Herbal columnist Nicola Parker writes about preventing over indulgence
If you’re planning to overindulge this Christmas, how guilty are you going to feel about it?
In January, I see a lot of people asking for detox plans to help them undo all their festive weight gain and help ease their bloated, uncomfortable bellies.
Alternatively, I see people who’ve made themselves unwell, undertaking an absurd diet and exercise regime.
January is literally the worst time to undertake any sort of detox.
The months are dark, we’re recovering from the stressors of Christmas as well as the over abundance of foods we wouldn’t normally eat. We’re more likely to catch or be recovering from a bug and January has been confirmed to be the most depressing month of the year.
Is it any wonder so many people fail to stick to their resolutions?
This year, if you want to stay healthier, think smart about it.
Don’t spend the next week eating all the left over Christmas treats, telling yourself you’ll fix it once January begins.
Start looking after your health now. Prevention strategies, are far wiser than cures.
I’m not suggesting you ignore the Christmas brandy or forgo the mince pies, although moderation here would indeed be the healthiest course of action.
Instead, if you know you’re going to make the most of the festive food and drink, start showing your liver some love while you’re doing it.
You’re liver has a number of roles in the body but during Christmas it has it’s work cut out.
The liver will detoxify the body from any alcohol you consume, break down the extra fat you eat from puddings and meaty leftovers.
The liver also produces bile, to help break down fats, easing any digestive discomfort you may have after eating larger meals.
For this reason, I recommend that anyone who knows they’re prone to indulgence, consider taking some liver herbs.
My own favourite is called Milk Thistle Complex.
The complex part is important because while milk thistle helps to protect the liver, the complex also contains artichoke and dandelion root, herbs known for that all important fat breakdown.
Improving your breakdown of fats isn’t just about avoiding an extra inch around the waist.
By breaking down fat better, you support the elimination of it and for this reason, liver herbs like this can be key in the management of healthy cholesterol levels.
I use a remedy made from Red Yeast Rice for Cholesterol management, it works really well for people that are unable to take stains due to the side effects.
This remedy contains liver herbs and for anyone with unhealthy cholesterol, liver herbs can be key, especially if your diet contains animal fats, cheese, pastry or puddings that use butter or milk.
Poorly digested fats can also cause indigestion, heartburn and bloating with discomfort.
It’s common to blame the Brussels sprouts for the boxing day wind, but the truth may be that your body has struggled to digest some of the food you’ve eaten.
This can cause gas build up, so the bitter herbs in the Milk Thistle Complex should ease some of this burden, particularly the dandelion root.
Bile is our natural laxative and while it wont cause diarrhoea, if your bowel if full and stubborn, it will help to keep things moving to stop the uncomfortable bloat.
Milk thistle will help the liver recover from any alcohol consumption so as well as plenty of water, it’s known as the herbal hangover cure.
It wont do anything for a bad head which is caused by dehydration, but it will help the liver eliminate and detoxify the alcohol quicker.
This will help to address the sickly feeling that a night of intoxication (however mild) can leave us with, as well as the thick head and woolly feelings the next day.
As delicious as a glass of wine, brandy or sherry might be, the alcohol content does act as a poison in the body, so the liver really needs to step up during this time.
Giving it a helping hand seems like a sensible idea.
For more information on this topic, contact Nicola on 01524 413733.