December 18th, 2012
It’s the holiday season – a time for friends, family, time away from work, good food and drink and the television. The annual festivities bring many familiar sights and sounds, from Santa Claus to colorful decorations, but also a few traditions that many of us will end up regretting come January – namely excess.
A Huffington Post article from last year reported that the average British adult will gain half a stone (over three kilos) from those extra helpings of turkey, glasses of wine and, of course, all that chocolate.
All of this puts extra strain on your liver, arguably the hardest working organ in your body, as it detoxifies your body from many of the harmful substances found in our food today.
But rather than falling into the old pattern of saying “I’ll join the gym in January. Pass me another mince pie”, it is much better to plan ahead and watch what you eat and drink just as you do (or should do) for the rest of the year.
Physicians have even warned against going alcohol-free in January. Dr Mark Wright, consultant hepatologist at Southampton General Hospital, says: “Detoxing for just a month is medically futile. It feeds the idea that you can abuse your liver as much as you like and then sort everything out with a quick fix.” Dr Wright added: “The liver is fantastic at detoxing – that’s what it does. But if you think giving it a rest will help, you’re wrong.”
Choose foods that are gentle on your liver, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only are these foods much easier on the liver, they also contain useful nutrients such as vitamin C and carotenoids which can support liver function.
Watch out for food with artificial additives like sweeteners, colorings, flavorings and preservatives. It’s hard to say no to the many holiday treats we may not usually get to eat, but try to remember: “Everything in moderation”. You’ll thank yourself in the New Year!
Drinking plenty of water (about one and-a-half to two liters a day) should also help to reduce the toxicity in your body and help take the load off your liver. All of this will also help to keep your skin fresh and with a healthy glow; not one brought on by too much sherry. Just because you’re on vacation, don’t force your liver to work overtime!
Photo by Nicole Marti