I’m not arguing with the track record of the world’s scientists: I will admit they have worked out a bunch of pretty impressive things. They can figure out how to take us to the moon, how to cure a range of infectious diseases, and how to make grape food flavouring that somehow tastes like no grape anyone has ever eaten in their lives. But there’s one very glaring thing they can’t do, which is to figure out how to effectively use food to reduce the effects of a hangover.
Indeed, if you search “what can I eat to stop myself from feeling like I am dying?” on Google after a night of debauchery, you are more likely to encounter a lecture on inhibition and addiction than anything that could actually assist you. Even though the world is full of scientists – literally swarming with them – all they can do to help us poor saps dying from whatever you call the sickness that sits exactly one step below straight-up alcohol poisoning is suggest that we don’t drink so much next time.
But screw those guys. Who needs ’em? We can make up our own anti-hangover food list; a bona fide survival guide for all those who need sustenance but also need to not violently throw up all over their work desk and/or attentive partner.
Here are six of the greatest anti-hangover foods, snacks and delights that will have you fighting fit within the blink of one crusted, bloodshot eye.
1. A Filet-O-Fish burger
Filling your guts at a McDonald’s after a night on the town is a dangerously alluring proposition. Everything looks so appetising, and goes down so easily – but be warned, such first impressions can be deceiving. Launch your gaping mouth into a Big Mac (or God forbid a McFlurry) before your guts are properly settled and you will run into all sorts of vomit-laden, pants-ruining trouble sooner than you might expect.
Instead, go for the Filet-O-Fish burger. Sure, it might taste to fish as grape Starbursts taste to grapes (seriously, what is up with that?), but the sweet, salty delight goes down a treat. Not only is this option safe for pescatarians (i.e. fishocrites like me), the Filet-O-Fish meal is less rich and therefore gentler on the stomach: it fills you up, but not so much that you start to (literally) overflow.
One of the worst things about eating while hungover is that furry, bitter taste you get all through your mouth – you know, the one that makes it feel like you’ve just chowed down on six oil-slick-saturated baby birds. A good way to combat that awful feeling is just a touch of mint and coriander – the kind of herbs you can often find swirling about the bottom of a bowl of pho.
Just a few swigs of the stuff will clear your head and mind, and, fingers crossed, start to settle your stomach to boot. Just try to go vego: too much beef or chicken will upset your sensitive system, and may well have you crawling back to the safety of your darkened room.
3. Roasted sweet potato salad
OK, I am aware this one sounds a bit hoity-toity, but trust me – sweet potato is your carby, supportive friend when you’re hungover. It’ll settle your stomach like you wouldn’t believe, and isn’t so overwhelming in flavour that it’ll have you rushing to hug your toilet bowl.
Roast some salted sweet potato chunks till they’re browned and chuck them into a bowl with kale, chopped tomatoes and a little smidgen of olive oil. Then, ta-da: you have yourself a simple, nourishing meal that will help you get to your feet in no time.
4. (A little bit of) mac and cheese
This one’s tricky – a fine art, one could almost say. Even a spoonful too much mac and cheese and you will immediately regret it, and of all the things to throw up, the worst is most definitely dairy. Trust me: about six years ago I went mad on a block of Camembert while battling a tequila hangover and my favourite carpet still bears the stains.
Nonetheless, pour yourself out only a soupçon of mac and cheese – say about half the contents of a single box – and your salt cravings will be deftly satisfied.
This is the only foodstuff on this list that scientists (sort of) endorse. According to them, munching down on some pears after a night on the town will help you slowly but surely begin to recover – although they cover themselves with the claim that it won’t necessarily work for everyone, particularly, to take an abstract case, if you are so far gone that you are vomiting Camembert and tequila all over your favourite carpet.
But surely a few pears can’t hurt: hell, you could even chuck them in your mum’s Nutribullet and drink the stuff down so fast that it doesn’t even have to touch the sides.
6. Zucchini pasta
As much as you might be drawn to straight-up wheat pasta when you are trying to restore yourself to life, be warned: the stuff will go through you like water. It’s much better to take the healthier yet undeniably delicious option of making your own zucchini pasta.
Just finely slice a good sized zucchini into spaghetti-esque strips, and then fry the whole lot in a pan of oil. Add bolognaise and a tiny bit of cheese, and voila – you’ve got yourself a stomach-soothing wonder.