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.
It’s thought that the body experiences specific hormonal and immune responses during a hangover that trigger different symptoms.
While there is no known cure for hangovers, several foods and drinks may alleviate symptoms.
Here are the 23 best foods and beverages to help ease a hangover.
Alcohol blocks the production of a hormone that helps your body hold on to water, leading to dehydration and the loss of electrolytes like potassium and sodium.
Bananas are especially rich in potassium and can help replenish your body’s stores. One medium banana contains 12% of the daily value (DV) for this nutrient.
Eggs are rich in cysteine, an amino acid that 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.
Since headache associated with a hangover is usually due to dehydration and decreased blood flow to the brain, eating watermelon may help.
Watermelon is rich in L-citrulline, a nutrient that may increase blood flow.
What’s more, its high water content can help you rehydrate.
Pickles are high in sodium, an electrolyte that is depleted during excessive drinking.
Eating pickles or drinking their brine may help boost your sodium levels and overcome your hangover.
One dill pickle spear contains about 13% of the DV for sodium. Even better, 2.5 ounces (75 ml) of pickle juice provides about 20% of the DV.
Keep in mind that the sodium content of pickles may vary by brand.
Because of its high fructose content, honey may improve hangover symptoms. In fact, it can be between 34.8% and 39.8% fructose, depending on the type.
While research on this subject is limited, fructose may help rid your body of alcohol more quickly.
One study in 50 adults found that honey increased the rate of alcohol elimination by up to 32.4%.
Despite its ability to increase the speed 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 with fructose should not be ruled out as a possible way to feel better after drinking too much.
Crackers contain fast-acting carbs that can increase your blood sugar during a hangover and improve related symptoms.
When the liver is processing alcohol, it no longer focuses on regulating blood sugar. This is why low blood sugar can result from excessive drinking, especially in people with diabetes. Eating carbs increases blood sugar.
Five saltine crackers (30 grams) contain approximately 22 grams of carbs.
Due to their high magnesium content, nuts may be a solution to your hangover.
Excessive alcohol consumption can deplete magnesium in your cells. As a result, refilling magnesium stores may help treat symptoms.
One-half cup (71 grams) of almonds packs close to 50% of the DV for magnesium.
Spinach is rich in folate, a nutrient that may be diminished due to heavy drinking.
A review of the research found that alcohol impairs folate absorption, and chronic alcohol intake 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 DV.
Eating avocados after a night of heavy drinking can help raise low potassium levels from alcohol consumption and dehydration.
In fact, one avocado (136 grams) packs 20% of the DV for this mineral.
What’s more, research shows that avocados contain compounds that protect against liver injury. Since drinking in excess takes a toll on your liver, avocados may be especially beneficial for hangovers.
Meat and other high-protein foods may help your body better handle a hangover.
Research shows that alcohol prevents your body from absorbing certain amino acids. In fact, chronic alcohol consumption can lead to amino acid deficiencies.
Your body breaks down protein into amino acids, making it a good choice during a hangover.
Three ounces (85 grams) of beef have close to 25 grams of protein, while three ounces (84 grams) of chicken breast pack 13 grams.
Oatmeal contains complex carbohydrates that provide a slow and steady release of sugar into the bloodstream and may help with hangover symptoms.
One study found that eating a breakfast full of complex carbs instead of refined sugars led to improved mood and fewer feelings of fatigue.
Reaching for oatmeal after a night of heavy drinking may help with hangover-related anxiety, fatigue or low blood sugar.
Blueberries are rich in nutrients that fight inflammation in your body, which comes in handy if you have a hangover.
A study in 20 men found that blood levels of various inflammatory compounds increased after alcohol consumption.
Thus, eating blueberries after having too much to drink may help fight related inflammation.
Chicken noodle soup is a popular remedy for the flu or common cold. However, it may also be helpful for hangovers.
Research shows that chicken noodle soup can help you rehydrate — mostly due to its high sodium content.
One cup (245 grams) of chicken noodle soup provides 35% of the DV for sodium.
Oranges are rich in vitamin C, which may 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 may give you the vitamin C you need to keep glutathione levels stable and even cure your hangover.
Asparagus packs certain compounds that may provide hangover relief.
According to one test-tube study, extracts in asparagus more than doubled the effectiveness of certain enzymes that help break down alcohol and also protected liver cells from damage.
Though there is currently no research on the effect of asparagus on hangovers in humans, eating this vegetable may be worth a try.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are excellent at decreasing inflammation in your body.
Since drinking alcohol can increase the number of compounds that cause inflammation, eating salmon or other fatty fish may be a good way to ease hangover symptoms.
Sweet potatoes contain several nutrients that may help you get over a hangover faster.
One cup (200 grams) of cooked sweet potato has over 750% of the DV for vitamin A, 14% of the DV for magnesium and 27% of the DV for potassium.
Vitamin A may help fight the inflammation associated with hangovers, while magnesium and potassium are needed to replace what’s lost during alcohol consumption.
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 the stomach upset associated with hangovers.
It can be eaten on its own, in smoothies or as a tea.
Drinking water is one of the most important things you can do with a hangover.
Since alcohol is a diuretic, it makes you pee more frequently and leads to increased water loss. Water can replenish these lost fluids.
Tomato juice may be another good beverage to drink with a hangover.
Research shows that tomatoes contain compounds that protect against liver injury. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage, so tomatoes may counter the effects of drinking alcohol.
Moreover, one test-tube study found that tomato juice can accelerate the rate at which enzymes process alcohol.
Green tea may be helpful in fighting hangovers, too.
One study found that compounds in green tea significantly decreased blood alcohol concentration in rats. Additional research shows similar effects in mice fed green tea extracts.
While research has only been done in animals, the effectiveness of green tea in improving hangover symptoms may translate to humans.
Since hydration is such an important part of hangover recovery, drinking coconut water may facilitate getting over a hangover.
Coconut water contains lots of electrolytes. One cup (240 ml) of coconut water has 11% and 17% of the DVs for sodium and potassium respectively.
As a result, research has shown that coconut water is just as effective as traditional sports drinks for rehydration.
Lastly, coffee may be beneficial for beating a hangover.
Coffee consumption has been linked to decreased inflammation in some studies, but the research is mixed. Therefore, drinking a cup of joe after a night of heavy drinking may or may not fight inflammation from a hangover.
However, if you’re looking to improve your hangover fatigue and become more alert, coffee is a good choice.
While there is no magical cure for a hangover, several foods and drinks may help you feel better.
The best way to prevent a hangover is to avoid alcohol altogether or to drink it in moderation.
If you do find yourself suffering from a hangover, consuming some of the foods or beverages on this list can have you back to normal in no time.