A greasy fry-up and bloody Mary may be “just what the doctor ordered” after a heavy night.
But scientists from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai claim a smoothie of pear, lime and coconut water could be the “ultimate hangover cure”.
The concoction boosted levels of an enzyme that breaks down alcohol by up to 70% in the laboratory.
Speeding up the metabolism of alcohol is thought to prevent the toxic compound acetaldehyde from building up in the body, triggering hangovers.
Most of us have been hungover at some point in our lives, but few likely understand the science behind their splitting headache.
Fatigue, drowsiness and nausea set in when ethanol - a chemical compound in alcohol - reaches a level of zero in the blood, the scientists wrote in the journal Current Research in Food Science.
This suggests it is the break down of alcohol that triggers unpleasant symptoms, they added.
Natural anti-nausea remedies like ginger have been suggested as “hangover cures”, however, the evidence supporting them is limited.
READ MORE: Can you actually cure a hangover?
To learn more, the scientists looked at levels of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), which breaks down ethanol.
They also examined the activity of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), the enzyme that removes aldehyde.
Aldehyde is created when alcohol in the liver is broken down by ADH. The toxic compound is thought to trigger hangovers, as well as brain damage if someone drinks excessively long term.
The team exposed a range of food and drinks to ADH and ALDH in the laboratory.
The food included fruit, vegetables, pulses, dairy, spices and egg, while the drinks were tea, coffee and cocoa.
The scientists found “few” boosted the activity of ADH or ALDH. However, when they created a juice of 65% pear, 25% “sweet lime” and 10% coconut water, ALDH activity rose by 70.02%.
ADH levels were also enhanced by 23.31%, the results show.
READ MORE: How to avoid a hangover
By boosting these enzyme activity levels, acetaldehyde may be more “rapidly eliminated” from the blood, the scientists wrote.
Adding tomato, cucumber and cheese to the mix made it even more potent, if less palatable.
A taste-test panel enjoyed the pear, lime and coconut mix, but found “all formulations containing vegetable juices not acceptable”.
While many rely on coffee to get through a hungover day, the results also show it reduced ALDH activity by up to 53.44%, a “large magnitude”.
Other foods that will do your hangover no good include oats, peanuts, millet, cloves, nutmeg, mace and cinnamon.
“Commercial anti-hangover products” were also found to have the opposite effect of what they promise, the results suggest.