A Cure for the Common Hangover
It’s Sunday morning, and the only thing that gets you out of your dark, silent bedroom is your craving for brunch. You already know what your order will be — eggs benedict and bottomless mimosas. Your body is demanding comfort food and some bubbly to wash away your hangover from last night’s indulgences. It makes sense to give your body what it wants, hoping to stop your head from pounding and that the nausea will subside.
The reasons for craving salty, fatty, carb-loaded foods the morning after a night out are still unknown. But it’s not to soak up the alcohol. By the time you wake up with your dreaded hangover, no alcohol is left in your stomach to soak up. The martinis you drank last night have already made it to your bloodstream and your liver is working hard to get rid of it.
Alcohol depresses our inhibitions, making us dance on tables and eat foods we can usually resist. Some scientists blame this lack of inhibition for the brunch food choices we make the morning after. This makes it a lot easier to choose bacon over broccoli no matter how adamantly we are trying to stick to our diet. Other studies have shown that some types of alcohol act as appetite stimulants. Hence the list of aperitifs, or appetite-stimulating alcohols, you may see on menus and are encouraged to drink before a large steak dinner. That appetite stimulation and lack of inhibition hurdle us into brunch without our conscious having much say in the matter.
Also, a late night of revelry never leads to good, quality sleep. Although you may have fallen asleep on the living room floor, boozy beverages disrupt restful sleep. Poor sleep leads us to foods that give us a jolt of energy and light up our brain’s pleasure centers. Our cravings on those sluggish days are more likely to be doughnuts, waffles, cookies and cakes that provide quick-absorbing carbohydrates and tasty fats to release fast, usable energy with feel-good hormones, which makes brunch food seem like heaven.
Now, what about the hair of the dog that bit you? Are the bottomless mimosas the answer to your pounding headache? They may help you feel better initially, but in the long run, your hangover will last even longer as you pour more alcohol into your body for it to process. Sorry to say, there is no magic answer to hangovers, but choosing foods that make you feel good short-term and long-term at brunch may help reduce your recovery time.
Replenishing with foods like avocado, beans, salmon and ginger will give back your lost electrolytes and B vitamins while soothing your nausea. Also, indulging in some of those comfort foods you're craving will help you feel a lot less miserable and not regret tabletop dancing (as much) the night before. So top your eggs benedict with avocado and lox, kick back with a real gingerbeer and begin your road to recovery. Cheers!