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Love your liver these holidays

Love your liver these holidays

Practical tips to help you prepare for a happy, healthy holiday season.

Lifestyle insight
Reading time: 3 minutes

As you head towards the holiday season, you’ll probably be preparing to celebrate the end of the working year, Christmas and the new year – as well as the general sunshine and happiness the warm weather brings.

Yet, for many of us, these celebrations are often characterised by party foods, indulgence and overconsumption.

So, if you’re tired of the annual Christmas blowout, fear not – it is possible to stay healthy and celebrate. All you need is a little willpower – and some simple tips to help you get started.

Reducing alcohol

  • Drive to events – then you have an excuse to stick to one or two drinks
  • Find a healthy alternative – soda and lime, fresh juice
  • Alternate with water – if you finish a drink have a water between drinks – this slows down and you won’t consume as much
  • Eat when you drink – if you eat while you drink, you may feel less likely to drink excessively
  • Grab a fancy non-alcoholic drink – you won’t feel left out from the crowd with a glass of your favourite non-alcoholic beverage in tow – when the weather heats up a glass of iced sparkling water with a twist of lime is a great option!

Serving healthy party snacks

High-fat and high-salt foods cause your liver to work hard at ridding the body of damage and this can lead to sluggish liver.

If you’re hosting a party this holiday season, aim to serve healthy party foods instead of salty, fatty treats. Here are some alternatives to try:

  • Raw vegetables and homemade beetroot or hummus dips instead of chips
  • Vegetable frittatas instead of sausages
  • Fruit skewers instead of sweet lollies and chocolates
  • Raw nuts instead of salted nuts

Watching your portions

During the holiday season, many of us have a tendency to overeat. Whether this is at a Christmas dinner, an ‘all you can eat’-style buffet, or a party where canapes and snack foods abound, it can be tricky knowing how much you’ve eaten if you don’t have a dinner plate in front of you.

When you increase the volume of your meals, your energy intake increases as well – and, over time, this can lead to other health problems.

Keep your portions in check by:

  • Eat slowly – this means you’ll feel full quicker
  • Stick to dinner plate-sized meals – try and visualise the amount you’d normally eat
  • Drink water – water will help to slow down your eating and ensure you’re not eating when you’re really just thirsty
  • Don’t go to a party when you’re really hungry – this will mean you’re less likely to overeat
  • Get enough sleep – when you’re overtired, you tend to look to food to give you an energy boost

Remember, the silly season doesn’t have to be synonymous with overindulgence – but it may not be easy to stick to your guns when you’re surrounded by people who aren’t on the same page.

Psychologists argue that willpower is like a muscle – it can be trained, yet it uses up vital energy and can become depleted if overused. For this reason, it makes sense to spend time training it – and not taking on too much.

Start slowly, and focus on changing one habit first – rather than attempting to do too much at once. Your health – and especially your liver – will thank you for it.

 

References available on request.

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