With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve enlisted Daylesford’s Resident Nutritionist, Rhaya Jordan, to share her top 10 tips for showing your liver some love so you can give your body a health advantage before the festive season really kicks off!
Clinking tall glasses of chilled bubbles, indulging in fine wines alongside rich foods, quaffing cocktails at all times of day and night, passing around nips of whisky on winter walks – the festive season can be a bacchanalia of alcoholic drinks. Chances are you may get a little carried away at least once.
We would never deny you the pleasures of your chosen tipple but as ever, balance is key for wellbeing. Essentially, the goal is to cycle in and out of partying and resting your body.
All the liquid merriment can take its toll on your liver, a life-giving organ that many cultures believe is intimately associated with the very essence of a person. In naturopathy, the liver and gut are considered to be the foundation of wellbeing.
Here are ten great ideas to help protect this essential body part from too much boozy excess and help you eat, drink and be merry – and balanced!
Hydrate with fluids that aren’t alcohol – water, mint tea, green tea are your best friends over the party season. Make it a rule that you will not step out of your front door until you’ve downed a large glass of water – even if you are standing in cocktail dress and heels, ready to go!
Sneak in goodness
Incorporate delicious, liver-friendly food into party food and general cooking ahead of the Christmas season. Artichoke hearts blended until smooth with olive oil is a fantastic dip, for example. Choose things like savoury spelt biscuits, charcoal crackers and crudités over white crackers, crisps or cheese straws.
Pile on the protein
You can enjoy high-quality proteins as delicious canapés and finger foods at parties. Things like devilled eggs, smoked salmon, seafood and shellfish provide fabulous nutritional benefits and substantially cut calories all while remaining luxurious and satisfying.
Watch for sugar
If you are going to have sugar, you should know about it and therefore embrace it as a treat in decadent puddings and desserts. What you should look out for is white sugar hidden in everyday dishes that are not immediately obvious, such as processed tomato sauces. Try to ditch unnecessary added sugar in savoury foods.
Eat without sacrifice
You can still eat sweets which feel incredibly celebratory without punishing your liver with excess sugar and calories. Gelatin is high in collagen which is soothing to the gut and rich in protein. Try making jellies in a martini glass with blood orange, pomegranate seeds and gold leaf for a stunning, festive pudding
Say ‘no thank you’ to industrially-made, processed festive food; eat only the best mince pies made with real butter and plenty of dried fruit. Whatever you eat has got to be worth the calories as Pru from Bake Off says!
Give yourself a break
On days you don’t have anything in the diary and are not going out, enjoy foods like chicken bone broths, light lemongrass-y soups, juices and winter salads to give your body a break. Have a couple of vegetarian days throughout the week; experiment with recipes to enjoy seasonal vegetables e.g. roasted with a miso glaze.
You may associate salads with warm summers but you can easily adapt dishes to suit colder winter weather and seasonal ingredients. A good salad dressing is a wonderful remedy and boost for the body: olive oil is rich in beneficial phenolic compounds that can help you body mend some of the Christmas carnage.
Embrace the five flavours
Much festive food is sweet and salty but don’t forget about sour, bitter and umami flavours. These add interest and balance to food and can help you feel lighter. Bitter and sour send messages to your liver to increase its detoxification enzymes
Eat the rainbow
Deep, vibrant pigments are magnificent tonics for the liver. If your diary is a whirl of parties, make sure your plates, bowls and glasses are bursting with colour.
Here’s a delicious Winter Citrus Salad with liver-loving fennel!