Has the festive season and busy start to 2016 left you feeling sluggish and unhealthy? It is probably because your body is trying to shake the effects of prolonged over- indulgence – of too much sugar, caffeine, alcohol, overeating and under-exercising. Unfortunately, the festive season can take its toll on our liver, leaving us feeling less than energetic at the start of the year. Give your liver a break by cutting out the following five things;
Without resorting to an extravagant detox that is bound to leave you starved and unable to focus for a few days, world renowned psychologist and nutrition expert, Patrick Holford suggests giving your liver a good kick-start each year, simply by making and sticking to five new good habits, while committing to breaking five bad habits.
“The liver is the chemical brain of the body, constantly recycling, regenerating and detoxifying in order to maintain your health. Sometimes, because of an overload in toxins, it simply cannot process fast enough and consequently toxins are stored in the body to be dealt with later, which is why you feel especially ‘under par’ after a period of excess,” explains Holford.
Starting with the difficult part – to give your liver a good break you need to avoid:
- Wheat – our deadly bread. All wheat contains a protein called gluten which is exceedingly unfriendly to your digestive tract. So, give your gut a week’s break to allow the liver to focus on detoxifying other toxins. You can eat cereals, breads and pastas made from oats, amaranth, buckwheat, corn, grain, millet or quinoa.
- Avoid milk. It’s the most common food allergen and most people produce antibodies to it. In other words, it causes your immune system to react. It’s also mucous-forming. Give your system a week off milk and all dairy products. You can also try to replace your milk with dairy free Hemp Milk.
- Caffeine – kick the habit. If the thought of giving up coffee causes a burst of hostility, then the chances are you are addicted to caffeine. Caffeine is a toxin that makes your liver work hard to detoxify it. If you can bear it, cut out caffeine for one week and replace it with green tea, Rooibos or Patrick Holford’s new Awake Tea with Moringa.
- Alcohol – give it a break. Putting aside any benefits that a glass of red wine may have for heart health, there is no denying that alcohol taxes both your liver and gut. The more alcohol you consume, the more antioxidants you need and the harder your liver has to work. Give it a complete break for a week or two.
- Stay away from bad fats. These are damaged fats called trans-fats, which these days are much in the news, for good reason. They are found in deep-fried foods and foods containing hydrogenated vegetable oils. To minimize your exposure to trans-fats, stay away from fried food and processed fat spreads and meat.
The five habits to make in 2016 are:
- Drink 8 glasses of water a day. After all, your body is 66% water and this alone will help you detoxify.
- Eat superfoods to spring-clean your system. The best foods include fresh apricots, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, kiwi, papayas, peaches, mangoes, melons, red grapes and all types of berries. Vegetables that are especially good for detoxification include artichokes, peppers, beets, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, kale, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato, tomato, watercress, and bean and seed sprouts. To make life more delicious, try Bliss Superfood Balls for a treat.
- Load up on anti-aging antioxidants. They are the key players in detoxifying your body. If you boost your intake, from both food and supplements, you’ll definitely notice the difference. The top antioxidant power foods include pomegranate, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, baby spinach, kale, broccoli, beetroot, avocado, red peppers, cherries and kiwi fruit.
- Take liver-detoxifying supplements. From Liver Ally to milk thistle, there’s a combination of seven top detoxifiers to give your liver’s detox capacity an upgrade. Look for a supplement that contains: N-Acetyl Cysteine, Milk Thistle Extract, Cruciferous Vegetable Compounds, MSM, Ellagic Acid, Dandelion Extract and Alpha Lipoic Acid.
- Do detoxifying exercises every day. Exercise has a vital role to play in helping the body to get rid of toxins – especially at times of excess. Any whole-body exercise is good for detoxification – brisk walking, jogging, swimming, yoga or Pilates are all great for this. Holford recommends and practices Psychocalisthenics – a precise sequence of 23 exercises which combine body movement with chi-generating breathing.
He also advises a good massage to detoxify at every level by stimulating the circulation and lymphatic systems as the body stores chemical toxins, physical tension and negative emotions – all by-products of a busy festive season. So book yourself a massage in the name of health, drink your water, eat your superfoods, get a bit of exercise in and be sure of an energised and healthy start to 2016.
Look out for Patrick Holford AGE Antioxidant, a combination of Resveratrol, Co-Q10, Glutathione and Alpha Lipoic Acid as well as other vitamins and minerals to provide your body with antioxidants. Available at Dis-Chem, independent pharmacies and health stores. For further information visit www.holforddirect.co.za.
Many of these products are available in Life Retreat’s online shop, click here
Issued on behalf of Brunel Laboratoria by:
UrbanHouse Media – Heather Mullon