Why Do You Crave Spicy Food When Hungover?

Is Spicy Food Good For Hangovers?

Waking up with a pounding head, churning stomach, and craving for spicy food is a scene we all know too well after a night of drinking. Spicy fare like hot sauce on eggs or a fiery bloody mary may seem counterintuitive when you feel sick and achey. But there’s a reason chili peppers magically cure many people’s hangover symptoms.

The answer is capsaicin, the active compound in spicy foods that triggers the release of endorphins and improves circulation, metabolism, and digestion.

In moderation, capsaicin-packed spicy foods can provide real medicinal benefits for multiple hangover woes like:

  • Soothing headaches
  • Calming nausea
  • Boosting energy
  • Lifting mood

However, very spicy or greasy foods may irritate your already sensitive stomach. The key is to stick to lighter, nutrient-dense spicy options.

This article will explore:

  • Why your body naturally craves spice after drinking
  • How capsaicin specifically tackles hangover symptoms
  • The best spicy foods to eat when hungover
  • Foods to avoid that may make things worse
  • Tips to prevent hangovers with spicy food

While spicy food alone won’t instantaneously cure your hangover, capsaicin offers real relief when used strategically. Let’s dig in to how to make chili peppers your hangover hero.

Why You Crave Spicy Food When Hungover

Ever wondered why greasy bacon and eggs doused in hot sauce sound so darn good when you’re hugging the toilet with a hangover? There are a few reasons your body naturally craves spice:

Your blood sugar levels crash – Alcohol causes your blood sugar to drop, making you feel ravenous. Spicy food raises blood sugar quickly.

Seeking an endorphin rush – Capsaicin in chilies triggers endorphins, providing a mood boost when you feel down.

Craving quick energy – High-calorie spicy food gives you a shot of energy when you’re exhausted.

Chasing the flavor – Strong spices help overpower “dead” hungover taste buds.

Hot Peppers Pack Helpful Compounds

are smaller peppers hotter

The magic ingredient in spicy food is capsaicin, found in hot chili peppers. Capsaicin provides some legit hangover-fighting benefits:

  • Endorphins act as natural pain relief
  • Vitamin C fights inflammation and nausea
  • Aids digestion to calm the stomach
  • Metabolism boost to rally weary body

So while it may seem counterintuitive to eat fiery food when you feel achey and queasy, science says capsaicin can actually help relieve many hangover symptoms.

Spicy Food Myths and Facts When Hungover

There are a lot of myths floating around about spicy food curing hangovers. Let’s separate fact from fiction:

Myth: Spicy food completely prevents hangovers

Fact: While it may help alleviate symptoms, nothing besides moderation prevents hangovers entirely. Food doesn’t stop you from getting drunk!

Myth: The spicier the food, the better for hangovers

Fact: Modest spice levels are best. Too much can further irritate your sensitive hungover stomach.

Myth: Greasy food is best when hungover

Fact: While grease does help absorb alcohol, opt for healthier spicy foods to avoid feeling gross.

Myth: Hot sauce cures hangovers immediately

Fact: While spicy food can provide gradual relief, don’t expect instantaneous recovery. Be patient and rest.

Now let’s explore how spicy food specifically aids hangover recovery.

Hot Peppers Help Common Hangover Symptoms

Here’s how fiery foods can help tackle some of the most dreadful hangover symptoms:

Headache Relief

Capsaicin stimulates circulation, speeds delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain, and releases pain-relieving endorphins. It’s Mother Nature’s natural Tylenol!

Hydration Help

Hot spices cause sweating which aids rehydration. Pair spicy food with plenty of fluids to restore fluids lost from alcohol.

Nausea & Indigestion Aid

By kickstarting digestion, spicy food moves along stomach contents causing nausea and indigestion. Capsaicin also relaxes intestinal muscles.

Fatigue Fighting

The metabolism increase from spicy food provides a needed energy boost when you’re drained. Chili peppers are a natural pick-me-up.

Mood Boost

As discussed, endorphins released by capsaicin lift your spirits when you’re down.

So while spicy food won’t immediately fix all your post-drink woes, it can help relieve many common symptoms gradually.

Ideal Spicy Foods For Hangovers

Certain spicy foods are smarter choices when you’re feeling delicate after drinking:

🌶 Eggs With Hot Sauce

Protein-rich eggs paired with metabolism-boosting hot sauce provide energy.

🥑 Spicy Guacamole

Avocados have antioxidants, electrolytes, and healthy fats to nourish body and brain. Fresh jalapeños add zip.

🍲 Spicy Vegetable Soup

Broth-based soup with veggies, garlic, and spices brings hydration, nutrients, and gentle spice for the stomach.

🥪 Jalapeño Grilled Cheese

Carbs give energy while cheese acts as a fatty buffer. Jalapeños aid digestion.

🌮 Spicy Breakfast Burrito

Eggs, beans, salsa, cheese in a whole wheat wrap packs a protein, carb, and capsaicin punch.

Focus on lighter, healthier spicy options. Avoid extremely spicy dishes and greasy junk foods that may do more harm than good.

Foods to Avoid When Hungover

These heavy spicy foods may wreak havoc on your delicate hungover tummy:

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or Takis

❌ Chili cheese fries or loaded nachos

❌ Very spicy buffalo wings or extra hot Indian curry

❌ High fat meats like pepperoni pizza or spicy chorizo

❌ Anything deep fried, greasy, or dairy-heavy

Stick to milder spices and “real” ingredients as opposed to heavily processed junk.

Make Your Own Spicy Hangover Relief

Don’t want to leave the house while feeling miserable? Here are simple spicy recipes you can make at home:

🌶 Spicy Veggie Omelet – Eggs with spinach, tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and cheese

🥣 Spicy Breakfast Ramen – Instant ramen kicked up with chili paste, garlic, ginger, greens, and a soft boiled egg

🥗 Spicy Tofu Salad – Marinated tofu on salad greens with cucumbers, edamame, and homemade jalapeño vinaigrette

🌯 DIY Burrito Bowls – Brown rice, black beans, salsa, corn, avocado with ground turkey or egg

Preventing Hangovers with Spicy Food

While spicy food relieves hangover symptoms, you can also take proactive steps to prevent hangovers in the first place:

  • Eat spicy food before drinking to line your stomach
  • Stay hydrated with non-alcoholic fluids while drinking
  • Have a spicy snack like nuts between drinks
  • Stick to one alcoholic drink per hour
  • Drink water before bed and take an ibuprofen

The Verdict: Is Spicy Food Good For Hangovers?

The bottom line is that spicy food can be your friend during a hangover. The capsaicin provides real medicinal benefits like pain relief, digestions aid, mood boost, and hydration help.

However, moderation is key. Extreme spice levels and fatty foods often do more harm than good on an upset stomach. Light, nutrient-dense spicy foods are your best bet.

While spicy food alone won’t cure a hangover, a little fire and endorphins offer sweet relief when you’re feeling under the weather after a night out. Listen to your body and satisfy those spicy cravings in a healthy way.


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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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