New Year's Eve is nearly here and with it comes the potential for fun, frolics and a little more alcohol than usual. Whether it’s champagne, cocktails or a few too many glasses of wine, with increased alcohol consumption comes an increased workload for your liver.
Our livers are constantly working hard, filtering our blood, producing bile essential for the digestive process and regulating our blood sugar level. Its work is essential for keeping us healthy.
Here are a few simple diet and lifestyle tweaks from Nutritionist Kim Pearson that can help you support your liver health and minimise the effects of your festive excesses.
Liver loving foods
Increase your fibre intake
Fibre binds to waste products and helps to remove them from the body, but many of us don’t eat enough. If we have a diet lacking in fibre then it can prevent healthy elimination of waste from the digestive system, closely linked with the liver. Fibre is naturally present in many plant foods so base meals around plenty of vegetables - particularly good sources include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, avocados and kale. Vegetables also provide liver protecting antioxidants.
Drink green tea
Green tea contains catechins – an antioxidant found to encourage healthy liver function and help to protect the liver from toxic substances.
Drink optimal amounts of water
This supports the body’s natural processes of waste elimination. Aim for a minimum of two litres per day to support your liver in effectively excreting toxic substances in your body.
Liver loving supplements
Turmeric is a bright orange spice which has been long used in Indian cuisine and Ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric is reported to have the ability to protect the liver from damage. Animal studies have shown that mice fed curcumin, one of the active ingredients in Turmeric, suffered less liver damage over time compared with those on a normal diet and Curcumin has even been found to have a beneficial effect in the treatment of liver disorders.
What to watch
We know that consuming alcohol to excess will increase the workload of the liver and could eventually cause it serious damage. There’s a difference between a little over indulgence every now and then and consistently drinking to excess. Aim to keep within the government’s recommended alcohol intake most weeks – this is 14 units, the equivalent to six small glasses of wine or six pints of average strength beer.
Watch your sugar intake. The liver is responsible for converting excess sugar into fat and if we consume sugar to excess it can end up becoming stored in the liver. Your liver’s health is yet another reason to keep those biscuits, cakes and sweets to a minimum.