We’ve all been there – a night of drinking with friends, followed by a morning of regret and a pounding headache. Hangovers can be brutal, but natural remedies can help alleviate the symptoms and prevent them from ruining your day. Here are the 10 best natural hangover cures.
Best Hangover Cures
Before we get into what to do once you’ve already got a hangover, let’s first talk about what exactly a hangover is and how to prevent one. As many of you know, a hangover is the unpleasant side effect of drinking too much alcohol. It’s usually characterized by dehydration, headache, nausea, and vomiting. The severity of a hangover depends on how much you drink, but it can last anywhere from 24 hours to several days. A hangover is basically your body’s response to having drunk too much alcohol over too short a period of time – it tries to flush out the toxins in your system with an increase in urination and sweating. (1)
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What Causes a Hangover?
The liver is our body’s main organ for detoxifying the blood. It does this by breaking down alcohol into acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical that is then broken down further into acetate, which can be excreted in the urine. When you drink too much alcohol too quickly, your liver cannot keep up with the demand, disrupting this process. This causes toxins to build up in your body, leading to a hangover.
So now we have a better understanding of what causes a hangover, let’s look at ways to reduce your risk of getting one.
- Drink slowly. Your body can only process about 1 ounce of alcohol per hour on average (though this will vary depending on the weight and sex of the person). So if you are planning on drinking, take your time and space out the alcohol over a few hours. This will allow your body to process the alcohol at a steady rate.
- Do not drink on an empty stomach. Drinking on an empty stomach will cause your blood alcohol levels to spike more quickly than if you had eaten something before drinking. If you decide to drink while hungry, eat something within 1 hour of finishing your last drink.
- Drink plenty of water. As mentioned above, dehydration can lead to a hangover, so it is important that you stay hydrated throughout the night.
- Drink in moderation. The more you drink, the more likely it is that you will experience a hangover. If you are going out with friends and want to have fun without feeling miserable the next morning, try not to go overboard on drinking.
The Best Hangover Cures
Okay so let’s be honest here: There are no real hangover ‘cures.’ There are ways, however, to manage the symptoms as your body recovers. These are some of the top tips for feeling better quickly after a night out.
Drinking water is the most important thing you can do to prevent and cure a hangover. Alcohol dehydrates your body, so drinking water before, during, and after drinking can help keep you hydrated. (2)
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help ease nausea and vomiting. Try drinking ginger tea or taking ginger supplements before and after drinking. (3)
Bananas are high in potassium, which can help replenish electrolytes lost during drinking. Eating a banana or two before bed can help prevent a hangover.
Eggs are high in cysteine, an amino acid that can help break down acetaldehyde, a toxic byproduct of alcohol. Eating eggs for breakfast may help ease hangover symptoms. (4)
5. Coconut water
Coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes and can help rehydrate your body. Drinking coconut water before bed and in the morning can help prevent and cure a hangover. Other electrolyte beverages can also be beneficial for the same reasons. (5)
Getting enough sleep is essential for preventing and curing a hangover. Alcohol can disrupt your sleep, so try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep after drinking.
7. Sweat it out
Exercise is a great way to get rid of a hangover. A workout will help your body sweat out the alcohol and improve circulation. Try taking a walk or doing some light exercise in the morning after drinking.
8. Eat carbohydrates
Excessive drinking can often cause your blood sugar to be low. Eating carbohydrate-rich foods will help to increase your blood sugar. This will help ease symptoms such as fatigue and weakness. If you are feeling nauseous, stick to bland carbohydrates such as toast or plain oatmeal.
9. Prickly pear extract
Prickly pear extract is a natural hangover remedy. It is often used to treat nausea, indigestion and diarrhea. Studies have shown it to have a rather impressive hangover-relieving effect. (6)
Asparagus is a great hangover cure. It contains specific amino acids and nutrients, which helps to improve liver function and reduce inflammation. These proteins and minerals were found to have a protective effect on the liver. Not only will this help you feel better, but it’s also good for your general health. (7)
The Bottom Line
Many natural remedies can help prevent and do their best to ‘cure’ a hangover. The healthiest and most effective way to prevent hangovers is to be mindful of your drinking habits. Drink in moderation, space your drinks out, and remember that no matter what kind of event you’re at – birthday, wedding, holiday party – not every beverage you consume needs to be an alcoholic one. Of course, you also don’t need to drink at all. Every day more alcohol-free drink choices are being created, and even alcohol-free bars are cropping up in cities around the world. If you think you have a drinking problem, reach out to your healthcare provider, your local AA group, or someone you trust.
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- “Hangovers.” NIAAA
- “The 10 best remedies to cure a hangover.” Insider. Honah Liles. December 30, 2022.
- “The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy.” NCBI. Iñaki Lete and José Allué. March 2016.
- “Cellular and Molecular Evidence of Acetaldehyde Elimination and Intracellular Environment Antioxidation by L-Cysteine.” Hindawi. Zhenjing Li, et al. September 24, 2018.
- “Influence of food commodities on hangover based on alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase activities.” Science Direct. Shraddha Srinivasan, et al. November 2019.
- “A standardized extract of the fruit of Hovenia dulcis alleviated alcohol-induced hangover in healthy subjects with heterozygous ALDH2: A randomized, controlled, crossover trial.” Science Direct. Hoejin Kim, et al. September 2017.
- “Effects of Asparagus officinalis Extracts on Liver Cell Toxicity and Ethanol Metabolism.” IFT. B.-Y. Kim, et al. September 2009.