Did someone have a little too much to drink last night? At the time of this writing, we’re just a few days past New Year’s Eve, and we know that millions of Americans woke up this past Sunday morning with a pounding headache and a churching stomach. Sounds like you could have used one of the best hangover cures, huh?
Sadly, even if you feel like a slug that’s crawled into a bowl of salt, you still have to get out of bed eventually and go to work, take care of your kids, or walk your dog. And even if you’re telling yourself, “never again,” or practicing a Dry January with one of the best non-alcoholic drinks or maybe a mocktail, we’re guessing this won’t be the last hangover of your life. That’s we’re urging you to be proactive and keep some of the best hangover cures on hand for your future self.
So what are the best hangover cures? As your high school health teacher probably told you about premarital sex, abstinence is really the only way to guarantee a hangover-free existence. Once the alcohol is in your body, there’s only so much you can do. Still, understanding what hangovers are can be a helpful way to minimize the morning-after side effects of binge drinking.
All in all, your best friend will be electrolytes. Specifically, “science-backed, all-natural, no-sugar-added electrolytes,” says Registered Dietician Brooke Alpert. “When you’re dehydrated, you haven’t just lost water in your cells; you are low on the essential minerals like sodium and potassium that your body needs,” Alpert says. Using electrolytes to revitalize your body in advance will ensure your body is properly absorbing water to keep the hydration going.
If You Only Buy One Thing…
Blowfish for Hangovers is a SPY reader favorite, and like other so-called “cures,” we can’t speak to its effectiveness as a medical product. Still, it contains the ingredients we look for when dealing with a hangover, and Blowfish says that it features a formula that’s “scientifically formulated to relieve hangover symptoms” as quickly as possible. This hangover remedy includes pre-dissolved, extra-strength Asprin and pharmaceutical-grade caffeine to get you back on your feet. Like Alka Seltzer, a time-honored hangover treatment, Blowfish dissolves quickly in water.
What Is a Hangover? And How Can I Stop Feeling This Way?
A hangover refers to the constellation of unpleasant side effects that follow a night of heavy drinking. Alcohol has a number of negative effects on the body, and common symptoms of a hangover include lethargy, upset stomach, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, thirst, and sensitivity to light or sound.
According to The Mayo Clinic, alcohol damages your body in a few different ways. First, alcohol can cause your blood sugar to drop, which can cause a general feeling of fatigue and shakiness the next day. Alcohol is also a powerful diuretic, meaning that it causes you to urinate more than usual, and thus inducing dehydration. Excessive drinking can also cause your blood vessels to expand, leading to headaches the next day. Finally, alcohol is a depressive substance, so drunk people (and hungover people) are prone to sleepiness and passing out.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic pill or food that you can consume that will make you feel better instantly. Sorry! So how can you get rid of a hangover?
Many people believe that drinking water will help prevent a hangover, and that consuming a greasy meal the morning after can help prevent the worst hangover symptoms. Dutch researchers actually conducted a study to test these hangover remedies, and they followed 800 Dutch students to see what, if anything, helped them deal with hangovers. Drinking water had a very minimal effect, and the researchers concluded that avoiding alcohol was the only viable option.
Ultimately, that leaves us with nothing but home remedies. In many cases, the best hangover cures may offer little more than a placebo effect, and we can’t promise that the hangover remedies below will magically cure your symptoms. However, we also know that anecdotally drinking water before, during and after drinking does seem to help us minimize hangovers, and eating a fatty meal is satisfying if nothing else. And according to one alternative medicine expert, there are some reasons to believe folk cures like pickle juice actually do help relieve hangover symptoms.
“When you have a hangover, it’s imperative to support your liver because it’s hard work for our livers to metabolize the excess alcohol,” says Katie Brindle, author and Chinese medicine practitioner. “You want to consume foods and beverages that can help to support and detoxify the liver such as fruits, vinegar-based items like pickles, sauerkraut, and proteins such as turkey and freshwater fish,” she says. You will also want to rehydrate, tamp down your queasy stomach, reduce your headache and regain energy. Here are some of the best hangover cures to help you cope with the morning after.
We’ve collected popular hangover cures below, so if you’re feeling sick and are desperate for relief, you can always give one of these treatments a shot.
Blowfish For Hangovers
Blowfish is similar to Alka-Seltzer in its effervescence. It combines aspirin and caffeine for a hangover fighting one-two punch. It will give you a pop of energy and hopefully ease the pain of that throbbing headache. Simply add two tablets to a glass of water and consume. Thankfully, it usually takes about 15-20 minutes to get going.
Alka-Seltzer Original Effervescent Tablets
While dropping a couple of these into a glass of water and watching the bubbles rise to the surface may make you feel like you are officially a grandpa, it is one of the best hangover cures for people dealing with both an upset stomach and a headache. People have relied on Alka Seltzer to cope with hangovers for generations, but like everything else on our list, it isn’t going to cure you entirely, and your mileage may vary. You’ll definitely want to pair this with plenty of water.
Pedialyte has become one of the leading beverages for hangovers in recent years. This formula, originally a rehydration drink for toddlers and those with the stomach flu, has become one of the most well-known sports drinks in the world for its electrolyte-to-sugar ratio. Pedialyte is formulated to quickly deliver the hydration and nutrition your body needs, but it has half the amount of sugar as some of the sports drink on the market.
Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier
This hydration product isn’t marketed as a hangover cure but rather a hydration product for athletes. Like a lot of the best hangover cures, it’s been appropriated by drunk people for its hangover-busting effects. This hydration mix is packed with electrolytes, vitamins and minerals to help your body recover. Liquid I.V. also has more than 77,000 ratings from Amazon customers, and a number of Amazon customers have raved about its ability to ease hangovers after a night of drinking.
Electrolytes help regulate fluid levels in your body, and since drinking can affect electrolytes and hydration, two of the reasons your head is pounding and your body is aching, many people crave sports drinks after a night of drinking. Gatorade has a ton of electrolytes, which helps replenish your hydration levels back to homeostasis. However, don’t overdo it with Gatorade consumption, as most flavors have lots of sugar and sodium. Best to pair it with plenty of water.
Cure Hydrating Electrolyte Mix
Looking for the cure? Well, look no further than Cure — the electrolyte mix hoping to cure your hangover. Cure has the ability to help your hangover “via pink Himalayan salt and coconut water, which will ensure that the water you’re consuming is better absorbed by your body, and help your body better retain the hydration – which in turn will reduce the symptoms of a hangover,” says Registered Dietician Brooke Alpert. Every drink is entirely rooted in nature and 100% vegan, making each mix something quite worth your while if you’re more prone to purchasing natural products.
Flyby Recovery Pills
Looking for something in a pill form? Well, if you don’t want ibuprofen, try Flyby. These recovery pills are electrolyte capsules packed with dihydromyricetin (DHM), milk thistle and vitamin B12 to help folks feel better when they’re feeling their worst. Pills are designed to rapidly hydrate and replenish nutrients in the body so you can stay headache free the day after.
Organic Chrysanthemum Floral Tea
“Chrysanthemum tea with dried orange peel works as a booster of energy, circulation and fosters recovery in the body,” says Brindle. If you’re feeling queasy after a night out, reach for one of these Korean tea bags. Koreans have been drinking this tea since the 8th century, and Organic Chrysanthemum Floral Tea is a pesticide-free tea that’s perfect for soothing your body.
The best hangover cures don’t have to involve pickle juice or other strange concoctions. Sometimes, good old-fashioned ibuprofen will do nicely. Over-the-counter painkillers like Advil can sometimes help reduce a pounding headache and help you to start feeling like yourself. Stick to the recommended dosage as taking more can cause stomach upset. Additionally, you should consume an NSAID like Advil with food. No need to make things worse by trying to over-treat your current issue. Finally, if you think you’re still intoxicated, wait until the alcohol has left your system before popping some Advil.
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While we don’t think it’s a great idea to jump all the way back on the train, having a little bit of the hair of the dog the next morning can help delay those oh-so-horrible hangover feelings. Now, this is no way going to cure your hangover, but if you aren’t quite ready to face the music, it’s a good way to delay the inevitable. Beer actually boosts your endorphins, which helps mask the hangover feelings. Obviously, if you continue to drink, you’ll just dig yourself in a deeper hangover hole. If you can stomach it, we recommend a strong Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, or any of these craft beers.
illy Classico Coffee
Waking up from a hangover can have you feeling like you are in a fog. Coffee can come to the rescue, as the caffeine it contains can help fight your headache, as well as shake the lethargy accompanying your hangover. Illy Classico coffee is a mild blend of beans that balances its taste with notes of caramel. But keep in mind that you don’t want to go too crazy with the coffee. Even though caffeine is a stimulant, which helps you bounce back, it is also a diuretic, which can make your hangover even worse.
According to drinking lore, pickle juice has long been touted as one of the best hangover cures in the world. It is a bit off the beaten path, but can pickle juice really help relieve your hangover? Of course, pickle juice doesn’t taste awesome to everyone, and after waking up with an upset stomach, it may the last thing that you want to drink, but if you happen to like pickle juice, then it’s a solid option for a morning pick-me-up.
Ginger is well known for being able to settle upset stomachs, and GT’s Kombucha’s Gingerberry flavor is packed full of ginger and other botanicals. This sparkling beverage is only 50 calories and contains 9 billion living probiotics. These can help your gut feel better during hangovers and, in a way, reset your belly from whatever damage you did to it last night.
Coconut water can be a lifesaver when you’re feeling dehydrated, and many hungover millennials swear by its healing, hangover-curing properties. And they may be on to something. What sets coconut water apart from other hydration methods? Potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte that can help with muscle cramping and weakness while rehydrating your body. Coconut has a unique flavor, and some coconut water has little pieces of pulp floating around in it, which can turn some people off. If you enjoy the taste and don’t mind some floaties in your water, coconut water can be a godsend the morning after.
V8 Low-Sodium Vegetable Juice
The best hangover cures rehydrate your body and settle your stomach, and V8 is another option to consider if you are really feeling that churning in your stomach. V8 brings a lot to the table. Tomatoes are made of mostly water, which helps rehydrate your body. V8 is also packed full of Vitamin C and other important nutrients. We recommend pairing this drink with crackers and your over-the-counter painkiller of choice.
This extreme hangover cure has been touted by social media celebrities and influencers. Companies are popping up in big cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York City to cater to a young, hungover customer base. These companies will deliver and hook you up to an IV bag that contains whatever cocktail of rehabilitating ingredients you need to get back on your feet. Generally, the fluids are a saline solution that provides specific nutrients straight to your bloodstream where they can be quickly and efficiently absorbed. These bags cost a pretty penny though.