From The Straits Times    |

Have you over-indulged this festive season? Here are some foods that can help you recover.

The most important preventative and remedy of hangovers is water. Interspersing alcoholic drinks with water or juices while partying reduces alcohol intake, helps to flush out the system and replenishes water used up by the liver as it breaks down the alcohol. For the same reasons, continue to drink plenty of water the morning after.


Fresh fruit juices and coconut water: Laden with natural sugars, vitamins and electrolytes, and readily available everywhere, these are excellent rehydrating beverages.



Ginger tea: Nature’s premier anti-nausea ingredient. Simmer chopped ginger gently in water to make tea, sweeten it with honey, and sip slowly to calm your tummy.



These contain cysteine, an amino acid that promotes the breakdown of acetaldehyde, a by-product of the metabolising of alcohol that is thought to cause much of the discomfort of hangovers. Also, soft-boiled or soft-scrambled eggs are easily digestible, more so than touted hangover cure the prairie oyster, a raw egg seasoned with Worcestershire sauce.


These antioxidant-rich fruits have long been a folk hangover remedy in Korea. Studies have shown that they contain compounds which combat the formation of acetaldehyde.



Pickles: Pickled vegetables, or the liquid they are immersed in, appear in many hangover remedies around the world. In Japan, umeboshi plums (right) are nibbled. The salts and sugars in pickles replenish electrolyte levels, and their sour taste may help dispel nausea.



Turmeric tea:
Naturally anti-inflammatory, turmeric soothes the throat and stomach. In Okinawa, where it is farmed extensively, the golden root often shows up in commercial hangover tonics and pills. At home, stir 2 tsp peeled and pounded fresh turmeric root, or 1 tsp turmeric powder, into a mug of boiling water and leave to steep for a couple of minutes. Sweeten with honey to taste and drink warm.



What to avoid
Some purported cures have legendary status despite probably being less than useful, especially the following.

Coffee: Caffeine in coffee may relieve headaches and pep you up for a while, but when it wears off, may leave you feeling even more fatigued and groggy.

More alcohol: Otherwise known as “hair of the dog”. A morning-after beer or shot may make you feel momentarily more mellow, but subsequently just prolongs the hangover.

Rich food: A surprising number of hangover treatments involve greasy foods, from Korean haejangguk (beef and vegetable soup) to a British fry-up of eggs, bacon, sausage and beans. Many incorporate offal, and especially tripe. While they may satisfy hunger pangs and strong seasonings may be a distraction from other symptoms, you may end up bloated or more nauseous.

This story was first published in The Straits Times on Sunday, December 30, 2012. Go to to read similar stories. Please note: You will not be able to access this section of The Straits Times website unless you are a subscriber. To subscribe to The Straits Times website, go to