The best foods for hangovers

A hangover is your body’s reaction to drinking too much alcohol. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, headache, sensitivity to light, dehydration, or dizziness that lasts for several hours.

Research on hangovers is limited, and the exact processes behind them are poorly understood.

The body is thought to undergo specific hormonal and immune responses during a hangover that trigger different symptoms.

Although there is no known cure for a hangover, several foods and drinks can relieve symptoms.

Here are the 23 best foods and drinks to help ease a hangover.

1. Bananas

Alcohol blocks the production of a hormone that helps your body retain water, leading to dehydration and the loss of electrolytes like potassium and sodium.

Bananas are particularly high in potassium and can help replenish your body’s stores. A medium banana contains 12% of the recommended daily allowance (RDI) for this nutrient.

2 Eggs

Eggs are high in cysteine, an amino acid your body uses to produce the antioxidant glutathione.

Drinking alcohol decreases the body’s stores of glutathione. Without it, your body has a hard time breaking down the toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism.

Eating cysteine-rich eggs is a great way to increase glutathione in your body and possibly improve hangover symptoms.

3. Watermelon

Since headaches associated with hangovers are usually due to dehydration and decreased blood flow to the brain, eating watermelon may help.

Watermelon is rich in L-citrulline, a nutrient that can increase blood flow.

Plus, its high water content can help rehydrate you.

Suggested for you: 9 Proven Health Benefits of Watermelon

4. Pickles

Pickles are high in sodium, an electrolyte that is depleted with excessive alcohol consumption.

Eating pickles or drinking their brine can help raise your sodium levels and overcome your hangover.

A spear of dill pickle contains about 13% of the recommended daily sodium intake. Even better, 2.5 ounces (75 ml) of pickle juice provides about 20% of the recommended daily intake.

Keep in mind that the sodium content of pickles can vary by brand.

5. Honey

Due to its high fructose content, honey may improve hangover symptoms. It can be between 34.8% and 39.8% fructose, depending on the type.

Although research on this topic is limited, fructose may help rid your body of alcohol faster.

A study of 50 adults found that honey increased alcohol elimination rates by up to 32.4%.

Despite its ability to increase the rate at which your body gets rid of alcohol, fructose did not appear to reduce the intensity of hangover symptoms in another study.

Nevertheless, eating honey and other foods containing fructose should not be ruled out as a possible way to feel better after drinking too much.

Suggested for you: 10 science-backed health benefits of honey

6. Crackers

Crackers contain fast-acting carbohydrates that can raise your blood sugar during a hangover and improve associated symptoms.

When the liver processes alcohol, it no longer focuses on regulating blood sugar. This is why hypoglycemia can result from excessive alcohol consumption, especially in people with diabetes. Eating carbohydrates raises blood sugar.

7. Nuts

Due to their high magnesium content, walnuts can be a solution to your hangover.

Excessive alcohol consumption can deplete the magnesium in your cells. As a result, replenishing magnesium stores can help treat symptoms.

8. Spinach

Spinach is high in folate, a nutrient that can be decreased due to high alcohol consumption.

A review of research found that alcohol impairs folate absorption, and chronic alcohol consumption can lead to deficiency.

Eating spinach can help you maintain adequate folate levels after drinking alcohol. One cup (180 grams) of cooked spinach provides 66% of the recommended daily intake.

Suggested for you: Spinach: nutritional value and health benefits

9. Lawyer

Eating avocados after a night of heavy drinking can help increase low potassium levels due to alcohol consumption and dehydration.

One avocado (136 grams) contains 20% of the recommended daily allowance for this mineral.

Additionally, research shows that avocados contain compounds that protect against liver damage. Since drinking in excess harms your liver, avocados can be especially beneficial for a hangover.

10. Meat

Meat and other high-protein foods can help your body handle a hangover better.

Research shows that alcohol prevents your body from absorbing certain amino acids. Chronic alcohol consumption can lead to amino acid deficiencies.

Your body breaks down protein into amino acids, making it a good choice for hangovers.

Three ounces (85 grams) of beef contains nearly 25 grams of protein, while three ounces (84 grams) of chicken breast contains 13 grams.

11. Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains complex carbohydrates that slowly and steadily release sugar into the blood and may help relieve hangover symptoms.

One study found that eating a breakfast full of complex carbohydrates instead of refined sugars led to improved mood and less feelings of fatigue.

Reaching for oatmeal after a night of heavy drinking can help with hangover-related anxiety, fatigue, or hypoglycemia.

12. Blueberries

Blueberries are packed with inflammation-fighting nutrients in your body, which comes in handy if you’re hungover.

A study in 20 men found that blood levels of various inflammatory compounds increased after drinking alcohol.

So, eating blueberries after drinking too much can help fight related inflammation.

3. Chicken noodle soup

Chicken noodle soup is a popular remedy for the flu or cold. However, it can also be useful for hangovers.

Research shows that chicken noodle soup can help rehydrate you, primarily due to its high sodium content.

One cup (245 grams) of chicken noodle soup provides 35% of the recommended daily sodium intake.

14. Oranges

Oranges are rich in vitamin C, which can prevent your body from losing glutathione.

Glutathione is an antioxidant that helps rid your body of alcohol and is often decreased during alcohol consumption.

Eating oranges can give you the vitamin C you need to maintain stable glutathione levels and even cure your hangover.

15. Asparagus

Asparagus contains certain compounds that can relieve hangovers.

According to a test-tube study, asparagus extracts more than doubled the effectiveness of certain enzymes that help break down alcohol and also protect liver cells from damage.

Although there is currently no research on the effect of asparagus on hangovers in humans, eating this vegetable may be worth a try.

16. Salmon

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are great for reducing inflammation in your body.

Since drinking alcohol can increase the number of compounds that cause inflammation, eating salmon or other fatty fish can be a good way to relieve hangover symptoms.

17. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes contain several nutrients that can help you beat a hangover faster.

One cup (200 grams) of cooked sweet potato contains more than 750% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A, 14% of the daily recommended intake of magnesium and 27% of the daily recommended intake of potassium.

Vitamin A can help fight inflammation associated with hangovers, while magnesium and potassium are needed to replace what is lost during alcohol consumption.

18. Ginger

Extensive research supports the use of ginger as an effective remedy for nausea.

The anti-nausea effects of ginger make it a possible treatment for stomach upset associated with hangovers.

It can be consumed alone, in a smoothie or as a tea.

19. Water

Drinking water is one of the most important things you can do with a hangover.

Since alcohol is a diuretic, it makes you urinate more frequently and leads to increased water loss. Water can replenish these lost fluids.

Suggested for you: How much water should you drink per day?

20. Tomato juice

Tomato juice can be another good drink to drink with a hangover.

Research shows that tomatoes contain compounds that protect against liver damage. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage, so tomatoes can counter the effects of alcohol consumption.

Additionally, a test-tube study found that tomato juice can speed up the rate at which enzymes process alcohol.

21. Green tea

Green tea can also help fight hangovers.

One study found that compounds in green tea significantly reduced blood alcohol concentration in rats. Additional research shows similar effects in mice fed green tea extracts.

Although the research has only been conducted on animals, green tea’s effectiveness in improving hangover symptoms can translate to humans.

22. Coconut Water

Since hydration is such an important part of hangover recovery, drinking coconut water can help with hangover recovery.

Coconut water contains a lot of electrolytes. One cup (240 ml) of coconut water contains 11% and 17% of the recommended daily allowances of sodium and potassium respectively.

As a result, research has shown that coconut water is just as effective as traditional sports drinks for rehydration.

23. Cafe

Finally, coffee can be beneficial in beating a hangover.

Coffee consumption has been linked to decreased inflammation in some studies, but the research is mixed. Therefore, drinking a cup of coffee after a night of heavy drinking may or may not fight the inflammation caused by a hangover.

However, if you’re looking to improve your hangover-related fatigue and become more alert, coffee is a good choice.

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