According to a report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, it’s thought that nearly double the amount of people in the UK drank “high-risk” amounts of alcohol in the first lockdown—that’s a whopping 8.4 million people—let alone what the stats will show from the second lockdown. Add this to the fact that liver disease is now the third biggest cause of death in those aged between 18 and 65 (despite 90% of the cases being preventable), and how alcohol already costs the NHS billions every year2, it’s no doubt that the UK is set to see big fallout health issues from COVID-19 long term.
Here, Simon Bandy of natural health specialists Veganicity, explains why the best gift you could give your liver this Christmas is some TLC, and offers his top tips to combat the festive (or all year in 2020’s case) indulgences:
Try to reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet – the liver considers caffeine as one of the toxins it needs to deal with and remove from the body. If you really can’t live without your daily fix, try having it with food to give your body a better chance of breaking it down in the digestive process.
Consider taking supplements – they are a good way of ensuring that your body and liver get good quality nutrients, that are essential for the repair process and may be lacking in the food we eat. Remember that nutritional products are a supplement to the diet and not a replacement. But always make sure products contain lots of antioxidant vitamins and minerals, flavonoids, B vitamins, and amino acids.
Keep hydrated – it is the liver’s job to cleanse the body. An obvious but important tip is to drink water on a regular basis to help flush away waste and toxins. Adding a slice of lemon further helps enhance the liver detoxification process.
Add variety into your diet – there are several foods that are great to eat to help your liver such as:
- Beetroot: rich in plant flavonoids and beta carotene, which stimulate healthy liver function.
- Turmeric: a source of curcumin, which helps cleanse carcinogens.
- Garlic: rich in allicin to encourage liver enzyme activity.
- Green Tea: rich in antioxidants contributing to a liver flushing function.
- Grapefruit: high in the antioxidant vitamin c, take either as juice or fruit
- Leafy Greens: spinach, kale and lettuce all help with bile production and are also rich in plant chlorophylls which naturally help liver detoxification.
- Avocado: high in amino acids, especially glutathione for detoxification.
- Artichoke: a fibrous plant, rich in Caffeoylquinic and Cynarin, both phenolic acid compounds which help maintain proper bile production and distribution, encouraging the removal of toxins and the repair of the liver.
Take a break – the liver’s job is to detoxify alcohol and eliminate harmful waste products. The more alcohol that is in your system, the harder the liver has to work to keep you healthy. Excessive drinking can cause a build-up of triglycerides which can lead to fatty liver disease. If you give your body a break from the booze, the liver will repair itself, providing there is no permanent damage.
Simon said: “There is no question that 2020 has seen us all face exceptional circumstances and, as such, some of us have certainly upped our alcohol intake. Our concern is, with the public already drinking more than normal, and then Christmas naturally being a time for over-indulgence, what effect it will have on our bodies, and already strained NHS, long term. With just a few simple steps people can really help their bodies – the liver is an incredible organ that, in most circumstances, can repair itself, so a bit of TLC is the best gift we can give ourselves this year.”
Veganicity offers Liver Kind – a comprehensive unique vegan combination of key lipotropic nutrients, helping people safeguard their nutrient intake and protect the health of the liver. It’s high in vitamins, minerals, artichoke and key amino acids, which help detoxify the body and eliminate harmful chemicals. Products are available from www.veganicity.com, www.amazon.co.uk and all good independent health shops nationwide.