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Healthy Japanese Hangover Cures: 3 Quirky Convenience Store Products Recommended by a Nutritionist

Healthy Japanese Hangover Cures: 3 Quirky Convenience Store Products Recommended by a Nutritionist

Date published: 19 February 2020

Spring is the season of new beginnings, and with everyone moving on their next phase in life, comes a wave of welcome parties and opportunities for drinking. Even if you try to control the amount of alcohol you consume, sometimes, you can’t help but just drink the night away, resulting in a hangover the next day...So what do you do now?

This time, we’ll introduce a few recommended convenience store set meals for those days when you’re battling your hangover. With advice from nutritionist Sugizaki Kuniko, a lecturer at Musashino Nutrition College, we learned ways to choose foods that were nutritious for the digestive system and liver, to aid in recovery. We took a trip down to 7-Eleven to buy meals following her recommendations.

Set 1: Onigiri set

Set 1: Onigiri set

Ms. Sugizaki says, “When you have a hangover, you won’t have much appetite, making it difficult to eat solid foods. But in order to help your body recover quickly, it’s important to eat a healthy and balanced meal.”

Onigiri, or rice balls, are easy to eat and are a godsend at the office when you need to work through lunch. The onigiri set consists of two onigiri, clam miso soup, boiled egg, spinach with sesame seeds, and a sports drink.

Handmade chopped Kishū Nankо̄ plum onigiri (125 yen, without tax), handmade spicy mentaiko onigiri (150 yen, without tax)

Our recommended onigiri flavors are pickled plum and mentaiko, or cod roe. Pickled plum contains acids, which can help in alleviating hangovers. Citric acid also encourages the production of saliva and aids in digestion and metabolism, providing some relief for your exhausted digestive system.

“Mentaiko also contains vitamin B1, which has a recovery and energizing effect. When alcohol is being broken down in the liver, a large amount of vitamin B1 is used, so it’s good to eat foods rich in vitamin B1, such as mentaiko and pork.”

Cup miso soup: clam flavor (138 yen, without tax)

In Japan, clam flavored miso soup is an oft mentioned cure for hangovers. “The warm soup is easy to digest, and as its mostly water, it’s highly recommended. The miso also contains protein from beans, along with mineral, and salts to replenish your body.”

On top of this, clams are also rich in ornithine, a compound that increases the efficiency of your liver, improving the metabolism of alcohol. To help your liver recover, taurine rich foods such as squid and octopus are also recommended.

Flavored boiled egg (one for 73 yen, without tax)

One cause for the headaches that come with hangovers is the toxins produced from the metabolism of alcohol. To further break down these toxic by-products, foods rich in L-cysteine, such as eggs, should be eaten. As you can get boiled eggs from the convenience store one by one, they’re a convenient add-on to your meal.

Spinach with sesame seeds (203 yen, without tax)

“When you have a hangover, your body is exhausted, so it’s essential to have a balance of nutrients. As such, you should eat vegetables as well.” To go with the onigiri, we picked a side dish of spinach with sesame seeds.

This side dish is a mixture of spinach, carrots, konjac, and other vegetables with sesame seeds. Sesame seeds also contain sesamin, which helps in the breakdown of alcohol in the body.

Pocari Sweat, 500ml (151 yen, without tax)

When you have a hangover, it’s due to the production of acetyl aldehydes from the metabolism of alcohol by your liver. When there isn’t enough water in your body, the acetyl aldehydes can’t be excreted quickly via urination, and as such, keeping hydrated is important. Sports drinks are a great choice, as they contain salts and sugars too.

Set 2: Sandwich set

Set 2: Sandwich set

Besides onigiri, sandwiches are another staple convenience store food. This set contains a sandwich, boiled hijiki seaweed, spinach and egg soup, aloe yogurt, and vegetable juice. As the sandwich is not as heavy as rice, it’s a great choice for times when you have no appetite and are looking for something gentle and light on your digestive system.

Egg and ham sandwich (291 yen, without tax)

It’s best to get a sandwich containing eggs. This ham and egg sandwich contains not just eggs, but lettuce as well, allowing you to get more nutrients. The salt in the ham also helps to improve your appetite.

Boiled hijiki seaweed (203 yen, without tax)

“In order to get more nutrients, seaweed such as wakame or hijiki is recommended. It stimulates your bowels, quickly expelling any toxins in your body. It helps to cleanse your body.” With this advice in mind, we picked boiled hijiki seaweed.

This side dish contains tofu, hijiki seaweed, edamame beans, carrots, pickled lotus, and fried tofu skin, a total of six main ingredients. Soybeans, which tofu is made from, contains lectin, which helps to prevent damage to the liver from the metabolism of alcohol and restore its function. On top of that, it contains lots of good protein, which aids in the recovery of the liver’s function.

Spinach and egg soup (140 yen, without tax)

Warm soups are also a highly recommended item. You can pick any soup that catches your eye from the large variety available, making it a huge plus point too. To go with the flavor of the sandwich, we selected the spinach and egg soup.

The fluffy egg and thick soup enter your tired digestive tract gradually. As the soup contains spinach as well, you can get some nutrition from it. When having vegetables, warm or cooked vegetables are more easily digested by your body.

Morinaga aloe yogurt (125 yen, without tax)

When picking a meal for your hangover, foods that are easy to eat, such as yogurt, are recommended. The active bacteria in yogurt helps to adjust the condition of your digestive system, making it great for combating hangovers. Besides this, aloe also contains aloetin, which assists in the liver’s detoxification.

Itoen Ichinichibun-no-yasai, 200ml (100 yen, without tax)

To rehydrate your body, vegetable juice is a good choice. Tomatoes are rich in citric acid, and are particularly good at protecting your stomach and intestines. It also contains lycopene, which promotes the excretion of acetyl aldehydes, making it an excellent choice for dealing with hangovers.

Set 3: Curry udon set

Set 3: Curry udon set

Though you’ll usually have a reduced appetite during a hangover, there are times when you unexpectedly crave for something thick and rich in flavor. In such a case, why not try out this curry udon set? As a set meal designed to help with your hangover, it includes curry udon, seaweed and vegetable salad, and a yogurt drink.

Thick beef curry udon (453 yen, without tax)

Udon is another great way to deal with a hangover. As the effects of hangovers are linked to blood sugar levels, eating foods rich in carbohydrates can be expected to ease symptoms. Since the liver is limited in its production of glucose, this causes blood sugar levels to fall, leading to the headaches, lethargy, and fatigue synonymous with hangovers.

Turmeric, used in curry, contains curcumin, which aids the liver in the breakdown of acetyl aldehydes.

“Though the convenience store sells turmeric drinks, it’s a bit much to say that just drinking that is enough. Indeed, it’s best to eat a balanced and nutritious meal,” says Ms. Sugizaki. As you can get protein from eating meat, it aids your body in its recovery too.

Veggies and seaweed mixed salad (199 yen, without tax)

To complement the thick and rich taste of the curry, we selected a light and refreshing veggies and seaweed mixed salad.

The salad contains tomatoes, broccoli, and lettuce, and includes seaweed such as wakame as well, allowing you to get a balanced mix of nutrients. It’s the perfect salad to cure your hangover.

Aloe drinkable yogurt (118 yen, without tax)

For a drink, we’ve chosen aloe drinkable yogurt, which is perfect for your hangover. It’s soothing on your throat and has a refreshing flavor, and is a perfect match for a curry.

Recommended light snacks for hangovers

Recommended light snacks for hangovers

When your hangover has dampened your appetite, you may want to opt for a snack instead of a full meal. In such a case, bananas, honey, and ramune candy with glucose are recommended.

Banana (1 for 105 yen, without tax)

“When you drink alcohol, you lose water and electrolytes when your body tries to remove the alcohol by urination. This can also result in a drop in potassium levels. To replenish it, foods rich in potassium such as bananas are recommended,” says Ms. Sugizaki. If it’s too much to eat even one, why not drink some banana juice instead?

Kanro healthy throat candy – manuka honey (138 yen, without tax)

Besides that, honey, rich in sugars such as glucose and fructose, is recommended for hangovers too.

Glucose helps in raising blood sugar levels, which dip when alcohol is being metabolized. Fructose accelerates the breakdown of acetyl aldehydes, making it an effective food for curing hangovers. You can just suck on this honey candy when you have no appetite, making it an easy food to consume.

Morinaga large ramune (108 yen, without tax)

Easily found in convenience stores, ramune candy is rich in glucose. With a refreshing sweetness and light sourness, it’s easy to eat even amidst the bouts of nausea when battling your hangover.

*Prices may differ by region and season.
*Items available may differ by store and region.

Written by Naho Jishikyu

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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