The Three Vegetables That Can Help Cure Your Hangover

Few things hurt quite as bad as when you start to wake up from a night of drinking. In true karmic fashion, the pain comes slow and steady. Even your eyelids are heavy with regret as the light trickling in from the sun feels more like laser beams carving a headache into your skull. Then comes nausea. After stumbling to the bathroom and wrapping all four limbs around the porcelain god, you swear to whatever higher powers are listening that if they just get you through this, you'll never drink again. Yeah, right.

Hangovers can be a massive beast. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says hangover physical symptoms can include fatigue, thirst, headaches, muscle aches, weakness, vertigo, stomach pain and nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, sweating, and increased blood pressure. Hangovers can also cause anxiety and irritability.

Though there's no scientific cure for hangovers, there are popular remedies — from sports drinks to over-the-counter drugs. However, one of the healthiest ways to combat a hangover is to trade in your greasy brunch for a few vegetables. Here are three that are highly recommended to "cure" your hangover woes.


In 2017, Yale Daily News reported that students at the university created a hangover supplement in which one of the primary ingredients was sulforaphane. This plant compound helps the body eliminate a chemical called acetaldehyde. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol is broken down to acetaldehyde, and it actually damages your DNA. The breakdown and conversion not only contribute to hangovers — but they're also the link between alcohol and cancer. In fact, cancer of the mouth and throat, voice box, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, and breast (in women) are all directly linked to alcohol.

The good news is that broccoli is full of sulforaphane, but Healthline says it's only activated when it's chopped or chewed. Also, a 2008 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that raw broccoli has more than 10 times the amount of sulforaphane than cooked broccoli. If you just can't bring yourself to eat raw broccoli, a 2012 study published in the same journal said that steaming broccoli for one to three minutes yields more sulforaphane than microwaving and boiling. 


According to Healthline, nitric oxide is a byproduct of consuming nitrates and one of the most important molecules the body produces. As a vasodilator, it makes blood vessels widen, which allows proper blood flow and lowers blood pressure. Drinking alcohol actually has the opposite effect and causes blood vessels to constrict, as noted in a 2017 study published in Alcohol Research Current Reviews. Beets are full of nitrates, per WebMD, which may combat high blood pressure caused by hangovers. Tossing two cups of chopped beets into a salad or blending them into a smoothie may help improve blood flow or lower blood pressure.

The Spruce Eats adds that beets contain an antioxidant called betacyanin, which helps alcohol detox from the liver faster. Betacyanin is also what gives beets their color. Registered dietitian, Camille Skoda, told Cleveland Clinic that it's not uncommon for your urine to turn bright red as a result of eating beets, but it's not anything to be concerned about.


A 2020 study published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism found that chronic and heavy alcohol consumption was associated with magnesium deficiency. Mayo Clinic reports that magnesium is a key mineral for energy production, and it also supports muscle and nerve function. Interestingly, magnesium has also been found to alleviate both headaches and migraines and can act as a natural alternative to traditional painkillers, according to Medical News Today.

So how do you get more magnesium in your diet? Health experts suggest spinach (per WebMD). Just half a cup of this leafy green equates to 78 micrograms, which is 19% of the recommended daily value. Chomping on a spinach salad or drinking a spinach smoothie can help recalibrate an aching head. PharmEasy says spinach is also high in other important replenishing nutrients like iron, which helps the body use energy efficiently. They recommend adding vitamin C to meals with spinach to help the body absorb the iron.