When you think about your last hangover, you may groan out load. You likely swore you’d never have a cocktail again because you felt so gross and your head was literally pounding. But guess what, even though you may not be a mega drinker or party animal, sometimes a hangover comes on the morning after a night out and you’re not exactly sure why (or sometimes you’re 100% sure why). “We wake up after drinking extremely dehydrated, full of sugar, with depleted water-soluble vitamins, and with elevated levels of alcohol-producing toxins,” says Carly Brawner, holistic nutritionist, health coach, and founder of Frolic and Flow.
“It’s no wonder hangovers can be rough.”
In order to make sure you don’t have a “rough” experience ever again, Brawner says there are some things to consider while indulging in a few drinks. Here's the first: Make sure you’ve had a good meal, which will help in the absorption of the alcohol. She also suggests considering taking a vitamin C supplement alongside N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), before drinking and while drinking. Keeping your vitamin C levels high means you’ll make up for those you know you’ll lose while NAC aids in the liver’s breakdown of the toxin acetaldehyde, a byproduct of your body metabolizing alcohol.
But if you’ve done all of the above and you’re still suffering, we’ve rounded up the five best morning-after foods to ease a hangover, courtesy of Brawner. Scroll down to see what they are.
MILK THISTLE TEA
Drinking milk thistle tea is a smart move when you wake up with that hangover feeling. It promotes the body’s most powerful antioxidant, glutathione, which is what attacks that pesky toxin acetaldehyde that’s brought on by alcohol consumption. “Milk thistle prevents glutathione depletion and offers liver support,” says Brawner. If milk thistle tea isn’t exactly your cup of tea, raw goat cheese, asparagus, cinnamon, whey, and turmeric all promote glutathione production too.
First of all, they’re simple to make when you’re not feeling great—plus they’re easy on your stomach. Brawner says it’s worth it to go for pasture-raised and organic in this situation because they contain cysteine, a sulfur-containing amino acid essential in your detox” Added perk: Cysteine also helps repair your gut lining, which can become inflamed after a night of drinking.
H20 is your best friend. Alcohol actually gets in the way of a hormone called ADH (antidiuretic hormone), which keeps us hydrated. “Dehydration is one of the reasons alcohol makes us feel, so bad so rehydrating should be a huge priority,” Brawner says. Try to drink 64 ounces of water as soon as you get up, and add electrolytes for quicker hydration and chlorophyll for an extra boost (it will increase liver function and help you get rid of toxins).
Grass-fed is best here because it’s rich in vitamin B. Vitamin B is water-soluble, and we lose a good deal of it while drinking since alcohol makes us urinate more, Brawner says. She says breakfast hash with fish will also help raise your vitamin B levels if you’re not in the mood for yogurt.
Is there anything this leafy green isn’t good for? It’s jam-packed with vitamin C, which is crucial for normal liver detox, and it also supports enzymes that break down and remove alcohol from the body. Pair with other vitamin C–rich foods like Brussels sprouts, red pepper, and an orange vinaigrette for the ultimate hangover-fighting salad.
Be sure to read about successful tricks for curing a hangover, and tell us which food you’re most wanting to try post–night out in the comments.