The best drink for a hangover

You know the feeling – you wake up with a mouth drier than the Sahara and a tongue furrier than the floor of a cab. All you can think is, "why didn’t I stock the fridge with 100 cans of Pepsi Max before bed!" 

‘Tis the season to celebrate, get merry and possibly overindulge. If you’ve been getting into the Christmas spirit a little too enthusiastically, you’re not alone. Statistics show December is on average, the booziest time of the year, no surprises there! More specifically, several studies cite mid-December – around the 14 and 15 to be precise – as the most hungover days of the working year.

That dreaded feeling is enough to drive even the most wholesome among us to drink all kinds of stuff we wouldn’t usually like cola, energy drinks or even a lunchtime shandy. But before you reach for the 600ml bottle of Solo, stop and take a moment to hear what advice nutritionist Zoe Bingley Pullin has to soothe your sore head. “Hangover symptoms may be triggered by the breakdown of alcohol into acetaldehyde which further gets broken down into less toxic compounds, ready for elimination,” Zoe says. “While there are no established ‘cures’ for hangovers, the key is to help support the activity of alcohol-metabolising enzymes, replenish the body of lost fluids, vitamins and minerals and stabilise blood sugar levels.”

Here she gives her expert advice the drinks to reach for, and what to avoid.

1. Water

 Uninteresting as it may seem, it’s hard to beat H2O the morning after the night before. It is, after all the lack of water that's making you feel so awful. “Plain water is a perfectly suitable drink to help hydrated,” Zoe says.

2. Vegetable juice

“Fresh vegetable juice with a little fruit, is a good option because it helps replenish the body of lost vitamins and minerals,” says Zoe. “Fresh vegetable juice with a little fruit, especially containing tomato or pear, may help to improve a headache and thirst symptoms of a hangover because the fruits/veg contain compounds, which help metabolise alcohol and are also rich in antioxidants/anti-inflammatory compounds.”

3. Banana and almond milk smoothie

“Opting for a vitamin-rich smoothie is a great way to help replenish electrolytes and keep hydrated,” says Zoe.  “A smoothie using almond milk, banana, avocado and spinach is rich in magnesium and potassium. Electrolytes including magnesium and potassium are involved during alcohol metabolism and are important to maintain hydration.”

















A post shared by Zoe Bingley-Pullin (@zoebingleypullin) on

Nov 17, 2016 at 1:56pm PST


4. Cola

Despite the initial relief it may appear to provide, cola is a bad idea. “Cola is rich in sugar and caffeine, both of which wreak havoc on blood sugar levels, which will not ease symptoms,” says Zoe. “You are better off with fresh orange juice and a dash of soda water.”

5. Coffee

The jury is out on this one. "Caffeine may give you an initial boost of energy and clarity of the mind especially if you rely on it day to day, but will also exacerbate dehydration," says Zoe. Love a flat white? “Milky drinks may not sit well if you are feeling queasy." Best to skip it altogether!

6. Ginger tea

Ginger has long been a natural antidote to nausea associated with morning sickness, and it turns out, it works just as well for hangovers. “Ginger tea or adding fresh ginger to juice may help relieve nausea because ginger increases gastric tone, motility and gastric emptying,” says Zoe.

7. Soft drinks

It's not just the little red ambulance (read: can of coke) that's off the menu, sugary soft drinks of all descriptions are a bad idea. "Sugary soft drinks should be avoided as they will only cause a spike in blood sugar followed by a crash, which will negatively impact energy and may exacerbate nausea.

8. Hair of the dog

A time-honoured remedy for schoolies and stag weekends alike, backing up a hangover with another drink is never a good idea. While you may feel momentarily perkier, make no mistake you are delaying the inevitable. "Hair of the dog will only make things worse and may extend the time taken to get over the hangover," warns Zoe. Skip the recovery pub lunch and head outside for a walk... and a big drink of water instead!


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