The Food Issue: Hangover helpers

What to eat the morning after a night you don’t quite remember.

You wake up to the piercing sun peeking through an unfamiliar window, regretting those last five shots, wondering where you are and what happened last night. And to top it all off you have a stomach that’s a growling pit of hunger and leftover alcohol.

Even though you think you might still be drunk, you rise, craving a cure for that looming hangover. Whether it’s that greasy burger from your go-to spot down the street or a medically supported solution, food is the key to making the day after drinking a day actually worth living.

If you’re a by-the-books type of person and the Advil and coffee just aren’t cutting it, these are the foods both doctors and experienced drinkers swear by:

Bloody Marys. It’s really the tomato juice that helps. Packed with lycopen and Vitamin C, tomato juice will help revitalize your liver and reduce inflammation. A little hair of the dog is always said to help, too, which makes the ever-popular Bloody Mary bars a necessary stop on the hangover train to hell. St. Pete’s Café Alma, among many others, features a much-lauded Bloody Mary bar during its weekend brunch. They use tomato-flavored vodka as well a range of hot sauces, peppers and pickled vegetables that, combined, are sure to make you feel better.

Coconut water. Another juice that’s making its name in the hangover world, coconut water has more electrolytes and restorative benefits than Gatorade, with way less sugar and dyes. Containing five of the key electrolytes we need after a night of drinking, it’s a far healthier option than a sports drink.

Ginger juice. Widely known to cure nausea and upset stomachs, ginger juice is the perfect supplement for a rough morning. Local juice bar Squeeze Juice Works (a St. Pete favorite soon to have an outlet across from Boca in Tampa) combines these two miracle workers in its juice One Night in Bangkok.

Eggs. With cysteine-rich protein that can help break down toxins and plenty of vitamin B, eggs are among the best hangover remedies. The protein also fills you up and helps stop all that remaining alcohol from sloshing around. Just remember: Although eggs will soothe your stomach, a side of bacon will soothe your soul. Pinky’s Diner, a perennial Best Breakfast champ, has tons of delicious dishes that’ll fit the bill.

Burgers, burritos & bagels. While all the above options are sure to work their medical magic, sometimes you just need some good ol’-fashioned grease and carbs. A personal favorite is the Goodnight Burger from The Avenue. Soaked in syrup and topped with an egg and bacon, this perfect combination of breakfast and lunch might not be medically supported but I’d say that it works its own kind of miracle.

Mexican food is also an option: Whether it’s a classic burrito from Taco Bus or the delicious Tijuana bowl from Daily Eats, Mexican combines meat, grains, vegetables and dairy, hitting almost everything on the food pyramid — and if elementary school taught me anything it’s that if you follow the food pyramid, you can do no wrong. Plus, combining all the nutrients you need into one meal has to have some sort of benefit in the hangover department.

If nothing else, stick with a bagel. I’m a firm believer that bagels are the holy grail of hangover food.

Anyone who’s ever woken up on the bathroom floor can vouch for me. 

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