Most of us have indulged in a night of drinking and suffered the horrible morning-after hangover. Your head is pounding, your heart is racing, and it feels like you’ll vomit, but somehow you’re still craving a spicy burger or some hot sauce on fries. Those odd cravings bring us to the question: why do we crave spicy food when we are hungover?
You crave spicy, fried food when hungover because it’s packed with the calories you need. Your blood sugar levels drop when you consume alcohol, making you feel hungry. Hot chili peppers contain capsaicin and give you a rush of endorphins, which helps you feel better.
In this article, I will discuss why you crave spicy food when you are hungover and why spicy food helps you feel better after drinking. I’ll also share some tips on preventing or lessening a hangover with spicy food.
Why Spicy Food Helps With Recovering From a Hangover
Waking up in the morning feeling like you were run over by a bus is one way to describe a horrible hangover.
We have all experienced the horrible headaches, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and poor concentration associated with a hangover. Some people may also feel irritable and, in extreme circumstances, experience anxiety when hungover, but did you know that spicy foods can help you recover faster?
Spicy food not only tastes delicious but has many health benefits and can help you to recover more quickly.
Spicy food contains capsaicin, which activates the brain to release endorphins. This can lead to a person feeling happy or even euphoric, so it makes sense that eating spicy food packed full of chilies will automatically help brighten your mood.
Additionally, spicy food is good for you and has many health benefits. The capsaicin found in hot chilis can:
- Help prevent heart disease
- Reduce inflammation in your body
- Help fight or prevent cancer
Eating spicy food can also help you burn fat and reduce your appetite.
With all these health benefits, capsaicin will definitely be helpful when suffering from a hangover. Capsaicin is an anti-inflammatory that will help you with that pounding headache and muscle pains and aches. In fact, this ingredient is even used in medicine to help ease aches and pains associated with arthritis.
Combining capsaicin with some greasy, fatty food like a chili cheeseburger will also help to line your stomach and absorb some of the alcohol. Chilis, one of the main ingredients in spicy food, also contains high amounts of vitamin c, which will help fight off congestion, headache, and other flu-like symptoms.
Spicy food is delicious, and whether you are craving hot sauce or chili because you have a hangover or just enjoy the flavor, adding some spice to your diet will do you a world of good.
You can buy this Chili Cookbook: Easy and Delicious Chili Recipes (available on Amazon.com), featuring 30 delicious, easy-to-make recipes. From Bacon Chili to Chili Casserole, there will definitely be a recipe to help you overcome your next hangover.
Spicy Food Tricks That Can Prevent or Lessen a Hangover
The last time you had a hangover, you swore you would never drink again, but here you are, holding your pounding head in your hands and wondering how you will survive. Your mouth is dry, and although you feel like vomiting, you’re craving spicy food.
As mentioned above, spicy food is packed full of capsaicin and vitamin C, both of which can boost your system when you have a hangover. Capsaicin causes your brain to release dopamine which creates feel-good hormones, and vitamin C will help with your flu-like symptoms.
A hangover can last an entire day, and waiting it out is the last thing you want to do, so here are some tips and tricks that might help you overcome the worst of your hangover:
- Spicy food helps and tastes excellent when hungover. Spicy foods will replenish your body with the carbohydrates it needs and help with nausea. While binging on spicy food, be sure to drink as much water as possible. Sports drinks or fruit juice will also help if water doesn’t sound appetizing.
- Bananas might not sound appetizing when you have a hangover, but they are high in potassium and will give your body the boost it needs. If you know you will be drinking, you can make yourself some spicy banana chips; they are delicious and will give you the potassium you need and the spice you crave.
Now that you know how to lessen your hangover with the help of spicy food, here are some tips on how to prevent a horrible hangover the next time you go out:
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Spicy, fatty foods help to line your stomach, which alcohol irritates. Eating spicy, grease-fueled food before drinking will help protect your stomach lining and give your body more time to absorb the alcohol, resulting in less hangover.
- Snack while drinking. If you’re enjoying yourself at a party, eating might be the last thing on your mind, but it can make a world of difference. You might not be hungry, but a spicy snack like peri-peri peanuts will taste great and help prevent a horrible hangover. Make sure also to consume a lot of water while drinking alcohol; it will help lessen your hangover.
The Downsides of Eating Spicy Food When Hungover
Like most other things, spicy food is good for you in moderation. However, if you binge eat chilis, you might get heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, or even feel nauseous.
When feeling hungover, we are not functioning the way we usually do; we feel sluggish and have poor concentration, so preparing a spicy meal might result in some problems.
If your stomach and taste buds can handle it, ordering spicy food is a safe option as you won’t have to handle the chilis you are craving, but a homemade meal is always more nutritious.
If you decide to make a chili dish from scratch, be careful not to touch the chilis as capsaicin is extremely strong and can cause your skin to burn and sting. Wear gloves and eye protection, and wash your hands with soap.
If you touch the chilis and other parts of your body, you can get chili burns, which are really uncomfortable and painful, especially if you are suffering from a hangover and can’t think clearly. When hungover, we also tend to eat more than we should, and if we are eating super spicy food, it may upset our stomachs, leading to nausea, vomiting, pain, and diarrhea.
Spicy food is good for us, and it is normal to crave it when hungover. Spicy food packed full of grease and fat will help your body with the carbohydrates it lost while drinking.
The capsaicin and vitamin C in hot peppers are also beneficial to a hungover person and will help your body feel better and recover faster. So next time you have a hangover, it is perfectly fine to indulge in some hot sauce on scrambled eggs or spicy banana chips.
- Healthline: 5 Flaming Reasons for Craving Spicy Foods
- Hot Sauce Blog: A Hot Pepper a Day Keeps the Hangovers Away
- HuffPost: 15 Spicy Hangover Cures From Around the World
- HowStuffWorks: How Hangovers Work
- Mayo Clinic: Hangovers
- Healthline: Some Like It Hot: 5 Reasons Spicy Food Is Good for You
- Cleveland Clinic: Is Spicy Food Good for You?
- WebMD: Health Benefits of Chili, Chili Peppers, and Chili Powder
- Healthline: What Causes a Hangover and How Long Will It Last?
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Alcohol
- Mayo Clinic: Anxiety disorders
- Live Science: What are carbohydrates?
- Mayo Clinic: Heartburn
- National Institute of Mental Health: Depression
- WIKIPEDIA: Capsaicin
- Verywell health: What Are Endorphins?