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.
While there is no known cure for hangovers, several foods and drinks may alleviate symptoms (4).
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 (5).
Eggs are rich in cysteine, an amino acid that your body uses to produce the antioxidant glutathione.
Eating cysteine-rich eggs is a great way to increase glutathione in your body and possibly improve hangover symptoms.
Watermelon is rich in L-citrulline, a nutrient that may increase blood flow (11).
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.
Keep in mind that the sodium content of pickles may vary by brand.
One study in 50 adults found that honey increased the rate of alcohol elimination by up to 32.4% (15).
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 (17).
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 (18, 19).
Due to their high magnesium content, nuts may be a solution to your hangover.
One-half cup (71 grams) of almonds packs close to 50% of the DV for magnesium (23).
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 (24).
Eating avocados after a night of heavy drinking can help raise low potassium levels from alcohol consumption and dehydration.
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 (27).
Meat and other high-protein foods may help your body better handle a hangover.
Your body breaks down protein into amino acids, making it a good choice during a hangover.
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 (32).
Reaching for oatmeal after a night of heavy drinking may help with hangover-related anxiety, fatigue or low blood sugar.
A study in 20 men found that blood levels of various inflammatory compounds increased after alcohol consumption (34).
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 (35).
One cup (245 grams) of chicken noodle soup provides 35% of the DV for sodium (36).
Oranges are rich in vitamin C, which may prevent your body from losing glutathione.
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 (41).
Though there is currently no research on the effect of asparagus on hangovers in humans, eating this vegetable may be worth a try.
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 (43).
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 (44).
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.
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 (53, 54, 55).
Moreover, one test-tube study found that tomato juice can accelerate the rate at which enzymes process alcohol (56).
Green tea may be helpful in fighting hangovers, too.
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 (59).
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 (62, 63, 64).
However, if you’re looking to improve your hangover fatigue and become more alert, coffee is a good choice (65).
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.