Try bacon, chocolate, pancakes-who needs hair of the dog?
By Ted Loos
It's an iron law: Where there is alcohol, there will be hangovers. And that means that during the holiday season, both are in unusually plentiful supply. (There's a reason New Year's Eve isn't your favorite holiday-you don't always remember it that well.) So the only question for the groggy reveler is how to handle that fuzzy, icky feeling the next day.
Hangover cures are the stuff of myth and legend, including the tried-and-true (but medically inadvisable) hair-of-the-dog method, whereby you trick your body into thinking its buzzed state is a natural one by imbibing more of what you drank last night. But medical science does provide some practical advice when it comes to eating and drinking the next day-and the good news is that it involves some delectable foods that rarely get the official nod from the medical establishment.
When was the last time your doctor prescribed chocolate and bacon? Sounds too good to be true, but those are just two of the yummy foods that Reem Sharaiha, MD, a gastroenterologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, says are helpful to the body in recovering from a hangover, based on the surprisingly few studies on this topic. None are magical cures, just boosters to nudge things in the right direction.
It turns out that, like so much concerning health, hangover cures are largely a matter of prevention, too. "Laying down a base of fatty foods before drinking helps slow the stomach's absorption of alcohol," says Sharaiha, and drinking a glass of water between each alcoholic beverage is key.
Once you stumble into the kitchen the next day, here are five delicious foods that speed recovery, each with a recipe that will brighten the foggiest haze. And no matter what you're eating that day, water and Gatorade-style sports drinks are important to consume regularly.
"Eggs are really good," says Sharaiha-they would also be her personal hangover-easing dish of choice. Full of amino acids, which help the liver detoxify, eggs are high in cysteine, which goes to work on the toxin acetaldehyde, enemy #1 of the hearty drinker. Make it Chorizo and Scrambled Egg Breakfast Taco time.
It's hard to think of a food more comforting than pancakes, but these sweet treats also do you another kind of favor: Complex carbs help maintain a steady level of sugar in your bloodstream, balancing out the fact that as your liver detoxes, your blood sugar drops. Sweet potatoes are slow releasers of sugar and healthy on a few nonhangover levels, as well-not to mention delicious. All of which makes these Sweet Potato Pancakes with Honey-Cinnamon Butter a breakfast of champions.
You're going to be drinking your breakfast, but not in the way you're thinking. This Almond-Banana Smoothie is packed with the yellow fruit, which replaces the potassium lost in the detox process. (Don't forget, alcohol is a diuretic, so it causes you to flush out key nutrients faster than usual.) Plus, bananas boost your electrolytes, just as sports drinks do. An added bonus: Almonds are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that works against the harmful free radicals that are a component of alcohol.
Bacon is everywhere these days because it's soooo tasty, and lucky for us, the amino acids in bacon are a hangover's best friend. However, too much of a very fatty food may irritate the stomach further, so just a couple of strips on, say, a lean burger makes a good dose, especially if you're getting up late and breakfast is no longer an option. A study in Britain showed that bacon also boasts the benefits of the Maillard reaction, a fancy term that translates into a very basic pleasure principle: "Bacon just makes you feel better," says Sharaiha. So do these Jalapeño Cheeseburgers with Bacon and Grilled Onions.
There's only a little beer in this Chocolate Stout Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting, and the alcohol will get cooked off in the oven, so no need to feel guilty about this hair of this dog. Like bananas, chocolate is full of the potassium that you lose during recovery, so your sorry state is a good excuse to indulge in this intriguing cake. And if you eat it for breakfast, we won't tell a soul.
MORE FROM EPICURIOUS.COM