Hangover Helpers

A man feeling ill with hanger over cures in front of him.

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.

The first rule of thumb: know what actually helps a hangover. Not all purported hangover cures work, however because alcohol dehydrates you, liquids are usually the first recommendation. The best example: coffee. Says nutritionist Dana James of FoodCoach, "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."

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 the ultimate hangover cure (see recipe below).

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."

Dana James' Ultimate Hangover Smoothie


  • 8 ounces coconut water (rich in potassium and other electrolytes); James recommends using Vita Coco or another fresh coconut water. "Read the labels and only buy fresh coconut water in a Tetra-pak," says James, who notes that the majority of nationally available coconut water brands use concentrate.
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries (rich in vitamin C, fiber, manganese and antioxidants); (can substitute blueberries)
  • shot of wheatgrass or 1 tsp green powder (aids in digestion and detoxification)
  • heaping spoonful of vegan protein powder (amino acids aid detoxification)
  • splash of aloe vera juice
  • dash of cinnamon to sweeten (protects the liver against damage from alcohol)
  • 1 tsp organic honey to sweeten, depending on taste preferences


  1. Place ingredients into a blender and process for 60-90 seconds.
  2. Pour into glass and serve.

Two more pieces of advice from James:

  • 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."

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


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.