What to Drink for a Hangover: Top 4 Beverages
After a night of heavy drinking, what do you drink to alleviate hangover symptoms? From sports drinks to salty soups, there are countless hangover cures that people swear by after drinking alcohol the night before.
But the best drinks are always hydrating, like our Hydrating Electrolyte Powder Pack, and skip the mountains of sugar and salt.
In this guide, we'll take you through what a hangover is, the best drinks to consume the morning after, and a few drinks to avoid at all costs.
What is a Hangover?
After consuming alcohol, you might experience a hangover - a group of symptoms that usually arise the morning after. Believe it or not, scientists still aren't entirely sure what causes a hangover, except that it occurs after high blood alcohol levels.
The severity of your hangover symptoms may be in part due to biological factors. Some people rarely experience a hangover while others feel incredibly ill. Likewise, your alcohol metabolism may mean you can drink more without getting a hangover than others can.
Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases your need to urinate. To help the body process alcohol, replacing hydration, electrolytes and nutrients that are lost as the alcohol depletes is key.
A hangover drink may also contain ingredients that target common hangover symptoms.
Hangover Symptoms to Expect
Common hangover symptoms include:
- Dehydration, leading to a drop in blood pressure, can cause your blood vessels to constrict in an attempt to increase that blood pressure. These changes in blood pressure can exasperate feelings of nausea and fatigue.1
- A pounding headache that may be caused by an increase in inflammation.
- An upset stomach caused by alcohol irritating your stomach lining and increasing acid levels.
- Disrupted sleep, or waking up feeling tired despite falling asleep earlier.2
- The disrupted fluid balance can also cause low blood sugar. However, one study found that administering sugar to increase the low blood glucose levels associated with a hangover did not affect the symptoms of a hangover - so giving into those sugar cravings isn't going to prevent anything!3
Based on the common symptoms that arise from dehydration and increased inflammation, the best way to reduce hangover symptoms is to rehydrate. You can find our drink recommendations below.
The Dangers of Heavy Drinking
Although the symptoms of a hangover can all be cured with good hydration, frequent heavy drinking can cause permanent damage that won't be solved with a good cup of tea.
The long-term effects of consuming alcohol can impact muscle function, hormonal alterations impacting mood and behavior, and liver function causing liver inflammation.
At Zest, we're all about clean eating and nutritious beverages. If you need help quitting alcohol and turning a new page, there are plenty of resources at American Addiction Centers to get started.
4 Drinks To Try As A Hangover Cure
From bone broth to raw eggs, there are many strange stories of beverages curing hangovers. But we've selected four drinks that are scientifically proven to help overcome the symptoms of a hangover so you can recover faster.
1. Zest Hydration Powder Pack
Research suggests that one of the key elements to hangover relief is rehydrating your body and replenishing the vital nutrients you may have lost.
While water is a great way to rehydrate (in fact, it's next on our list) there are better ways to go about it.
Our Hydration Powder Pack contains essential electrolytes - sodium, chloride and potassium - along with glucose to keep your energy up and vitamins for overall well being. These electrolytes ensure that water doesn't just pass through your body, but moves into cells and is retained by your body.4
With electrolytes lost due to dehydration, drinking Zest electrolyte powder (just mix it into your water bottle) can keep your body hydrated for longer.
Without electrolytes, get ready to drink a big glass of water... and keep them coming! Drinking plain water is a great way to rehydrate your body, flush out any alcohol that's left, and get your blood pressure back where it should be.
While you might not retain as much hydration as you would if you mixed in some Zest Hydration Powder, you'll still be doing a world of good for your body.
If you don't like to drink water plain, you can try adding some flavor or even a beverage like coconut water - just keep an eye out for the added and natural sugar levels.
As we'll explore below, too much sugar isn't what you need right now.
3. Veg Smoothie
Blending some cooked spinach, grated ginger, coconut oil and beet juice is not just tasty, but a good way to replenish your body. It's providing some hydration, natural sugars to get your energy up, and some amino acids and other plant nutrients too.
A review into natural products for the treatment of hangovers and alcohol use disorder highlighted these ingredients as having potential:
- Fenugreek seeds - protect against alcohol toxicity,
- Mango - might enhance alcohol metabolism,
- Persimmon - antioxidants improve liver lipid profile,
- Ginger - treats nausea and has hepatoprotective properties,
- Asparagus - might enhance alcohol metabolism.5
Add some pineapple juice or tomato juice to taste.
4. Herbal Tea
Herbal teas have a wide range of benefits, from having anti-inflammatory properties to being a pain reliever. Honey chrysanthemum tea, for example, may be helpful for accelerating alcohol metabolism.6
Explore our article Types of Herbal Tea to learn more. Add some fresh slices of ginger and lemon juice to taste.
4 Drinks to Avoid After Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Certain drinks, particularly sugary drinks like soda and salty foods like miso soup, are best avoided for your morning cup after a hangover.
Soda and sugary sports drinks are not good after a night of drinking, simply because they may contribute to dehydration rather than hydration!
Too much sugar - excessive amounts, rather than the small amount of natural sugar you might find in your fresh smoothie - spikes your blood sugar levels. To combat this, your body may produce more urine to flush that sugar out.
This is more likely to happen if you are diabetic or take certain medications.7 However, even when we put the sugar content aside, soda doesn't have the electrolytes or antioxidants that our recommended beverages contain.
2. More Alcohol
Drinking more alcohol to overcome a hangover, also known as 'hair of the dog', just adds more excessive drinking.
While an extra shot in your morning coffee may numb the symptoms of your hangover for a while, you're really just prolonging the inevitable.
Most doctors agree that it's just a bad idea.8 If you can't handle a hangover, perhaps you should avoid drinking alcohol.
3. High Caffeine Tea
While herbal tea and even low-caffeine green tea may be beneficial for some symptoms, not all drinks that come under the umbrella of tea are good for a hangover.
The CDC states that caffeine has no effect on the metabolism of alcohol, nor does it reduce any impairment from drinking alcohol.9
Furthermore, while studies have found that caffeine doesn't lead to fluid loss (dehydration), they haven't found that it hydrates you either.10
Ultimately, we recommend you enjoy the amino acid health benefits of our energy tea later in the day. Stick to our Hydrating Electrolyte Powder for your hangover symptoms!
4. Concentrated Fruit Juice
Fresh orange juice, with pulp, provides some vitamin C and fiber - so go ahead and add it to your hangover smoothie. Concentrated orange juice, on the other hand, might not be as great.
Up to 90% of fresh fruit juice is water - exactly what you need for rehydrating. Concentrated fruit juice reduces that percentage, but doesn't necessarily mean that you're consuming more electrolytes or nutrients that you need to recover from your hangover.
If you want to drink concentrated fruit juice instead of freshly juiced beverages (it's more convenient, after all), make sure that you find beverages that don't have added sugar or salt.11
Swap Sugar and Caffeine for Electrolytes!
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to a bad hangover. But by rehydrating your body, you can recover and get on with your day. Rather than our high-caffeine energy tea, try our hydrating electrolyte powder packs.
With electrolytes, glucose, and B vitamins, it's a nutritious powder you can mix with water to create a hydrating, hangover-busting drink.
Learn more about our electrolyte powder drinks in our article Fasting Electrolyte Powder: Everything You Need to Know.
What is the best drink for a hangover?
Choose an anti-inflammatory, hydrating beverage with electrolytes, like the Zest Hydration Powder Pack or coconut water. Avoid overly sugary or salty beverages like bone broth.
What drinks help with hangover symptoms?
The symptoms of a hangover mostly link to dehydration, so choose a beverage that's hydrating and/or has additional health benefits that combat inflammation and nausea.
Should you have caffeine for a hangover?
A small amount of caffeine, e.g. from a standard green tea, isn't going to hurt your hangover. However, there's little evidence that caffeine can negate the effects of alcohol consumption either.
Caffeinated beverages as hangover cures only work if they're super hydrating.
What time should you stop drinking alcohol?
The CDC recommends consuming no more than 1 or 2 drinks per day. Depending on your alcohol metabolism, you may be able to drink more than someone else without feeling the effects.
Regardless, consuming coconut water, miso soup or any other 'hangover cure' before you go to bed is unlikely to have any effect. Choosing hydrating beverages with anti-inflammatory properties the next morning may help, however!
What tea is good for a hangover?
A low caffeine green tea or herbal tea is good to consume after excessive alcohol consumption, to rehydrate and provide antioxidants that may help your liver or reduce another symptom, like nausea for example.
Is plain water the best hangover cure?
After drinking alcohol, rehydrating with water, coconut water, or an electrolyte powder pack is great! Drinking overly sweet or salty beverages, like bone broth, won't cure your symptoms as effectively.
Read How to Cure a Hangover next.
What are the best hangover foods?
Hangover drinks rehydrate you and can quell stomach upset. Several foods may also be beneficial, such as oatmeal, eggs, fresh fruit and protein-rich meats.12 Spicy food doesn't make the list!