You're probably regretting drinking that extra 40 last night, but you can make today a lot less horrid by avoiding these foods and drinks, all secretly engineered to make your hangover even more miserable. We spoke to Andrea Chernus, a registered dietitian, on why to stay away from these pick sixes six picks, plus her recommended food/drink remedies to get you through the day. Ready? Here's what not to pair your aspirin with...
MORE ALCOHOL Ah, the hair of the dog. A hangover remedy touted by Ernest Hemingway, and some other people, for ages. Though knocking back some Bloodys might numb your pain for a little bit, Chernus insists it’s just going to tax your system even further, and leave you feeling way worse in the long run.
DINER FOOD After a full night of drinking, the neon lights of your favorite greasy spoon are irresistible. Be strong and ignore that cruel siren’s call. “[Greasy food is] the worst thing you could have,” says Chernus. “It’s because alcohol is processed through the same metabolic pathways as fat, and so when your body is breaking down the alcohol, it’s kind of putting the fats to the side. Your body can’t handle them at the same time.”
BREAKFAST SANDWICHES Et tu, Brute? Your right-hand man through so many bleary mornings has been scamming you all along. “Eggs with toast or eggs, potatoes, and toast would be better, because then at least you’re getting nutrients that the body actually does need,” says Chernus. “A bacon, egg, and cheese is like your whole day’s worth of saturated fats.”
ORANGE JUICE Disclaimer: for those with exceptionally kind and pleasant stomachs, Chernus says orange juice is safe. But if your gut is waging its usual war, hands off, because its citrusy acid will destroy you.
TONS OF MEAT If you start craving large quantities of meat come lunchtime, take a rain check, as it's liable to take your migraine up to an 11. Chernus explains that you could be in a world of pain "if you’re just eating high protein and not including any carbohydrates, because your blood sugar can be low from drinking. That could definitely make a headache worse.”
MULTIPLE CUPS OF COFFEE Here’s the good news: despite what WebMD might tell you, quitting caffeine entirely while you’re battling a hangover isn’t necessary. In fact, Chernus says you might need a reasonably-strong cup or two of coffee to stave off withdrawal torture if you consume java on the reg. But cap yourself at 300mg (about two 16oz lattes at Starbucks) of caffeine or suffer the horrors of dehydration.
AND HERE'S THE FOOD AND DRINK THAT'LL HELP YOU FEEL BETTER...
SPORTS DRINKS & COCONUT WATER If a Cool Blue Gatorade is already your preferred remedy, you're good to go, since you do need to replenish those electrolytes. But coconut water is also something to consider, thanks to its bonus potassium. Chernus recommends you keep an eye out for one that has a good stock of sodium, too, since that’ll help your body hold onto that water you’re desperately guzzling.
A BOWL OF CEREAL Okay, maybe not one made of Lucky Charms marshmallows-and-Froot Loops. But a fortified pick like Total can help you power through those TPS reports. “It has all the vitamins -- the B vitamins that are lost in metabolizing alcohol, and zinc, which we also lose,” Chernus says. “If your blood sugar is low (and it does run low from drinking), a bowl of cereal and a banana [for potassium] is a perfect hangover food. And it has milk, which helps to hydrate.”
PB&J TOAST Another breakfast option for when you’re riding the struggle bus steals from the school lunch. According to Chernus, “Toast with a little bit of peanut butter and jelly is really great because peanuts have niacin, which is used up in metabolizing alcohol. Plus it’s tolerable for most people after a night of drinking.”
CHICKEN SOUP And finally, if you’re going to be near a grocery store, consider a Campbell’s to-go cup. Chicken soup is awesome because, as Chernus explains, it helps replace the fluids and sodium claimed by your boozing. Replacing the brain cells you lost won't be as easy.
Kristin Hunt is a food/drink staff writer for Thrillist, and is still reeling from the time she accidentally drank banana milk in 9th grade. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.