Despite the havoc this time of year can wreak on the liver, there are four do’s and don’ts that can help keep your liver healthy during this holiday season.
Many believe it to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for a liver, the holidays present one of its greatest challenges. Especially those with chronic liver disease, common holiday situations and temptations require a particularly aggressive commitment to liver health. By paying attention to how your body feels and what you put into it, you can help your liver survive all of December’s celebrations without any additional damage being done.
Four Holiday Foes
As the organ that must process toxins, the liver can incur damage from a countless number of evils. In fact, there are entire books written about what people with liver disease should avoid. However, four enemies are especially prevalent during the holidays, thus warranting a reminder to avoid the following:
1. Alcohol – Alcohol destroys liver cells and exponentially worsens liver disease. Read Alcohol’s Negative Impact on Liver Disease to learn why it is so important for those with liver disease to choose non-alcoholic beverages.
2. Stress – Most of us are aware that when we are stressed we are more likely to get sick. Unfortunately, stress also hampers the liver’s ability to function properly. Because this season is known to create a lot of stress, find ways to avoid the holiday’s most stressful situations.
3. Sugar – Loaded into most holiday treats, sugars are metabolized in the liver following consumption. When excessive amounts are consumed, the liver converts sugar into fat. Unfortunately, this conversion worsens fatty liver disease and reduces the liver’s ability to perform its other life-sustaining functions.
4. Fatty Foods – Foods high in saturated fat such as ham, pot roast or any delectable created with butter, margarine or shortening are abundant on the holiday table. These foods are almost guaranteed to slow down liver function, worsen fatty liver disease and increase the likelihood of portal hypertension.
Four Liver Allies
Keeping your attention fixed on what harms your liver can feel very restrictive, especially during a time where letting loose is customary. Aside from the mandate of abstaining from alcohol with liver disease, it can be nearly impossible for many to keep away from all stress, sugary and fatty foods during the holidays. While an occasional snowman cookie won’t kill you, there are several things you can do to help minimize potential damage to your liver.
1. Water – The liver needs lots of pure water to process waste. Besides preventing dehydration from a hectic holiday schedule, drinking water helps flush out toxins that might otherwise cause liver damage. In addition, water assures this organ is well lubricated so that it can perform optimally.
2. Relaxation – Taking time out for relaxation could be one of your greatest defenses against holiday stress. To better understand how stress injures the liver and learn about several relaxation tips, read The Connection Between Stress Relief and Liver Health.
3. Healthy Food – Aside from avoiding sugary and fatty foods, choosing healthy fare can actually help your liver overcome the obstacles it faces. Especially when at a holiday celebration, keep your eye out for:
· fresh fruit and vegetables which contain antioxidants to reduce liver damage
· whole grains that are high in fiber to cleanse your liver naturally
· lean meat and fish which are high in protein to give your liver the building blocks it needs
4. Milk Thistle – Since it’s nearly impossible to avoid all potential liver toxins, be proactive by protecting your liver. Milk thistle offers superior hepatic protection by strengthening the liver’s outer walls to deflect damaging toxins. Especially during the season where temptation is everywhere, give yourself extra liver support by supplementing with a highly absorbable form of milk thistle.
There is little doubt that those with liver disease are put to the test during the holiday season. However, December’s burdens can be eased by avoiding alcohol while minimizing stress, sugar and fat. In addition, those with liver disease can begin the New Year with confidence by including plenty of water, relaxation, healthy food and milk thistle into their busy holiday schedules.
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