When you’ve had one too many drinks the night before, you probably wake up looking for the quickest way to cure a hangover.
Hangovers occur for a number of reasons, including dehydration, poor sleep quality from alcohol metabolism, blood sugar imbalances, and inflammation (
While it’s ideal to avoid the hangover in the first place by limiting alcohol, drinking plenty of water when you’re drinking, and not drinking on an empty stomach, certain smoothies may help if you find yourself in need of some symptom relief.
In this article, we explore how smoothies might help with your hangover, the best ingredients to include, and some hangover smoothie ideas.
While smoothies are unlikely to cure a hangover, they may reduce symptoms and help you feel better more quickly.
Smoothies offer hydration
Alcohol has a diuretic effect, meaning it increases your urine output. This can lead to dehydration, which is one of the biggest contributors to hangover symptoms like headache, fatigue, and lightheadedness (
In addition, if your excess alcohol intake leads to vomiting or diarrhea, you lose more fluids and electrolytes.
Lastly, excess alcohol consumption may increase sweating, resulting in even more water and electrolyte losses (
Smoothies can include fluids and electrolytes that help rehydrate your body after a night of drinking too much, which may help improve symptoms.
Make smoothies with hydrating ingredients like water, coconut water, unsweetened milks (dairy or plant-based), fruits, and vegetables to increase your fluid intake.
One study showed that electrolytes including sodium and potassium helped with rehydration after severe dehydration. Add coconut water, dates, bananas, sweet potato, or avocado for a potassium boost (
However, it’s best not to add sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, agave, sweetened milks, or fruit juice with added sugar to your smoothie because added sugar can actually exacerbate dehydration. Instead, sweeten with fruit (
Smoothies can provide fluid and electrolytes, which may combat one of the biggest contributors to a hangover: dehydration. Add plenty of liquid, fruits, and vegetables and skip the added sugar in your smoothie for a hydrating drink.
Smoothies can stabilize your blood sugar
When you consume alcohol, your liver prioritizes processing it over anything else, including regulating your blood sugar. That can lead to a drop in blood sugar, which leaves you feeling tired and lightheaded (
Smoothies, when made with a balance of nutrients, can help increase and then regulate your blood sugar to reduce symptoms.
To do this, include carbohydrates in your drink.
- The carbohydrates found in fruit and milk can provide quick energy while also offering some fiber (fruit) or protein (milk), which supports blood sugar management. Include a variety of fresh or frozen fruits or milk in your smoothie for an energy boost (10).
- The carbohydrates found in vegetables and whole grains can help support blood sugar management because they are digested slowly due to their high fiber content. Try adding a handful of spinach, cauliflower rice, zucchini, or even rolled or quick oats for more sustained energy (11).
Additionally, protein can also help stabilize your blood sugar, especially when paired with carbs. Make your smoothie with protein from sources like (12):
- Greek yogurt
- dairy milk
- fortified soy milk
- pea protein milk
- silken tofu
- protein powder
Drops in blood sugar thanks to alcohol consumption can contribute to hangover symptoms. Smoothies balanced with carbohydrates and protein may support blood sugar regulation and help ease symptoms.
A note from Healthline
A hangover every now and then isn’t likely to be cause for concern. However, excessive alcohol use can lead to physical and mental health concerns, including substance use disorders like alcohol use disorder.
If you frequently drink so much that you experience strong hangovers or feel that your relationship with alcohol is stressful or harmful, consider talking with a medical professional or therapist for support.
For more information, check out some resources here. Programs that may be able to help include:
In addition to making a smoothie that has a mix of protein and carbs, there are some smoothie ingredients that may help reduce nausea, headache, and other inflammation-related symptoms when you’re hungover.
Studies have shown that ginger may help ease nausea. Ginger’s nausea-reducing effects have mostly been studied in people who are pregnant or undergoing chemotherapy treatments, but it may help with hangover-related nausea as well (
Studies in animals have shown that ginger may reduce the negative effects that alcohol has on the liver, including treating alcohol fatty liver disease, but more research is needed (15, 16).
Lastly, ginger is well known as an anti-inflammatory food, and since alcohol increases inflammation in our bodies, ginger may help reduce any inflammation-related symptoms (14).
While more research is needed in humans, adding some fresh ginger to your smoothie may help you feel better and reduce alcohol-related inflammation and stress.
Avocados are jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, some of which may reduce your hangover symptoms. They are an excellent source of potassium, which can replace losses in urine and support rehydration (
Other good sources of potassium include bananas and dates (
Studies in mice have shown that mango can help reduce blood levels of alcohol after excess consumption. It did this by increasing the production of enzymes that help break down alcohol (16).
We need more research in humans to confirm that effect, but mango is also a good source of carbs and water that can help give you some energy and support hydration after a night of drinking. They contribute some potassium, too (
Pears and pear juice
Animal studies have shown that juice from Asian pears increases the enzyme activity that helps break down alcohol, which may support faster alcohol metabolism and reduce hangover symptoms (16).
One human study did show that pears led to an increase in alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme that increases alcohol metabolism by a significant amount, but we need more research to be sure (
Additionally, a small study in adults tested a juice made from grapes, pears, and a leafy green known as A. keiskei in treating hangover and found that it significantly reduced headaches post-alcohol consumption (
Kale and spinach
Leafy greens like kale have been shown to support liver health, and a healthy liver can remove alcohol from the body appropriately (
Spinach may increase alcohol dehydrogenase and therefore help metabolize alcohol more quickly
Greens like kale and spinach contain magnesium and potassium, both of which may be depleted with alcohol consumption, and can reduce symptoms of withdrawal and dehydration (
They also contain antioxidants that may reduce inflammation-related symptoms (
Oats contain two nutrients that may reduce hangover symptoms: zinc and L-cysteine (
One small study showed that L-cysteine supplements improved nausea and other hangover symptoms. While more research is needed to understand actual benefits, oats may be helpful (
Oats also contain some zinc, which one small study suggests may reduce overall hangover severity (
Oats may not be the first ingredient that comes to mind when making a smoothie, but quick or rolled oats can thicken a smoothie and, when blended with the right ingredients, can create a cookie dough- or muffin-like flavor.
Nuts and nut butter
Nuts and nut butter are a good source of magnesium, which is known to be lower in heavy drinkers, and may help replete lost stores (
Cashews and almonds also contribute zinc to your diet, which may further reduce your hangover (
Lastly, they contribute unsaturated fats, which may help regulate your blood sugar and symptoms related to a drop in blood sugar from excess alcohol consumption (
Seeds like flax and pumpkin seeds also contain these nutrients and may offer similar benefits (
Yogurt is another common smoothie ingredient that may help your hangover symptoms. Like oats, yogurt contains cysteine, which may help with alcohol-induced nausea (
It also contributes zinc, potassium, and sodium, three nutrients that are depleted with excess alcohol consumption (
Lastly, yogurt contributes protein, which can help address any post-alcohol drops in blood sugar (12).
Coconut water may help with rehydrating after you’ve had too much alcohol. It’s particularly high in potassium, which may run low after more frequent trips to the bathroom post-drinking (
Coconut water may also improve your body’s ability to break down alcohol (
The research comparing coconut water to regular water is mixed. Some studies suggest it is more hydrating, while others do not. Either way, it provides hydration without any added sugar, making it a good choice of liquid to add to your smoothie (36).
Limes have been shown to increase the body’s ability to make alcohol dehydrogenase, which helps break down alcohol and may reduce hangover symptoms (
In fact, in a review of ingredients that help reduce hangovers, the authors suggest combining lime juice, coconut water, and pears for a hangover cure, which could be a good base for a smoothie paired with a protein source and ice (
Many common smoothie ingredients contain nutrients that may help reduce hangover symptoms. However, more research is needed in humans to determine the true benefits of these foods.
If you’re ready to blend up a smoothie in hopes of kicking a headache to the curb or feeling more energetic, include these ingredients for a hangover-alleviating smoothie:
- a mix of fruits and vegetables for carbohydrates, nutrient repletion, and hydration
- liquid, such as water, coconut water, plant milk, or dairy milk
- a protein source to stabilize blood sugar, such as Greek yogurt, silken tofu, beans, or protein powder
- bonus ingredients like ginger, avocado, oats, nuts, seeds, and yogurt for additional support
And here are a few power smoothie combos to help relieve your hangover:
- mango, banana, avocado, spinach, ginger, and coconut water
- blueberries, oats, almond butter, chickpeas, dates, and unsweetened almond milk
- pineapple, kale, ginger, pear juice, ground flax, and ice
- banana, peanut butter, oats, Greek yogurt, and milk of choice
- raspberries, strawberries, mango, lemon juice, spinach, and coconut water
- spinach, kale, mango, lime juice, mint, hemp seeds, and water
If you’re drinking a smoothie as a meal, be sure to include a protein source to keep it balanced and satisfying.
You can add unflavored protein powder or silken tofu to any of these smoothies for a protein source without affecting the flavor of your smoothie.
There’s no guaranteed quick cure for a hangover other than avoiding them in the first place by limiting alcohol intake.
However, smoothies provide hydration and can regulate your blood sugar, two things that may help kick hangover symptoms to the curb.
In addition, there are some foods and beverages that you can add to a smoothie that may ease symptoms, such as ginger, pear juice, and mango.
Other ingredients like avocados, oats, yogurt, leafy greens, nuts, and coconut water contain vitamins and minerals that may help with hangover symptoms.
At the very least, smoothies can be easy to digest and tolerate when you’re not feeling well. And a smoothie can be a refreshing and delicious way to boost your nutrition intake, so there’s really no downside to drinking one when hungover.
Just one thing
Try this today: Use frozen fruit instead of fresh to save money and make a cool, creamy smoothie without ice.