Summer weekends bring parties, outdoor drinking, beer pong games, shot dares that you are too old to complete successfully and, as a result, relentless hangovers. We asked Milton Crawford, author of "The Hungoevr Coobkook" (nope, that's not a typo) to share some insights on what you should eat the morning after to help quell the beast that's beating your head and rocking your world in a bad way.
What are the five best foods to eat with a hangover?
Clearly there are some things that are better to eat than others but I have to tell you from the start: THERE IS NO MAGIC CURE.
The truth is that you will have to suffer to some degree or other. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Modern painkiller culture means that the majority of people seem allergic to a bit of pain. But most great men and women in history have had to endure pain in one form or another. It might just be character-building for you too.
But, hey, not many people are pure-bred masochists. And at some point, most of us would like to feel better again, although the scientific research on feeling better again is fairly inconclusive.
But all scientists would agree that if you have drunk too much alcohol the night before, your sleep will have been disrupted, you’ll be dehydrated and your body will contain various harmful chemicals that are byproducts of alcohol metabolism.
Dehydration causes symptoms including headaches, thirst, a dry mouth, tiredness and irritability – all associated with hangovers. So the first thing to do is to take on fluids. Not only that, though: you also need to restore your electrolyte balance by replacing key ions like sodium, chlorine, potassium and magnesium. I suggest a salted lime soda – a favorite afternoon pick-me-up in the relentless heat of India – to properly slake your thirst.
Next up is food. My cookbook offers a diagnostic tool to work out what type of hangover you have and tailors recipes to match. But here are some common ingredients that pop up:
Some scientific studies have suggested that eggs are good for hangovers. Why? Because they contain an amino acid called cysteine that, according to some studies, helps break down toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism. They are, of course, also one of the most popular breakfast foods across the world.
Try huevos rancheros: the classic Mexican eggs dish; or eggs bhurji: scrambled eggs in an Indian style with curry leaves and chili.
Tomatoes are healthy. They contain potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C in abundance and, perhaps most importantly, lycopene – a powerful anti-oxidant. Surely that’s got to be doing some good to your hangover.
The classic hungover tomato recipe is, of course, the bloody Mary, but you should also try making shakshuka – a North African dish of eggs baked in a spicy tomato sauce and served with pita breads.
I have no scientific basis for promoting chili as an essential hungover ingredient, but there is rich anecdotal evidence to suggest that chili is to hangovers what aspirin is to headaches. Some of my friends tell me that it helps you to sweat out the toxic sludge from your body after a hard night out. I prefer to think that it jolts your body – and mind – into action; a kind of shock therapy.
If you’re looking really green the morning after, you may want something to try and stem your nausea. Ginger is the best thing in the world for this – used by women with morning sickness and prescribed to post-op patients to stop them feeling sicky.
I recommend making a delicious and healthy juice with ginger alongside apples, carrots and oranges. It’ll bring back your appetite sooner than you can say “pass me that vom bag”
A hangover often brings on a craving for meat. Why this is, I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s a greedy desire for salty unctuousness that can only truly be satisfied by fatty meats. A number of my American friends have told me that they love a Philly cheese steak when they have a hangover.
In my cookbook, you can find recipes for a chorizo omelet, a breakfast burger (made with pork rather than beef mince) and an English breakfast tortilla that contains bacon and sausage.
This kind of meal might taste good, but in terms of a recovery, it may actually set you back some way. No matter – hangovers are not just about pain, but about embracing what might ordinarily be a guilty pleasure. Tuck in and listen to your taste buds sing.
Tell us, what are your favorite hangover eats?