You open your eyes. Or maybe you don’t. Either way, you’re awake with no clue what time it is. Time is irrelevant. All that matters is the alarming speed with which your mind is forced to assess how your body is feeling. First, the feeling of the desert in your mouth, making it near impossible to swallow. Next comes the vague notion that your head is pounding…slow at first like police sirens in the distance that suddenly park right outside your skull. Then the spinning. Oh the spinning.
It’s here: the New Year’s Day hangover. If reading this made you queasy, you’re in good company as New Year’s Eve is one of the top holidays for alcohol overindulgence, causing thousands to ring in the first trying not to feel like death.
Although we’d never condone drinking to excess, we do realize how easy it is to get too wrapped up in bowl game parties, New Year’s Eve festivities, and other shenanigans with friends and family and, well, party a little too hardy, making the morning after miserable.
So while last night was (entirely too much) fun, today you must be productive, hangover or not. One great way to get back on your feet again is to eat, but not just any food. Did you know there are both good and bad hangover foods? Luckily the Wings and Rings menu is on the good end of that list, serving up some of the best food for a hangover.
But you don’t have to take our word for it. To explain the inner workings of a hangover, learn what food is good for a hangover, and for tips on how to avoid one in the first place, we’ve enlisted Cincinnati-area registered dietician Kayla Hansmann, MS, RD, LDN to help explain it all.
What Actually Is a Hangover?
A hangover is a series of signs and symptoms (none good) that occur after you’ve had too much to drink, usually the morning after said excessive drinking.
According to Hansmann, one of the contributing factors to a hangover is dehydration. “Not only are we drinking a beverage that acts as a diuretic, we're also often drinking it in place of other hydrating liquids,” she said. “Waking up with a headache, lethargy, and dizziness can all be signs of dehydration in addition to lack of quality sleep [which is] also a potential effect of too much alcohol.”
Alcohol also causes your immune system to trigger an inflammatory response, increases the production of stomach acid (hello, hot lava), decreases your blood sugar (causing fatigue and weakness), and dilates your blood vessels, among other pleasantries.
What Food Is Good for a Hangover?
While you should endeavor to drink all the water and other (non-alcoholic) beverages to get your body rehydrated and back on track, there are foods you can eat that will help you feel better, too.
For example, have you ever noticed how, a few hours into your hangover recovery, you start to crave foods that are high in fat, salt, or a little on the greasy side? (Why does greasy food help a hangover, anyway?) Turns out, those are totally normal cravings and part of your body’s response to out-of-whack hangover hormones.
“Drinking causes a hormone release that signals the brain [to] increase appetite for fats [and] calorically dense foods,” Hansmann says. “Alcohol consumption can lead to insulin secretion [which] drops blood sugar. Low blood sugar = increased cravings and feelings of hunger that give the need for foods that can ‘curb’ that craving. The higher fat and energy content of these foods corrects those cravings quickly; fat is one of the most satiating foods.”
In addition to what we crave, Hansmann also says the best food for a hangover is hydrating foods and beverages alongside healthier foods as well. “Foods higher in healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, and liquid oils) paired with a good protein source and a hearty carbohydrate (sweet potato or whole grain bread; think avocado toast with eggs) and a BIG glass of water,” she said.
3 Wings and Rings Menu Items to Help Your New Year’s Hangover
Celebrate the fact that your body’s cravings and a nutritionist’s advice align by ordering your hangover cure from the menu at Wings and Rings.
For example, the MVP Chicken Ringer will satisfy and soothe the stomach with its premium-cut chicken breast cooked in house-made beer batter and topped with signature spicy mayo and pickles on a toasted brioche bun, with a side of natural-cut fries.
Depending on the severity of your hangover, our fan-favorite wings might just be the cure. Order them traditional or boneless, tender or veggie and get them slathered in your favorite wing sauce or dry rub and at whatever heat level you think your body can tolerate.
Maybe nothing overpowers your overindulgence like a burger. Luckily, we have those in spades, from our Ghost Pepper Ranch Burger to our Classic Bacon Cheeseburger and lots in between. All served on a mouth-watering brioche bun with your choice of carby, salty sides like natural cut fries, Saratoga chips, or potato wedges.
On the flip side, maybe your body is craving more healthy, hydrating foods like a Classic Cobb or Harvest Salad, which we are happy to serve to you tableside or to-go.
Remember that old saying: an ounce of prevention, etc.? Hansmann suggests that to imbibe more responsibly, try drinking a glass of water between alcoholic beverages (or add an electrolyte drink in between or even use it as a mixer) and to not drink on an empty stomach.
And, should you plan your Wings and Rings hangover order ahead of time and wake up feeling fine and dandy? Congratulations and come on in or order online anyway — our menu choices are always the perfect food for any mood.