A special part of any holiday season is the array of decadent treats, festive feasts and of course seasonal cocktails. These indulgences are easy to get caught up in and should absolutely be enjoyed! However, it's crucial to shine a spotlight on an often overlooked hero of well-being: the liver.
The liver plays a crucial role in detoxifying and metabolizing substances we ingest, making it susceptible to adverse effects from certain indulgences. While changes in consumption habits may seem unavoidable during the holidays, rest assured – there are simple and effective strategies to mitigate the impact on your liver's well-being.
First let’s explore how what you consume impacts your liver.
Alcohol Consumption and Your Liver
Did you know that every time your liver filters alcohol, some of your liver cells die? While the liver has amazing capabilities of regenerating itself, continuous overconsumption of alcohol can cause prolonged damage.
From parties to enjoying a drink or two at the airport, it is easy to increase alcohol consumption this time of the year. These overindulgences, even just for a few days, can lead to a build-up of fats in the liver. This is referred to as alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD). AFLD is reversible and rarely causes any symptoms but it is a good indication of overconsumption and the response should be a decrease in consumption so that you don’t impact your liver long term.
Your Diet has a Direct Impact on Liver Health
Although alcohol's influence on liver health is frequently discussed, the foods you eat play a significant role in determining the condition of your liver. Metabolic health is intricately connected to the overall well-being of the liver, as the liver is responsible for processing and metabolizing dietary fats. Excessive consumption of fatty and fried foods places a burden on the liver, resulting in the accumulation of fat within its cells - a condition known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is rapidly becoming the most common liver disease worldwide with 20-30% of the population in Western countries impacted. This fat buildup can progress to inflammation and, in severe cases, result in liver damage and scarring.
5 Healthy Habits to Protect Your Liver
Recognizing the impact dietary changes have on your liver is the first step to adopting healthy habits. Below are five ways you can aim to mitigate potential damage and promote overall well-being.
- Maintain an exercise routine: Whether you have a routine or are looking to create one, make sure you fit this into your lifestyle even with holiday disruptions. NAFLD is directly correlated with one’s BMI and is far more common in overweight adults.
- Seek out metabolic healthy foods: While it's easy to reach for another cookie or piece of pie, make sure you are incorporating healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and antioxidants - ginger is a great example! Eat lean proteins vs red meats or opt for a fish option like salmon which is high in healthy fats like omega-3s. Cook with herbs such as turmeric which may have metabolic benefits and add flavor without adding calories to your dish.
- Be conscious about alcohol consumption: When consuming alcohol make sure you have food in your stomach. Drinking with a meal slows the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol which affects how alcohol reacts in your body. Alcohol is metabolized by the liver, where enzymes break down the alcohol. Understanding the rate of metabolism is critical to understanding the effects of alcohol. Try to stick to just one drink every hour to allow your liver to metabolize the alcohol at a healthier rate.
- Try natural herbs: Many natural herbs have been used as ancient medicines in helping protect and detoxify the liver. Antioxidant rich herbs such as milk thistle, ginger and turmeric can help scavenge free radicals from the boy’s cells and reduce the damage caused by alcohol and diet. Milk Thistle contains a substance called silymarin that has been shown to protect the liver from toxins while turmeric contains a chemical compound called curcumin that has been suggested to have anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger has been studied as a way to manage NAFLD and showed beneficial effects on some NAFLD characteristics. Our PLUS Liver Support product has been formulated to support liver health as the key ingredients are rich in antioxidants to protect the liver.
- Consider Dry January: After a few weeks of sugary, fatty foods and alcohol consumption one of the best things you can do for your liver is taking a break and allowing it to regenerate and recover. Luckily, Fatty Liver Disease is reversible. If you stop drinking alcohol for 2 weeks, your liver should start to return to normal after this holiday season.
In conclusion, you can still enjoy this holiday season while keeping your liver in mind! Follow these key tips and check out our PLUS Liver Support products to see how our custom formulation can help with liver function and recovery from alcohol consumption.