Can You Prevent A Hangover By Eating A Big Meal?

A doctor weighs in.

Hangover
Photo by Brodie Vissers via Burst

When seeking advice on how to cure a hangover, a common trope is how to avoid one in the first place (hey, thanks!) And that often includes the phrases “soak up” and “greasy food”. And that can easily lead to a junk food binge of pizza, omelettes, hamburgers and anything you can get at a drive-thru, really. But can you actually ward off a hangover by eating a big meal before you drink?

According to an emergency medicine physician in New York, there’s some merit behind that theory.

Refinery29 talked to Alexis Halpern, MD, who says by eating a big meal, you’re basically creating a buffer between your stomach and the alcohol. It may not completely prevent a hangover, but chances are, you’ll feel tons better.

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Now, what to eat. Halpern says a good rule is to stick with heavier foods that take longer to break down in your body. Especially ones that are nutrient dense. So instead of that slice of pepperoni pizza, try eating a burrito bowl. Water-rich foods are also a good idea, like cantaloupe, watermelon and other juicy fruits to keep you hydrated. Avocados and bananas are another good choice, because they contain important electrolytes. “If you give your body back the things that it needs and the things that it loses when you drink, you’re going to feel better no matter what,” she says.

Of course, not everyone plans to get drunk. So if you find yourself getting tipsy (or maybe you’re already a little wasted) and pizza is the only thing around, by all means, dive in. Eating while you’re drinking/drunk is better than nothing at all (but no promises you won’t see that pizza again by night’s end).

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And last but not least, water. It’s essential when you’re consuming alcohol. Halpern says it’s important — and we’ve all heard this before — to drink more water than alcohol in order to prevent a hangover. Says Halpern, “Try to have a drink, then a glass of water if that’s how you need to think of it. Just make sure you’re aware and keeping up with yourself.”

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