One of the best ways to prevent a hangover from completely derailing your morning (or – who are we kidding – mid afternoon) is by chugging a big glass of water before going to bed. But for those times that you just don’t do a great job of preventing a hangover before it ever starts, there are plenty of Plan B options.
Don’t worry your weary (and aching) mind. Here are 9 tried and true hangover cures from around the world (surprise, surprise – your results may vary):
Bangladesh: Coconut water
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Our first entry on this list is so simple, you can practically keep it in your refrigerator at all times. Coconut water is rich in potassium, a mineral known for helping to minimize the pain from migraines, so a hangover is easy peasy by comparison. Plus, coconut water is said to contain the perfect balance of sodium and sugars for nursing uneasy stomachs back into the world of solid foods. But be careful, coconut water consumption in large quantities can trigger a laxative effect in your digestive system.
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This swordfish – or sometimes even shark – stew is made with coconut milk, red palm oil and fragrant coriander. The bright red soup is served over rice, and topped with fresh chili peppers and a crumbly cornmeal-like topping called farofa. Moqueqa might not do much to relieve your pounding headache, but it is said to do wonders for nausea and digestive ailments you might wake up with.
Leave it to the Germans, notorious for having a word for just about anything, to come up with a special name for the breakfast meal following a brutal night of drinking. Though some desperate folks have to get creative with the actual components of the meal, owing to not being able to crawl to a restaurant, the classic Katerfrühstück usually consists of marinated herring and those adorable, tiny pickled gherkins. A cup of black coffee will cost you extra.
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You don’t need to travel all the way to the Mediterranean to give this entry level hangover cure a try. If you can drag yourself far enough out of bed to reach a coffee shop, then you’re in luck. Italians have been chasing last night’s regrets away with back-to-back shots of espresso for generations. And there’s some science to show that this one actually works. Caffeine dilates blood vessels, which in turn releases the vice grip on your head caused by heavy boozing.
Japanese umeboshi plums have been used to ward off the effects of overindulgence for thousands of years. Used to combat the drain of exhaustion, nausea and dehydration, these plums were once prized by samurai warriors, who ate them before charging into battle. How does a plum breathe you back to life? Well, the fruits are picked at the peak of their acidity instead of their peak ripeness. Then, they are salt-cured and dried in the sun, where they begin to naturally ferment. The result of this process is a tart fruit, rich in pain-relieving citric, picric and pectic acids. Umeboshi are meant to be slowly suckled, letting the fruit dissolve within your mouth over the course of 15 to 20 minutes. Just be sure to spit the pit out when you’ve finished.
Peru: Leche del tigre
Tiger’s Milk is actually the vibrant marinade leftover when making a type of ceviche in Peru. Loaded with fresh-squeezed citrus, yellow aji chili peppers, ginger and garlic, along with the juices of the uncooked fish that had up until a moment ago been soaking in the brew, this spicy seafood slurry is highly prized for its regenerative powers after a night of heavy drinking. If the thought of gulping down milky, raw fish marinade is the sort of thing that makes your hangover even worse, then you likely won’t be interested in leche del pantera either. This bold, black riff on the classic is made adding black clams to the mix.
Puerto Rico: Lemons in your armpits & Asopao
Okay, so technically the practice of rubbing slices of lemons in your armpits is something to be done before a night of raucous drinking. Why? To ward off dehydration, supposedly. But if that doesn’t quite do the trick, you might want to try a steamy bowl of asopao in the morning. This gumbo-esque rice dish is seasoned with adobo peppers and a ton of herbs, and is served as hot as you can possibly stand it. The heat and spice combo are said to help you sweat out the toxins (and the mistakes).
Russia: Pickle juice
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Much like coconut water, cucumbers and pickling juice help our bodies to regulate proper sodium and water levels in our blood. Maybe that’s why plenty of Russians follow up vodka-filled nights with pickle juice mornings. You can try this at home with ease by just keeping a jar in the refrigerator, and taking a hearty swig of the juice as needed. But if pickle juice makes your stomach crawl, you can always skip the juice and just chow down on an actual pickle.
South Africa: Ostrich omelet
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Pull on a pair of pants with an elastic waist, and prepare to bulk up. South Africans have long fought off their most debilitating hangovers with enormous omelettes made from the eggs of an ostrich. Eggs are rich in cysteine, the compound our bodies use to break down the alcohol-induced toxin acetaldehyde, which wreaks havoc in our livers after a night of drinking. And if a chicken-sized egg can help take the edge off, then it stands to reason that an ostrich-sized egg could knock a hangover out completely. Exotic eggs for breakfast aren’t your thing? Then try South Africa’s other hangover tradition, a braai, which essentially means barbecue in Afrikaans. Whether you go for eggs or meat, protein, protein and more protein is the cure for what ails you here.