The Three Step Re-Set for Christmas Over-Indulgence
Do you throw caution to the wind during the Christmas break, eating and drinking everything that’s on offer with wild abandon? If you do, well you won’t be alone, most people spend between 20% to 40% more at Christmas on extra food and alcohol 2 and there’s very little left by the time January rolls round! But what about the post-Christmas fall out?
It’s not uncommon to face the new year in a body you don’t recognise. Spotty skin, a few extra pounds and zero energy is probably not what you were hoping for, but all is not lost. You can still enjoy everything the coming year has to offer with vibrant good health and boundless energy, you just need to get back on track as soon as possible, but don’t wait until January. Use the gap between Christmas and New Year to schedule in a liver cleanse, this natural lull between celebrations is ideal and quickly gets you back into that ‘healthy’ headspace.
Before you know it, you’ll see a positive change in your mood, skin and energy. All you need to do is focus on these 3 key steps:
Step 1. ZONE IN ON YOUR LIVER
The accumulation of toxins coupled with nutrient deficiencies following the seasonal blow-out is guaranteed to leave you feeling under par.Much of the reason you feel so uncomfortable after Christmas is down to the demands on your liver and digestion. Because the liver is the largest detoxifying organ in the body it takes the lion’s share of the work, sifting through the assorted toxins that have passed through your system and neutralising any potentially damaging effects.
The liver also stores all the good stuff you need for recovery, like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. What’s more it helps to transform all those carbs you’ve been eating into the fuel you need for energy. Needless to say, anything that interferes with liver function will leave you feeling seriously frazzled, so taking the pressure off can have a huge impact on how well you feel.
Luckily the liver has an amazing capacity to regenerate itself, but it needs your help! Cutting down on foods that place a burden on the liver should be your first priority. This means giving sugar, caffeine, processed foods and alcohol a wide berth.
Protein is Key
The liver relies on a constant source of protein to perform well, so fill up your shopping basket with a good range of high-quality protein. Choose from eggs, poultry, fish, lean meat, cheese, eggs, yoghurt and pulses. If you’re a vegan don’t hold back on the lentils, beans, grains, soya products, nuts and seeds.
It’s all about the amino acids in protein foods that are so important for detoxifying . They’re vital for helping the liver to function, particularly glutathione. This indispensable amino acid is highly active in the liver where it plays a major role in helping to remove the daily build-up of toxic substances. It’s so vital that any deficiency in glutathione exposes the liver cells to potential toxic damage.1
A defence nutrient like glutathione has excellent benefits by itself, but it’s actions can be greatly enhanced by sharing the workload with other antioxidants such as vitamin C. While glutathione works really well inside the cells offering important protection against oxidative stress and free radical damage, vitamin C performs the same functions except outside of the cells.
According to a clinical trial, just 500mg/d of vitamin C elevates red blood cell glutathione in healthy adults. 3 At the same time glutathione is shown to improve the stability of vitamin C extending its activity,4 so together they make a great team helping to recharge and replenish each other.
Including a good range of vitamin C rich foods in your cleansing diet will really help to support your liver but don’t feel you have to eat mountains of oranges. A mostly plant-based diet which is naturally high in vegetables and fruit will support liver detoxification by providing plenty of vitamin C, plus a whole range of additional antioxidants, phytoestrogens and anti-inflammatory compounds that help to counter the effects of toxic substances.
Liver Support Supplements
Glutathione is a nutrient you’ll definitely want in your detox protocol, but it’s not easily obtained from the diet, so here’s where a good quality supplement is worth its weight in gold. If you’re looking for results then it’s always best to opt for liposomal formulas such as Altrient’s liposomal glutathione. Liposomal supplements are repeatedly shown to outperform standard supplements when it comes to delivering nutrients directly to the blood and to the cells and tissues.
For added liver protection a daily dose of zeolite is a great partner to glutathione. Zeolite is a natural volcanic mineral and is one of nature's greatest detoxifiers due to its ability to bind toxic heavy metals and other environmental pollutants. Nutrition experts frequently recommend ACZ Nano Zeolite to support a body cleansing programme.
For picky eaters averse to fruit and vegetables, supplementing with vitamin C is a sensible choice. A chelated form of vitamin C that’s gentle on the stomach is the perfect option and can help to bridge the gap for those with dietary deficiencies. Neutrient’s Total C comes highly recommended by health practitioners because of its unique formula containing 5 different types of vitamin C. The combination of both water and fat-soluble forms of chelated vitamin C together with the synergistic actions of the additional nutrients within Neutrient Total C, offers superior absorption that far exceeds the uptake limitations of other traditional vitamin C tablets or capsules.
Step 2. TACKLE INFLAMMATION
After a prolonged period of over-indulgence, the body’s natural waste disposal system is likely to be overloaded. While the liver is struggling to process all the accumulated toxins, it releases inflammatory compounds that can trigger an inflammatory response.
Prolonged inflammation is at the root of several chronic diseases and is a major culprit for many of the familiar symptoms you might experience after the party season, especially those head-splitting hangovers! What’s more, the body's immune response to inflammation can also be energetically demanding, leading to persistent fatigue.
A good antidote to this is to follow an anti-inflammatory diet, reducing foods that promote inflammation such as red meat, dairy products, caffeine and alcohol and increasing plant foods that naturally counter inflammation.
Fruit and Veg to the Rescue!
Fruit and vegetables are jam packed with all you need for a fast track to recovery, but remember variety covers all bases when it comes to the anti-inflammatory health benefits. So be generous with your portions and include lots of different colours on your plate. Get creative with fruit, oven bake your favourites to enhance the natural sweetness, add some to porridge or mix into yogurt. Pureed fruit is also great as a topping on your morning muesli.
Let’s not forget herbs and spices. These have their own unique plus points for countering inflammation, especially when you need an antidote to Christmas excesses. And while we’re on that subject if it’s a hangover cure, you’re looking for botanicals can step in and save the day, but you need to take some preventative measures too…
During the celebrations, make sure you pace your alcohol intake, sip slowly (moderation is the key) and don’t drink on an empty stomach. It’s also wise to alternate each drink with a glass of water. Some research suggests that dark spirits give a much fiercer hangover than vodka, so that’s something to think about, but overall, it’s about quantity, the best remedy is abstinence!
If you still wake up with a banging headache and an upset stomach it’s time to turn to some tried and tested botanicals to soothe your gut and clear out the cobwebs. Turmeric and Boswellia are two of the most impressive performers for calming any morning after the night before damage!
Turmeric is best known for adding a distinctive flavour to curries, but is also a firm favourite in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as a natural treatment for many inflammatory ailments. Its active compound curcumin has been utilised for centuries as a potent defence nutrient to support liver health and detoxification processes.
Boswellia is another must have botanical to use as a support for over-indulgence. It’s also known as Indian Frankincense and has a long history of use in traditional remedies where it’s often added to other herbs and spices such as turmeric to aid healing in inflammatory conditions. When it comes to enhancing an anti-inflammatory diet, these two play starring roles.
Step 3. GET OFF THE SOFA
Let’s face it we all get super lazy over Christmas. It’s one of the few times you give yourself permission to stay rooted to the sofa watching junk TV, whilst filling your belly with goodies. But there’s only so much sitting around a human body can do. In fact, as humans, we are hard-wired to move in order to thrive. Daily activity is as important for physical and mental wellbeing as oxygen and food. But any kind of movement will do, you don’t need to go to the gym or run a marathon, good old walking is just as beneficial and also places less stress on the body.
If you factor in daily exercise with your dietary changes, you’ll see a more rapid improvement in your symptoms. Regular exercise is shown to help speed up the transit of food through the bowels, which makes toxin elimination super-efficient. As well as this exercise brings the added bonus of raising endorphin levels - the body’s feel-good chemicals, which enhance your mood and motivation making it easier for you to stick to your new healthy eating regime.
REFERENCES1.Honda, Y., Kessoku, T., Sumida, Y. et al. Efficacy of glutathione for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: an open-label, single-arm, multicenter, pilot study. BMC Gastroenterol 17, 96 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12876-017-0652-3. 42.How much do we spend at Christmas? | Bank of England. [Accessed 21.11.23] 13.Johnston CS, Meyer CG, Srilakshmi JC. Vitamin C elevates red blood cell glutathione in healthy adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 Jul;58(1):103-5. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/58.1.103. 24.Nguyen K. Tram, Rayna M. McLean & Katelyn E. Swindle-Reilly (2021) Glutathione Improves the Antioxidant Activity of Vitamin C in Human Lens and Retinal Epithelial Cells: Implications for Vitreous Substitutes, Current Eye Research, 46:4, 470-481, DOI: 10.1080/02713683.2020.1809002. 3