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orange juice for hangovers

Evidence based

Is Orange Juice Good For Hangovers?

Afterdrink Author Dewey Jhon
Dewey Jhon

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Evidence based

Everyone is always on the lookout for a good natural hangover drink and orange juice seems to be one that many people turn to.

There’s no doubt it’s a refreshing and tasty choice that is just what your dehydrated body needs after a night out drinking.

But does orange juice actually have any impact on your hangover?

In this article, we’re going to take a look at exactly what’s in orange juice to see whether it contains anything that is beneficial for hangovers.

Table of contents

What are the causes of a hangover?

To understand whether orange juice is good for hangovers, we first need to go over how alcohol affects your body in the first place.

It’s a complicated process and scientists still debate what the exact cause of a hangover is. That being said, there are some factors they all agree on:

Dehydration


Alcohol is a diuretic that makes you produce more urine and lose more water. It does this by blocking the release of a hormone in your brain called vasopressin which is responsible for body water regulation via the kidneys.

Inflammation


Alcohol is metabolized by your liver and this process produces toxic by-products such as acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is a highly volatile substance that breaks down to form “free radicals”. Free radicals react with your cells to cause inflammation and damage.

Congeners

Darker-colored drinks also contain a high concentration of “congeners” which are compounds that are naturally formed when alcohol is fermented. Congeners are responsible for the taste and aroma of alcoholic drinks. Unfortunately, they’ve been shown in studies to make hangovers a lot worse.(1)

Poor sleep quality


Alcohol blocks the brain from entering the REM stage of sleep. This stage is essential for waking up fully rested and explains why you don’t feel 100%, even if you’ve slept enough hours.

Hormonal imbalance


Heavy drinking can alter the release of stress hormones like cortisol as well as change your body’s response to insulin resulting in low blood sugars.

With the science out the way, let’s take a look at what nutrients there are in orange juice.

What’s in orange juice?

250ml (approximately 1 cup) of freshly squeezed orange juice contains around:

Calories: 110
Protein: 2 grams
Carbs: 26 grams
Vitamin C: 67% of the Reference Daily Intake RD
Folate: 15% of the RD
Potassium: 10% of the RD
Magnesium: 6% of the RD

RD means the “recommended daily” intake of nutrients.

You can see that orange juice has a handful of vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. It’s important to note that these values differ greatly depending on your choice of orange juice.

Orange juice that’s in a carton from your local store may have significantly higher amounts of sugar in them with less essential nutrients so it’s important to check the label.

Is orange juice good for a hangover?

Vitamin C
As you probably guessed, orange juice has a high amount of vitamin C which is known for its important role in the immune system and connective tissue function.

Aside from this, it’s a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes “free-radicals”.

Minerals and water
Other than this, orange juice has a small amount of magnesium which you are known to lose after heavy drinking. In addition to this, orange juice is made up of more than 85% water so it’s great for rehydration.

Sugar
The main sugar in orange juice is fructose which will provide you with a quick boost in energy. It may be exactly what you need if you’ve not had anything to eat for a while.

In summary, orange juice is a healthy drink that’s packed with beneficial nutrients.

Is orange juice a hangover cure?

Although orange juice is packed with nutrients, it doesn’t mean that will help reduce hangover symptoms.

By the time you’ve woken up with a hangover, the damage from alcohol has already taken place. The only thing that’ll “cure” a hangover is time!

That being said, it’s a refreshing drink that may be more palatable than plain water after a night out.

Can orange juice make hangovers worse?

The only downside to orange juice is the fact that it’s acidic.

Indigestion is a common hangover symptom. There are quite a few reasons why drinking too much can leave you with indigestion which include:

  • Alcohol potentially increases stomach acid production
  • Alcohol slows down gut motility and slows food transit time
  • Eating a big meal before going to bed.

So if you’re experiencing indigestion, it may be best to avoid orange juice as it could exacerbate this.

Anything else to consider

When it comes to hangovers, prevention is always better than cure. And drinking within your limits, keeping well hydrated, and having a meal before going out is key to preventing the worst hangovers.

In addition, sticking to lighter-colored drinks can also help because they contain fewer congeners. Congeners are biologically active compounds formed naturally when alcohol such as wine and whiskey are made. They are responsible for the distinctive tastes and aromas you get with these drinks. But unfortunately, they are known to exacerbate hangovers. 

Orange juice for hangovers – Final verdict

That brings us to the end of our look at whether orange juice is good for hangovers.

It’s a tasty, refreshing, and nutritious drink with a decent amount of vitamin C and minerals in it.

The only thing to be aware of is that the acidity of orange juice can exacerbate or trigger indigestion if your stomach is unsettled.

If you’re interested in this topic, check out our article on the best tea for a hangover.

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