New Year’s Eve is not a night for moderation. As partygoers say goodbye to 2017 with one too many glasses of champagne, the first day of 2018 will be a little less merry with the aches and queasiness that keep you holed up in bed (or by the toilet).
Of course, everyone has their own way of dealing with the unpleasant day after. Some may chug Gatorade, while others swear by the healing powers of a greasy bacon, egg and cheese on a roll. But when it comes to eating the pain away, are the fat-laden cures we turn to the best way to treat a hangover?
Sadly, no. “All the foods that you want to munch on are going to make you feel worse,” Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York told Newsweek.
“Traditionally people have wanted to have coffee and a greasy meal after a hangover,” he said. “It’s not going to help you. It’s going to hurt you actually.”
Glatter explains that after a night of heavy drinking your body just doesn’t want to expend energy breaking down fatty foods, especially since your pancreas and liver are already inflamed from the alcohol. He suggests allocating those calories prior to drinking as carbohydrates and fat slow the absorption of alcohol and protect the stomach.
Instead, the best approach is to eat a simple meal that restores nutrients depleted from your body. Glatter says that alcohol depletes stores of vitamins A, B and C, as well as magnesium and potassium.
Start with a banana or smoothie as they are easy on the stomach and have many of the nutrients your body needs to recover. Glatter recommends eggs as they are high in the amino acid cysteine, which studies have shown help neutralize some of the damage caused by alcohol.
And while you might feel like coffee is the only thing that can get you through the day, Glatter warns that having a morning cup could make you feel worse as caffeine constricts blood vessels and increases the acid in your stomach.
Of course, the best way to beat a hangover is by prevention. Nibbling throughout the night, even on crackers, and drinking plenty of water will help you feel better on January 1.
But if you forego all attempts to drink responsibly, Glatter urges you to try at least one thing:
“Before you go to bed at night, you’ve got to drink at least three glasses of water and take one ibuprofen.”