As the end of the year draws near, more of us are heading to Christmas parties and work events. But if you’re drinking more alcohol than usual, you might want to think about ways to support your liver. Many of us enjoy a glass or two of wine and some treats over the holiday break. But it’s important to give your liver some love if it’s going to be under some extra pressure.
It’s true that your body detoxifies itself, using the liver and other supporting organs. But if we overload the liver, it can slow down the process and cause issues. An overloaded liver can cause us to feel sluggish, bloated, can accelerate ageing, and can exacerbate any health conditions we have.
Here are some simple suggestions to support your natural detoxification pathways using food.
Go for high fibre options
One of the ways that the liver eliminates waste is through the bile. Bile is excreted into the digestive tract, where it binds to fibre and transported out of the body. But if there isn’t enough fibre to bind with the bile, toxic substances could be reabsorbed into the body and back to the liver again.
Make sure you’re choosing a high-fibre food at each meal. Some good options include:
Fruits such as apples, cherries, mangoes, pears, berries, bananas, oranges, grapes
Vegetables such as celery, avocado, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet potatoes
Nuts and seeds such as almonds, chia, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, pine nuts
Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, black beans, soybeans (organic nonGMO), peanuts
Wholegrains such quinoa, brown rice, millet
Many of these high-fibre foods also contain antioxidants, which play a protective role throughout the detoxification process. So you’re getting a two-for-one deal!
Add bitter foods
Another way to maximise waste excretion through bile is to include bitter foods. Bitter foods can stimulate the flow of bile. Combined with high fibre foods, improving bile flow can remove waste, as well as supporting the digestive process.
Some bitter options include:
Lemon and lime juice
Leafy greens such as rocket and endive
Citrus fruits, especially when peel is included
Dark, dark, dark chocolate
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower
Bitter herbs such as dandelion, turmeric and chamomile, rose, lavender
Healthy Tip- when you have eaten too much food, a simple cup of fairly strong chamomile tea can be incredibly soothing for the liver. Its mild bitterness and calming properties make it perfect for an after dinner brew, or any time day. Don’t let its simplicity and ordinariness fool you, it is a wonderful and effective medicine for both children and adults. But if chamomile is not your cup of tea, peppermint also has wonderful digestive and soothing properties.
Up your cruciferous veggies
One of the best things you can do for your liver health is to include a serve of cruciferous veggies each day. Early research suggests that cruciferous vegetables like Brussel sprouts and broccoli can support liver enzymes and protect the liver from damage.
Cruciferous vegetables include:
If you have thyroid issues, don’t eat too much raw cruciferous (occasional is just fine), but we tend to eat these cooked anyway, and they are just as healthy this way.
Without water, none of our organs can function. The liver is no exception to this rule. Being hydrated supports the elimination of waste products out of the body. But water is also needed for many chemical reactions in the body, including <any that relate to your target audience>.
So if you want to show your liver some love, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water over the holidays. You can also choose to eat hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables to boost your water intake.
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