Alright folks, it’s August and it’s festival season. This is both exciting and concerning as it poses certain health related issues. “How will I take my live probiotic with me?” “What if I can’t find any organic kale?” “Do you think they have kelp noodles at Glasto?”
We are of course exaggerating. Festival season, if you’re going, is a chance to let your hair down and jump headlong into the fray of sweaty bodies all loving life and music at the same time. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Some of you healthy foodies out there may be starting to think about the best ways to detox before you retox, or put simply, the most effective ways to prepare your body for a weekend of not much sleep, too much booze and some bad food choices!
When it comes down to it, it’s all about looking after that liver. Most people assume that the liver’s only function is to detoxify the body, but it is actually a shockingly complex organ with multiple systems and crazy wizardry that keeps us all feeling tip-top on a daily basis. For example, your liver crosses over with your bowel – so if you have bad gut health then you can intoxicate yourself via your bowel-liver connection as well as just feeling bloated and experiencing IBS symptoms. (For more info on why gut health is so important, click here). It also plays an important role with regulating hormones and secreting bile for digestion. So it’s not just a case of feeling hungover for a day or so if you’ve overdone it – the consequences could be more far reaching than that.
That being said, the liver is also spectacularly good at its job. We’re talking here mainly about deliberate intoxication but our food even contains toxins that our bodies need to process, regardless of whether it’s organic or not. Couple that with pollution, stress and lack of sleep and it’s not surprising that so many people these days are dealing with some degree of liver underperformance.
So how can we boost it’s function so that you don’t need to worry as much about feeling rubbish post festival season?
- Liver Flush Booster
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: This stuff is gold dust. Beetroot contains betadine which encourages the body’s production of glutathione. Glutathione is a tripeptide found in every cell of the body. Glutathione is often called the "master antioxidant" and is essential for healthy immune function, the liver’s detoxification process, and more. It also contains milk thistle, active ingredient silymarin, which helps to prevent toxins from binding to cell receptor sites.
- Taking some of the burden off your liver
Whilst your liver is working hard to do its job, make it easier for it to get the task done by reducing your toxin exposure. So pre-festival this could be avoiding alcohol for a couple of weeks, choosing organic food over non-organic, staying away from too much pollution, making healthy food choices and resting as much as possible. Night time is when your body takes all the nutrients you’ve ingested that day through your diet and puts them to use. Your parasympathetic nervous system sets in and gets your body into that rest, digest and repair phase which is so crucial for maintaining overall health – needless to say if this process is working well you’ll wake feeling refreshed. All too many of us these days wake up feeling like we haven’t slept at all and head straight for the caffeine to fix that.
- Making savvy food choices
You can be quite cunning in your food choices to specifically target liver function. There are 2 phases to liver detoxification, and funnily enough, they are called phase 1 and phase 2. Phase 1 is where toxins that are hiding in our cells come out and mobilise and phase 2, also called conjugation, is where those toxins bind to protein molecules to be excreted from the body. So firstly it’s important for phase 2 that we have an adequate supply of good quality protein and secondly we need to make sure we’re supporting phase 1 with lots of antioxidants. Foods that specifically target phase 1 liver are Broccoli, broccoli sprouts, bok choi, pomegranate, schisandra berry, milk thistle, watercress, coriander, rosemary, white tea, berries, turmeric and a few more besides. Phase 2 can also be helped by B vitamins, selenium, brazil nuts, almonds, kelp and N-Acetly-Cysteine.
- Taking the pressure off your digestion with a juice cleanse
When the body is constantly digesting the energy and nutrients that it would usually use for detoxification have to go elsewhere. Resting your digestive system every once in a while is an excellent way to improve overall health, and for us that means doing a juice cleanse. Our personal favourite is the green cleanse as the quality of the nutrients in those organic green juices are just something else. So not only does your digestion get a rest but your body still gets loads of vital vitamins and minerals from the veggies and fruit.