Because let’s be honest – we’ve all been there. You go out for “one drink” with friends. Next minute: you’re stumbling out of an Uber at 2am, making a beeline for the nearest kebab shop. So how do you get back on track when you’re feeling shady? We grilled THR1VE Nutritionist Shannon Young for her advice on quashing that hangover.
What is your number one rule for the day after a big night?
Water, water and more water… it seems like an obvious one, but it’s true. The main reason you feel so terrible is because you’re dehydrated. Water will help flush out the toxins and speed up the detoxification process. Have a big glass before bed and another first thing in morning. If you remember throughout the night, balance out your alcohol consumption with water between each alcoholic beverage (easier said than done… I know!)
What sort of foods should we be eating the next day to ease the hangover?
You want to make sure you are consuming good quality proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and foods high in antioxidants. Think: eggs, avocado, sweet potato, salmon, nuts, leafy greens and citrus fruits or berries.
Eggs are a terrific way to help a hangover, they’re rich in cysteine, an amino acid that breaks down acetaldehyde, which is one of the primary toxins involved in making you feel horrible after drinking.
Avocado or bananas – a night of drinking can deplete potassium levels, an essential electrolyte needed for hydration, that’s found in both bananas and avocados. Avocados are also chock full of fibre, B6, carotenoids and healthy fats, all of which will help you on your way to recovery.
Complex carbohydrates will help when you’ve gone too hard the night before because consumption of alcohol can wreak havoc on blood sugar metabolism. Consuming unrefined carbohydrates, such as sweet potato, will prevent these spikes from continuing throughout the next day.
Add high water content/antioxidant-rich foods such as carrot, beetroot, cucumber, celery, spinach, broccoli, kale or a good greens powder. These foods will help with replacing lost nutrients and will also help with hydration.
Is there anything you shouldn’t eat?
Coffee. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but coffee isn’t your friend – even though this may be when you need it the most! Like alcohol, coffee is a diuretic and will dehydrate your body further.
Fatty foods. Often what we reach for are those greasy options to soak up the alcohol in your system, hoping it’ll get you back on track. Unfortunately, these greasy foods are likely to put pressure on your digestive system and make you feel even worse.
The hair of the dog. We’ve all heard of the old tale of drinking more alcohol to get rid of a hangover. While it might make you feel a little better at first, you’ll feel worse later on. Plus, you’ll be harming your liver by adding more toxins to the body.
After a night out, should you eat less than usual to balance out the night before?
There is no reason why you should need to eat less the next day, if you’re choosing the right foods. Normally when we wake feeling a little worse for wear and dwelling on a few regrets from the night before, it’s easy to reach for the greasy options as we think this is what is going to make us feel better – they won’t! You want to make sure your day is filled with essential nutrients, good quality proteins and some complex carbohydrates.
Can you give us an ideal day on a plate after a big night out?
A big glass of water on waking – add a squeeze of lemon for added nutrients such as vitamin C and potassium that will further help combat the dehydration and support detoxification.
Breakfast: Poached eggs, avocado, leafy greens such as rocket, grilled tomato on sourdough toast.
Lunch and Dinner: Quality Protein (think grilled chicken, salmon or lean red meat) with a big serving of salad or vegetables. I know… it’s not really what you want to hear when you’re struggling, but the protein is going to help with the detoxification process as the amino acids are vital in detoxifying the liver and assisting your recovery and your vegetables are going to deliver all the needed vitamins and minerals.
If you need something a little more comforting, add some baked potatoes – they’re a healthy alternative to the hot chips you might think you need. Or if you really can’t cope with consuming a salad (we’ve all been there), make your own burgers and load them up with plenty of salads and good quality ingredients.
Make sure you’re drinking lots of water throughout the day – aim for at least 3L.
Is there any merit to having rehydration drinks, like sports drinks etc?
Sports drinks can work a treat, as they’re designed to replenish your potassium and lost electrolytes. However, a quick all-natural pick-me-up and major potassium boost can be found in a cold glass of coconut water. The sweet, nutty taste will curb your sugar craving with just the right amount of carbs and calories to prevent sugar overload.