We were all there! Pulsating headache, upset stomach and dry mouth. Even though it seemed like a good idea last night, your body certainly doesn’t thank you for it today! While it is true that the only real way to avoid a hangover is to avoid drinking alcohol, some foods can slightly reduce the symptoms and make the next day a little more tolerable.
Coconut water is one of the most moisturizing liquids you can drink. So much so that many athletes use it to rehydrate during exercise, rather than electrolyte drinks or water. One of the main culprits of hangovers is dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic that makes you urinate more often, removing water and certain electrolytes from the body. Coconut water contains an excellent balance of both, which can help rehydrate and help break down alcohol in the body.
When you drink alcohol, your body tries to break it down by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase. Studies show that lime can improve the body’s ability to produce this enzyme and can speed up the breakdown of any alcohol left in the body. Unfortunately, eating a lime on its own with a nausea stomach could be a little too much! Instead, mix a little lemon juice in coconut water for hydration benefits and improved alcohol breakdown.
Ginger has been used for centuries to help treat nausea, and scientific research seems to support this benefit. Ginger can also have a long-lasting effect on the body, as some studies suggest that it helps treat fatty liver disease caused by alcohol. Combine that with its anti-inflammatory properties and you’ll have a great early morning pick me up. The easiest way to get ginger is to wrap it around a miniature and swallow it with a little water.
Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are another type of food that can help break down alcohol by increasing the production of alcohol dehydrogenase. They also contain significant levels of magnesium and potassium, which can be lowered after a night of drinking. Studies also show that green leafy vegetables could help your liver health in the long run, which means that, as a regular part of your diet, your liver may be more effective at removing alcohol from your body.
Animal studies suggest that Asian pear juice may help increase alcohol and hydrogenase, helping to reduce symptoms. There has been little work directly on humans, but a study has shown that when mixed with other fruits, pears can significantly reduce headaches after drinking alcohol. Although more research is needed, the signs are optimistic that it could help reduce the symptoms of a hangover.
Clearly, if you don’t want a hangover, then it’s a good idea not to drink! However, if it is already too late, what you eat can help relieve some of your symptoms. Not only that, but these options are healthy additions to most diets, so you certainly wouldn’t mind if you tried them.
- “Influence of foodstuffs on hangovers based on the activities of alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase” by Shraddha Srinivasan, Kriti Kumari Dubey and Rekha S. Singhal, September 17, 2019, Current research in food science.
DOI: 10.1016 / j.crfs.2019.09.001
- “Ginger from Farmyard to Town: Nutritional and Pharmacological Applications” by Jeremiah Oshiomame Unuofin, Nelisiwe Prenate Masuku, Oluwatomiwa Kehinde Paimo and Sogolo Lucky Lebelo, November 26, 2021, Frontiers in pharmacology.
DOI: 10.3389 / fphar.2021.779352
- “Natural Products for the Prevention and Treatment of Hangovers and Alcohol-Related Disorders” by Fang Wang, Ya Li, Yu-Jie Zhang, Yue Zhou, Sha Li and Hua-Bin Li, January 7, 2016, Molecules.
DOI: 10.3390 / molecules21010064
- “Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Liver Disease 2014” by Yong-Song Guan, June 28, 2015, Complementary and evidence-based alternative medicine.
DOI: 10.1155 / 2015/824185
- “The Effect of Fruit and Vegetable Mixture on Alcoholic Hangovers in Healthy Adults” by Min-Ju Kim, Sang-Wook Lim, Jong-Hyun Kim, Da-Jeong Choe, Jung-In Kim and Min-Jung Kang, 2018, Preventive nutrition and food science.
DOI: 10.3746 / pnf.2018.23.1.1