Look after your liver and digestion this Christmas and New Year
We all know how delicious the festive season can be. But many of us are left regretting our delectable decisions over the holiday period. Here are our best holiday season hacks for looking after your liver and digestion this Christmas and New Year.
The Christmas cheer is starting to spread - you can feel it in the air as the holiday season approaches. Whether it’s your work Christmas party, that pre-Christmas catch up with friends or the big day itself; tasty temptations abound.
Bubbly, sugary treats, rich meat dishes and carbohydrates galore – your liver and digestive system are probably already cringing at the thought!
In excess, refined carbohydrates, sugar and fat can be problematic for the liver and digestive system to process, and you might be left with indigestion or feeling bloated, burpy or even nauseous.
Traditional Chinese medicine and the liver
Aside from detoxification and producing bile to break down fats, in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) the liver is also considered responsible for the movement of Qi, blood and body fluids around the body, supporting the digestive functions of the spleen organ-meridian system.
According to TCM, eating fatty or greasy foods can interfere with the liver’s ability to move Qi around the body. This may lead to liver Qi stagnation, sluggishness, digestive difficulties, and excess heat and dampness in the liver.
Good news though, you can support your liver and digestive system to get you through the holiday season. Here are some of our favourite herbs.
Milk thistle supports healthy liver function
Milk thistle is traditionally used in Western herbal medicine as a liver tonic, to help the digestion of fats in the diet and to relieve indigestion. Bonus, it also supports the detoxication processes and health of the liver.
Citrus peel relieves indigestion
Citrus peel is traditionally used in Chinese medicine for healthy digestion, and to relieve indigestion, nausea, excessive burping and abdominal bloating. Yes please!
Baical skullcap aids healthy detoxification
Liver Qi stagnation can lead to excess heat in the body. Based on its traditional use in TCM, baical skullcap not only helps to clear excess heat , it also aids healthy detoxification.
Globe artichoke soothes digestive complaints
Globe artichoke is traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to increase bile flow and relieve mild digestive disturbances such as indigestion including symptoms of abdominal discomfort, bloating and fullness, burping and nausea.
Chamomile relieves bloating
Another herb from Western herbal medicine, chamomile is traditionally taken to alleviate mild digestive complaints including bloating, indigestion, flatulence and burping.
More holiday season hacks
- Limit sugary and greasy treats (including alcohol) and instead enjoy healthy fat sources such as extra-virgin olive oil, a fish oil supplement and oily fish, fresh salads and lean protein (like turkey and salmon) or vegetable-based proteins (such as tofu and legumes)
- Include fibre in your diet from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Fibre aids the removal of waste from the body and supports the liver’s detoxification processes. Best consumed warm according to Chinese medicine if you have a sluggish liver
- Eat pungent foods, which are traditionally consumed to support detoxification and clear liver stagnation in TCM, including watercress, cardamom, rosemary and oregano, and sour/bitter foods including garlic, ginger, grapefruit and coriander
- Keep hydrated by drinking at least two litres of water every day
- Get plenty of exercise as it promotes the flow of liver Qi and can help with that sluggish feeling