Hangover Helpers

What to do when you overdo it.
a terrier with a really nasty champagne hangover

Holidays, celebrations, parties and cookouts may mean potential hangovers for anyone who enjoys great food accompanied by a good cocktail or glass(es) of wine.

We plan our holiday travel. We plan our appetizers and meals. We plan our gift shopping. It's equally worthwhile to plan your hangover recovery.

Mitigating a Hangover

The first rule of thumb: know what actually helps a hangover.

Because alcohol dehydrates you, liquids are usually the first recommendation.

  • Don't Trust Coffee to Work

    Not all purported hangover cures work, however.

    The best example: coffee. Says nutritionist Dana James of FoodCoach NYC, "It won't cure a hangover, it will simply make you more alert that you have a hangover. Plus the acidity of the coffee or an espresso could play havoc with your stomach."

  • Consider Trying Coconut Water

    Coconut water is another beverage associated with curing hangovers. "This one actually works," says James. "Coconut water's high potassium helps accelerate hydration and the liquid is non-acidic, so it won't upset your stomach."

    James recommends a coconut water-based smoothie as her Ultimate Hangover Smoothie.

  • Don't Forget Good Old H2O

    Then there's plain water.

    Says James, "If you're going to use water as your hangover recovery, then make sure you drink it at room temperature."

    "Ice cold water can actually shock a sensitive stomach after a rich meal and a night of drinking, and not in a good way."

Preventing a Hangover

It should go without saying: the easiest way to deal with hangovers, is to not get them.

  • Choose Wine Over Hard Liquor

    If you really want to avoid a hangover, choose wine over cocktails as the sugar syrups used in cocktails are an added burden to the liver when trying to detoxify the alcohol.

    Says James, "Some people are more sensitive to red wine as it contains more tannins than white and are more likely to feel the effects of red wine. But the biggest difference is in the additives in wine."

    "The fewer the additives, the less hungover you are likely to feel. French wines have the most restrictions on additives, followed by Italy."

  • Prepare Yourself with a B-Complex

    Take a B vitamin complex before bed to help metabolize and eliminate the alcohol.

  • You Can Always Abstain

    Drink in moderation, or not at all.

    Nobody will force you to drink—and if they do, it's time to leave that party.

The Ultimate Hangover Smoothie

Dana James offers up a nutrient-rich smoothie to help you rehydrate.


Lynn Tryba

Chief Content Officer

Lynn aims to empower people to make informed decisions about their health and wellness by presenting the latest research on exercise, nutrients, and supplements in reader-friendly ways. She has a deep respect for the power of food as preventive medicine and believes that small steps in the right direction make a big difference.