3 reasons why drinking cranberry juice just might be the most effective hangover cure.
Guest Post By: Bree Hanson, Dominican University Nutrition and Dietetics Student
It’s the morning after a night out and you’re feeling the dominant effects of the alcohol – headache, nausea, light-sensitivity, exhaustion, and sore muscles. You wish the unpleasant post-party side effects would go away, but you’re not sure what to do. Instead of reaching for aspirin or a greasy slice of leftover pizza, try sipping a cold glass of cranberry juice. Although there isn’t one specific hangover cure, there are some science-based reasons as to why cranberry juice (and cranberry juice cocktail) can help decrease and reduce the intensity of hangover symptoms. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains that alcohol abuse can damage the brain and organs, impair the immune system, and cause cancer. While one night of heavy drinking won’t necessarily cause life-threatening problems, it can certainly put your body at risk for dehydration, stomach pain, and low blood sugar levels. Let’s take a peek at three reasons why cranberry juice just might be the most effective hangover cure due to its ability to rehydrate your body, relieve your stomach pain, and balance your blood sugar.
#1. Rehydrate your Body
The water and electrolyte (sodium and potassium) content in cranberry juice can help replenish body fluids you lost during a night of drinking. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that the body increases its fluid loss through frequent urination. In fact, did you know that according to Alcohol Health and Research World, about four standard 5oz glasses of wine can cause your body to lose nearly one-quarter gallon of fluids? Alcohol can also cause additional fluid loss through sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea, so replenishing fluids and electrolytes with cranberry juice is especially important to ensure that your body will become fully rehydrated.
• Quick Tip: If you find it difficult to drink cranberry juice because of its sweet-tart taste, try diluting it with a bit of water. The taste won’t be as concentrated and will be more “berry-able” while still providing the nutrients you need.
#2. Relieve your Stomach Pain
When you drink alcohol, the protective layers of your stomach and intestines can become irritated, which causes inflammation and discomfort. Cranberry juice’s high flavonoid (powerful antioxidant) content works against this inflammation by preventing bacterial growth, which causes the inflammation in the first place. And as alcohol can also slow down stomach emptying, you may experience further discomfort, so the need for these flavonoids is vital.
• Quick Tip: Since your stomach will be particularly sensitive the morning after, it’s important to avoid more acidic juices (such as orange or tomato juice) to prevent further irritation.
#3. Balance your Blood Sugar
The sugars and nutrients in cranberry juice can help stabilize blood sugar levels by providing your body with nutrients lost from the night before. After heavy drinking and little to no food eaten throughout the night, blood sugar levels will be especially low in the morning after a night of overindulging. Your body will be craving these nutrients in order to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, so it’s crucial to drink cranberry juice the next morning.
• Quick Tip: Eat a healthy breakfast to further control your blood sugar levels and fuel your body with essential nutrients, so pair a glass of cranberry juice with these fun cranberry-filled breakfast recipes: orange-cranberry oatmeal or pumpkin cranberry bread.
The Bittersweet Solution
While there isn’t one individual hangover cure, drinking cranberry juice the morning after a night out can be helpful in reducing the intensity of a hangover by ensuring rehydration, relief of stomach pain, and balanced blood sugar.
Note: Photo taken by Bree Hanson.