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17 of the Best Hangover Cures and Remedies

by
author image Maghan McDowell
Maghan McDowell is a San Francisco Bay area writer and editor. A former magazine editor and university lecturer, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida.

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17 of the Best Hangover Cures and Remedies
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The signs are obvious. You wake up and can’t even remember when it was that you went to bed. Slowly, last night’s highs and lows return in comic relief, and you realize you have a throbbing headache. Cottonmouth in full swing, you leap to the bathroom as the nausea hits like a fireball on an empty stomach. And why is it so bright outside? Maybe because you had one drink too many last night? There’s no official diagnosis for a hangover, so there’s no official cure. Everyone seems to have their own way to cope, but here are 17 of the best hangover remedies proven by science to help you feel better.

1. Cactus Extract
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1 CACTUS EXTRACT

Called Opuntia ficus-indica, or prickly pear, cactus extract might help alleviate some hangover symptoms, such as nausea, lack of appetite and dry mouth. In a small 2004 study of 55 people, subjects who took a cactus extract supplement two hours before drinking five to 10 drinks were 50 percent less likely to experience severe hangover symptoms, specifically reporting less dry mouth, nausea and appetite loss.

Related: 14 Hot Eating Trends – Which Ones Are Actually Beneficial?

2. Green Juice Smoothie
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2 GREEN JUICE SMOOTHIE

Derek Castro, the co-owner of San Francisco-based fresh juice company Sow, has developed a special juice recipe that he specifically designed to “reactivate the body” after a night on the town. Key ingredients include apple, lemon (including peel), celery, parsley, mint and ginger. He also throws in a handful each of kale and spinach. In addition to squelching nausea with ginger, the concoction has anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, vasodilation and antioxidant properties. With B vitamins courtesy of the kale, this sweet-and-spicy green juice offers “a big lift out of the mud,” says Castro.

Related: 10 Ultimate Smoothies for Any Time of Day

3. Vitamin B Complex
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3 VITAMIN B COMPLEX

Your body leaches vitamins as it works to metabolize alcohol -- especially vitamin B. Heavy doses of a vitamin B complex before, during and after drinking may mitigate intense hangover symptoms by helping your body replenish its vitamin B supply. One study gave participants 1,200 milligrams of vitamin B-6 at the beginning of a party, 400 milligrams three hours later and 400 milligrams at the end of the party. The study participants experienced about 50 percent fewer hangover symptoms.

Related: 11 Nutrients Americans Aren't Getting Enough Of

4. Coconut Water
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4 COCONUT WATER

Hydration and potassium: These two may be your new best friends when it comes to recovering from a big night out. Rehydrating is key to conquering a hangover, and potassium can be lost with frequent urination (and the unfortunate situation of vomiting). Coconut water is both hydrating and high in potassium. It’s also easier on your stomach than other more acidic options like orange juice.

Related: Do These So-Called Superfoods Live Up to the Hype?

4. Milk Thistle
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4 MILK THISTLE

Alcoholic binges create a cascade of symptoms ranging from headaches and nausea to racing heart, sweating, muscle soreness and more, depending on who’s doing the drinking and how. Also known as silybum marianum, this ancient Mediterranean herb aids in liver function and helps ward off toxins. It’s often taken as a treatment for hepatitis and cirrhosis. “Basically,” says Ron Alvarado, CEO of the cocktail fortifier company Ficks, “it soothes your liver and helps it function in times of stress.” The workhorse ingredient is silymarin, which is extracted from the seeds of the plant and easily found in tablet or capsule form. Consult with your doctor before taking.

Related: Do These So-Called Superfoods Live Up to the Hype?

5. Ginger
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5 GINGER

Although hangover symptoms vary, one of the most common is nausea. Alcohol prompts the stomach to overproduce hydrochloric acid, which results in that familiar nausea and upset stomach the next day. So when Ficks CEO Ron Alvarado was developing the formula for his hangover-reducing cocktail fortifier, gingerroot was the first ingredient on his list. An old Asian cure, this pungent kitchen spice (which can be eaten fresh, powdered, juiced, candied and even in cookie form) helps soothe the stomach -- whether it’s upset from seasickness, a stomach bug (ginger ale, anyone?) or a wild night out at a party. Take a supplement as soon as you wake up feeling wonky, or take the advice of Sow juice co-founder Derek Castro and add one or two slices to your morning green juice or smoothie.

Related: 9 Foods to Eat Now if You Want to Get Pregnant

7. Coffee
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7 COFFEE

This one isn’t so cut and dried. Alcohol disrupts REM sleep and leaves you feeling tired the next day, which can have you reaching for the coffee pot. If you’re already a coffee enthusiast, this might be OK after all, since you might experience a massive headache from skipping your morning caffeine. But if a cup of joe isn’t part of your a.m. regimen, skip it: Coffee is a natural diuretic and could leave you feeling worse.

Related: The 11 Worst Coffee Drinks to Order

8. LyteShow
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8 LYTESHOW

The dehydrating effects of alcohol can ultimately lead to an electrolyte imbalance, so rehydrating with an electrolyte-enhanced drink works faster than just water alone. Playboy’s former nightlife columnist Dan Dunn likes LyteShow, an electrolyte-replenishing liquid concentrate created specifically for active people who drink alcohol. Key ingredients include magnesium, sodium, chloride, potassium, zinc and citric acid. “Drink it before you go out and at the end of the night,” Dunn recommends.

Related: Learn More About LyteShow

9. Eggs
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9 EGGS

You might crave a big, greasy breakfast the next morning, but forget the bacon and home fries and stick with just the eggs. Eggs are high in an amino acid called cysteine, which helps your liver get rid of acetaldehyde, the toxic byproduct of alcohol. And eggs are easy on your stomach -- your body will thank you after a hard night.

Related: 9 Egg Breakfasts in 10 Minutes or Less

10. Miso Soup
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10 MISO SOUP

Most soups make a great hangover cure, thanks to their water and salt content. Water rehydrates your body, and the sodium helps your body hold on to that water. Miso soup goes the extra mile. Miso is made from fermented soybeans, and fermented foods help keep your gut healthy, something your stomach could use after some heavy drinking.

Related: 7 Surprising Benefits of Fermented Foods

11. Water
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11 WATER

If your visits to the bathroom seem more frequent when you’re on a bender, it’s not your imagination: You really are hitting the loo more than you normally do. “Alcohol inhibits the hormone that regulates kidney function,” Blowfish CEO Brenna Haysom explains, “so the body produces excess urine, leading to dehydration.” This ultimately leaches key nutrients, which has a domino effect on the body’s ability to recover. Signs of dehydration span far more than simple thirst; you can thank dehydration for those trademark headaches, weakness and dizziness as well.

Related: 16 Snacks That Are OK to Eat at Night

12. Ficks
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12 FICKS

CEO Ron Alvarado and COO Matt McDonald created lightly flavored cocktail fortifier Ficks to be added to mixed drinks to help prevent hangovers before they start. Key ingredients include liver-calming milk thistle, digestion-aiding dandelion extract, nausea-calming gingerroot, electrolytes sodium and potassium, a vitamin B complex that aids in alcohol detoxification and amino acids that aid in liver detoxification.

Related: Learn More About Ficks

13. Blowfish Tablet
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13 BLOWFISH TABLET

Lemon-flavored, fizzy Blowfish tablets dissolve in water and are meant to be taken the morning after a night of drinking. Key ingredients include caffeine and aspirin. The caffeine boosts the anti-inflammatory properties of the effervescent aspirin tablets, which pass quickly through the stomach without irritation, says CEO Brenna Haysom. This delivery method also means they reach the bloodstream about twice as fast as a regular pill. It’s the only hangover product with a formulation recognized as effective by the FDA.

Related: Learn More About Blowfish

14. Bananas
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14 BANANAS

Bananas are part of the BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) diet, which helps to relieve an upset stomach, something your body might know a thing or two about when enduring a hangover. Bananas are bland, making them easy on the gut, and they’re high in potassium, which you can lose through excessive urinating and vomiting -- two unfortunate results of drinking too much.

Related: 16 Surprising Facts About Bananas

15. Asparagus
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15 ASPARAGUS

If you’re making eggs the next morning, throw in some chopped asparagus. Although these green stalks give your urine an “off” odor, they also help protect your liver from toxins associated with alcohol consumption and alleviate the icky hangover feeling. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Food Science found that even the parts that are often tossed -- leaves and parts of the young shoots -- can help too.

Related: 13 Worst Alcoholic Drinks Sure to Derail Your Diet

17. Korean Pear Juice
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17 KOREAN PEAR JUICE

Korean pear juice is used to prevent getting a hangover in the first place. A 2013 study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology found that drinking this pear juice can help with trouble concentrating, and it may help metabolize alcohol. And Korean pear juice was found to help reduce sensitivity to light -- so you can stop hiding behind the sunglasses.

Related: Do These So-Called Superfoods Live Up to the Hype?

16. Pedialyte
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16 PEDIALYTE

If you have children, you are probably familiar with this product. If not, the last time you saw Pedialyte was when you got lost in the grocery store. While the formula was created to replenish fluids and electrolytes in sick children, adults have found it helpful when dehydration leaves them crying like a baby, according to Ron Alvarado, CEO of the cocktail fortifier company Ficks. Because it’s flavored, you might find it easier to take down compared to plain water, which is crucial if you’re dehydrated.

Related: 13 Worst Alcoholic Drinks Sure to Derail Your Diet

What Do YOU Think?
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Do you drink alcohol? What’s your favorite go-to drink? Do you get hangovers? What works best to help you feel better? Have you tried any of the methods listed in this slideshow? Which is best? Any we missed? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Related: What Really Happens When You Drink

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