The end of the year is fast approaching us. This means the start of a mad spate of festive season celebrations starting with year-end office parties and ending with New Year’s parties. With this crazy party season comes an over-indulgence in champagne, cocktails and rich foods which makes our liver and kidneys work overtime. Come mid-January, we’re full of regret and ready to launch ourselves onto the detox wagon. But all this extreme behavior stresses our liver and kidneys, two of the most important organs in our body, so we need to try and find ways to be kinder to them over the holidays.
WHY IS YOUR LIVER SO IMPORTANT?
The liver is the largest and most complex organ in the body performing over 500 critical functions. It processes anything that is ingested into the system. This involves, absorbing nutrients from food, making bile, removing toxins and preventing their absorption into the main bloodstream. It breaks down carbohydrates into glycogen and stores if for use by the muscles in the form of glucose. When you’re hungover, it’s your poor liver that’s doing all the work to remove the excess toxins from your body.
Chinese medicine has long held the belief that the liver creates balance and harmony for all other organs. If the liver is toxic and in a depressed state, then many body functions become imbalanced and signs of toxicity and ill-health present themselves.
AND THE KIDNEYS?
Your kidneys are powerful chemical factories that do a lot to keep your body strong and functioning optimally. They regulate water levels and remove excess fluid and waste from your body. The kidneys work to balance the body’s minerals (sodium, potassium) filtering out excesses in your urine. They produce hormones that circulate in the bloodstream and regulate blood pressure, red blood cell production and the calcium balance in your body. They also produce an active form of Vitamin D that helps your bones stay strong and healthy.
YOUR FESTIVE SEASON SURVIVAL GUIDE
Healthy liver and kidneys like a healthy body. Yes, you’ve heard it all before folks. You need to eat healthily, limit alcohol intake, exercise regularly and control your weight. These healthy practices are not new and definitely not specific to liver and kidney health but benefit your general wellbeing.
However, if you’re like me, the summer season ushers in periods of some pretty significant stress on the liver and kidneys. So, during this time, it’s especially important to try focus on squeezing the following healthy habits in to try and help your liver and kidneys a little. You’ll feel and look so much better for it!
If you’re going out to a party, make sure you drink a large glass of water before you leave the house. Once there, try stick to the rule of drinking a glass of water after each alcoholic drink. When you get home, try drinking a large bottle of water before you go to sleep. Add a natural electrolyte supplement to your water to help replenish and rehydrate and hopefully hold off the looming hangover.
Laird’s Superfood Hydrate, R355 for 227g (19 servings) BUY
A natural hydration enhancer made of freeze dried coconut water and electrolytes with no added sweeteners.
Oxygen Products WaterLife, R15O for 100ml (makes 100l) BUY
An all-natural electrolyte concentrate that contains 84 essential minerals.
Veridian Sports Electrolyte Mix, R229 for 100ml (40 drops) BUY
An electrolyte mix with minerals naturally present in sea water to prevent dehydration and speed recovery without carbs, sugars or any artificial ingredients.
Sugar is not your friend!
The festive party season brings with it irresistible sugary summer cocktails with umbrellas and fabulous sweet Christmas treats! We’ve already shared how sugar is really bad for our skin and can age you prematurely in our Skincare for City Slickers post. However, it’s effect on our liver and metabolism also results in increased inflammation manifesting as congestion and acne. Try to limit your sugar intake with these tips:
Exercise helps manage sugar cravings. It may be tricky to keep up your regular exercise regime over the festive and holiday season. However, try and move for a minimum of 30 minutes every day and incorporate exercise in your fun wherever you can.
If you’re not going to a sit-down dinner, eat a light meal before you go out. Be sure to include a lean protein such as chicken or salmon. Have it with salad greens and some avocado (itself good for your liver) so you don’t get bloated. This will help fill you and hopefully stop you grazing on the sugar laden and other treats that may be on offer.
Have some cinnamon before you go out or go to bed. Cinnamon cures your sweet tooth by “tricking” your body into thinking you’ve had sugar. It reduces sugar cravings by controlling blood glucose levels. Try a cup of delicious aromatic cinnamon tea or perhaps even a cinnamon supplement.
Pukka Three Cinnamon Tea, R99 for 20 unbleached bags. BUY
Absolute Organix SuperSpices Organic Cinnamon Capsules, R102 for 60 vegecaps. BUY
Get some sleep!
Although it may be difficult after a late night, 7-8 hours’ sleep is ideal and the most natural way to rejuvenate and repair the body. Because too much sugar and alcohol will disrupt your sleep, try this little routine.
In addition to drinking enough electrolyte enhanced water, drink a soothing cup of herbal tea before bedtime.
Clipper Organic Sleep Easy Tea, R96 for 20 unbleached bags BUY
A refreshing and distinctive infusion with cinnamon, chamomile and valerian enhanced with natural orange flavouring.
Then, switch off the phone and slip into something light and luxurious to ensure a good night’s sleep. We have a wonderful selection of gorgeous sleepwear here.
Finally, if you’re so inclined, considering it may be 1am, you should try apply an overnight hydrating mask. I am completely in love with the SKOON. Ruby Marine Overnight Hydrating Mask. It has a lovely gentle vanilla scent and is easy to use. After cleansing, simply apply like you would your night cream.
SKOON. Ruby Marine Overnight Hydrating Mask, R273 for 15ml BUY
Drink a liver soothing cup of herbal dandelion tea every morning
Dandelion root is a superb diuretic that improves the function of the pancreas, spleen, stomach, and kidneys (reduces kidney inflammation) without depleting potassium from the body. But primarily, dandelion root is one of the great liver herbs.
Pukka Cleanse Tea, R99 for 20 unbleached bags. BUY
Take some liver and kidney function supporting supplements
Consider a natural supplement with herbs such as dandelion root or milk thistle. The active component in milk thistle, silymarin, exhibits antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help repair damaged liver cells and protect new cells from toxins.
Viridian Organic Milk Thistle, R175 for 30 vegecaps BUY
Metagenics AdvaClear Daily Support for Detoxification, R535 for 60 vegecaps BUY
Supplement your skincare routine with a serum
Use antioxidants in your skin care regime to help decrease inflammation in your skin from the dietary changes that accompany the party season. A high dose vitamin C serum works to promote collagen synthesis, provide environmental protection and smooths and firms the skin. Try these local, natural skincare serums which we love and have already reviewed.
THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST
This post was originally published on 11 November 2017 and updated on 27 November 2018.