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Can eating a banana stop you getting too drunk and being sick?

“One of my friends says that eating a banana is the best thing to do before you go out drinking as it stops you getting sick. Is that true?”

The simple answer is – no, eating a banana can’t stop you getting drunk and feeling unwell but, surprisingly, there is a link between this yellow fruit and alcohol. They’re not necessarily effective in preventing drunkenness but research suggests they may assist in another way …

Part of this myth almost certainly comes from the fact that it is important to eat something before drinking alcohol. Drinking with nothing in your stomach can result in alcohol being absorbed too quickly, so one of the best ways to protect yourself from feeling unwell later is to eat beforehand. There are some websites that say that because a banana is a “slippery and sticky substance” it will line the insides of your stomach for longer but that makes little sense and there appears to be no evidence to support this.

Where the ‘bananas’ part of this story comes from is that they appear to be a great food to eat the morning after drinking, with some experts believing that they can ease some of the symptoms of a hangover.

Bananas contain a range of vitamins and minerals that may make the ‘morning after’ feel not quite so bad, particularly potassium. When you drink to excess you can lose a great deal of potassium, as well as other electrolytes, because of alcohol’s diuretic properties (you may have noticed that people drinking alcohol go to the toilet an awful lot!). By eating a banana the next morning, a drunk person can replenish their potassium levels relatively quickly and simply with one of the best natural sources of the mineral.

Some experts suggest having a banana, along with a couple of glasses of water, before going to bed after a night of drinking can be effective in reducing the potential hangover effect. Others even say that boiling two banana peels in one cup of water and drinking the ‘banana tea’ may offer a little relief the next day.

It needs to be made clear that bananas are not a ‘hangover cure’ (put simply, nothing cures a hangover apart from time), but it would appear that some of the symptoms people may experience after a big night out can be relieved, at least to some extent, by eating this popular fruit. They certainly do not prevent you from getting drunk, however, no matter how many you eat beforehand!

First published: May 2015
Reviewed and updated: September 2023

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