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Does coffee help a hangover?
The short answer is no, because too much coffee can actually worsen the symptoms of a hangover.
However, if you drink coffee regularly, don’t give up coffee altogether, as doing so could make the problem worse.
To put this into perspective, we must first understand what a hangover is and how it affects our bodies.
Alcohol and post-alcoholic intoxication syndrome
A hangover is dehydration and intoxication caused by excessive alcohol consumption. This dehydration occurs primarily because alcohol reduces the body’s production of vasopressin, also known as the antidiuretic hormone.
This hormone contributes to water retention. A lower vasopressin level then means that the kidneys are not controlling the amount of water and sodium (salt) in the body adequately.
Alcohol, on the other hand, is a diuretic, meaning it makes us urinate more (you’ve probably noticed that after a few beers).
So on the one hand we are consuming a substance that deprives us of fluid (alcohol), on the other hand we lack the hormone that makes us retain fluid.
That is why, after a night of drinking, we experience symptoms such as:
- Intense thirst
- General malaise
Does coffee help a hangover or not?
If you’re already dehydrated, coffee won’t help at all as it’s also a diuretic (though much milder than alcohol).
This increase in blood pressure can increase the headaches you already have from the hangover.
How does coffee help against a hangover?
And now comes the trick: your body may already be dependent on regular caffeine intake due to regular coffee consumption.
So skipping your morning coffee can make your symptoms worse. This is because you can experience caffeine withdrawal.
In this case it is advisable to drink a small cup of coffee; not to reduce hangover symptoms, but to prevent withdrawal symptoms from occurring and making the hangover worse.
How to avoid coffee withdrawal
If you’re a regular coffee drinker, you probably need more than one cup of coffee to avoid withdrawal.
Ideally, you should be able to sleep to avoid struggling with a hangover, but if that’s not possible, here’s what you can do:
- Drink water as soon as you wake up.
- Prepare coffee with more water than usual. Avoid preparations such as espresso, as such concentrated coffee can quickly aggravate your symptoms.
- Wait 30-60 minutes and if you don’t feel too bad you can have another cup of coffee.
- Drink water with salts to give the body back missing minerals.
If you want to have coffee at a hangover
If you want to drink coffee even when you have a hangover, you should know which type of coffee is best.
Therefore, below we show you two crucial factors that you must consider so that you do not feel worse after the coffee you choose to drink.
Roasting is everything
The roast determines the flavor intensity of the coffee; this is important, because when you’re hungover, your stomach is likely to be quite upset.
Therefore, it is best to choose a coffee with a medium roast:
- It has enough body, meaning it doesn’t taste watery or weak.
- It has lower acidity, meaning the primary flavor will be very balanced.
Note: Keep in mind that a light roast gives the coffee more acidity and may be too much for your stomach at the moment.
The coffee region
When you have a hangover, it’s best to drink a blended coffee rather than a straight coffee or a coffee from a single geographic origin.
This is because blends often have a more balanced profile, meaning the aromas and notes are milder than a straight coffee.
The coffees of Asian origin, especially those from Indonesia, are characterized by an intense taste with earthy and smoky notes.
Latin American coffees, on the other hand, tend to have higher acid levels and a sweeter, milder flavor. Finally, African coffees are generally very balanced.
So if you want to have a coffee when you have a hangover, you need a coffee variant that mixes coffees from different regional origins, as this will be the most balanced.
And this balanced coffee is just what you need in a hangover situation.
OK, but can coffee help me sober up?
The answer is a clear no. Coffee can give you some energy, but it won’t hydrate you. That’s why you will still feel bad even if you drink coffee.
Coffee is a wonderful drink because it gives you extra energy and tastes delicious; but he’s not your best friend after a night of drinking.
However, if you are one of those people who can not live without coffee, do not stop drinking it abruptly or you will experience withdrawal symptoms and make your hangover worse.
So if you must drink coffee, remember to have a medium roast ready and, if possible, have an appropriate coffee blend nearby.
Try to rest, drink plenty of water, and don’t self-medicate. With a bit of luck, after a few hours of rest, you’ll be brand new and ready for another cup of your favorite coffee.