Taking tequila shots may sound like a good idea on a Saturday night, but come Sunday morning, your body is going to feel it. Welcome to the dreaded hangover! From pounding headaches and waves of nausea to dizzy spells and serious dehydration, being hungover is simply the worst. Drinking too much can also affect our workouts or make us less motivated to hit the gym. “What is happening is you’re having various changes in your body chemistry—including certain hormones—from the effect of the alcohol,” says Lisa Young, Ph.D., R.D., a food and diet author and adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University. “You lose fluids, you lose electrolytes, and the biggest issue is that you’re dehydrated.”
Though your first hangover instinct may be to grab a hearty breakfast of butter-soaked toast, bacon, and sausage to combat the pain, Young says that eating greasy foods is the worst thing you can do for your hangover—especially if you’re already nauseated. “Chances are you’ll become more nauseous,” she cautions.
So, what should you eat when you’re not feeling like a ten? Young shares her tips on the best foods to dig into when you’re hungover.
Before you eat, Young says the most important thing to do is hydrate. “Alcohol is dehydrating, so it’s really important to have fluids,” she says. “The first thing I would say is water, water, water, water.”
After you guzzle down some H2O, Young says you can have some sports drinks that contain electrolytes because your body is in need of them. Coconut water is good for you, too, she notes. “You can also drink peppermint or ginger tea because that can reduce nausea,” Young says. “It is going to soothe some discomfort.”
After hydrating, Young suggests skipping out on that greasy breakfast you so desperately want and instead whip up some nourishing eggs. “Eggs are good because they have protein,” she explains. It’s also important to get some carbs into your hungover stomach, so try a slice (or two) of whole-wheat toast on the side.
“Alcohol is a diuretic. You lose a lot of fluid, and with that, you lose some electrolytes and potassium,” Young says. “Bananas are good since they contain potassium.”
You can eat a banana while horizontal on the couch watching Netflix, or you can make easy three-ingredient banana pancakes that also use eggs. The recipe is an easy way to fuel up on protein and potassium in one meal. Your hungover self will be happy—promise.
Like bananas, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are high in potassium. They’re also vitamin-dense and rich with minerals and antioxidants. If a salad or plate of cooked collard greens doesn’t sound appealing, try a smoothie that contains lots of greens instead.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Sometimes your hangover is so bad that you’re physically sick. If you find yourself hunched over the toilet (no judgment), your body is going to need fluids and some salt, Young says. “Try chicken soup because if you’re throwing up, you could lose sodium,” she says. “The noodles will coat your stomach, too.”
Avocados are super-nourishing. They’re packed with good fats and rich in nutrients and vitamins, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium. They also keep you full for longer, meaning they’ll help ease some of those hangover hunger pains. Slice up half an avocado, and spread it on a piece of whole-wheat toast.
While it’s fine to have a drink or two occasionally, frequent binge drinking isn’t good for your physical or mental health or your fitness and weight goals. Enjoy your social life, but try to drink in moderation.
Regardless of how much and what you eat to help your hangover, there’s only one cure for feeling totally back to normal: rest. “Chances are if you have a hangover, you were up until 2 in the morning partying,” Young says. “Go get some sleep.”