beverage to both ease nausea and help with that hangover headache.
We love to love bacon, and the Internet has pretty much gone bonkers over these slices of pork — now we have yet another reason to sing its praises. Bacon has been, yes, proven to help fight hangovers. Not only is bacon packed with proteins that break down into amino acids your body needs to recover, but the high amount of aminos contained aids in clearing your head altogether. So go ahead, make that bacon sandwich you’ve always dreamt of. It’s one case where it’s absolutely healthy to do so.
10. Bagel With Cream Cheese & Lox
A warm, toasted bagel is appealing enough to the severely hungover, but add cream cheese and lox — you’ve got a winning combo. The bagel clearly satisfies the need for carbs, but the cream cheese and lox (cured salmon fillet) give a vital protein boost. If you’re not into salmon, or if your stomach can’t handle the fishy smell, then simply leave it out — the cream cheese can hold it’s own.
11. Chinese Food
Tried and true, any kind of Chinese take-out is usually a favorite amongst boozers. Opening up a box of Chinese take-out would reveal anything from rice or noodles to a variety of chicken, beef, pork or shrimp in greasy glory. Both rice and noodles help kick start the metabolism into gear, speeding up the digestion of that evil alcohol, while chicken, beef, pork and shrimp all contain the protein any hungover body craves.
12. Biscuits and Gravy
Biscuits and gravy is another comfort food that serves as an amazing counterpart to a hangover. Again, carbs come to the rescue here — biscuits have a decent amount. The sausage gravy provides a tiny bit of protein, but loads on the fat that many find helpful in curing hangovers. It’s a heavy dish, so be wary if your stomach is feeling queasy.
Cheeseburgers are a common choice when asking for favorite hangover foods, but the McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger — and many other varieties — seem to win (just ask for a Drunk Special). Though the buns provide some carbs, we suspect that the greasiness (instead of the meat protein) is what does it for most people. They’re cheap and fast, so if you’re not queasy, a cheeseburger is the way to go.
14. Mexican Food
Mexican food can be anything from Taco Bell and frozen burritos, to real Mexican food, like fresh Chicken Mole or Menudo. The key with Mexican food is that it’s dense, sometimes greasy, and packed with protein and carbs. While Taco Bell and frozen burritos seem to be the safer choices, if you’d rather fight evil with a greater evil, Menudo (tripe soup) will do just the trick.
Alright, so water isn’t exactly a food, but it is the thing you need when fighting a hangover. No matter what foods you choose to help combat your churning stomach and pounding head, water is still the ace in the hole. Drinking alcohol drains your body of all sorts of things, and that headache you’re feeling has a lot to do with a bad case of dehydration. So make it easier on yourself and drink water before you pass out, keep it next to your bed, and keep drinking it in the morning. If plain old water isn’t your thing, try some fortified water, like Vitamin Water or Gatorade. However you dress it up, the water is the key, so get drinking.