By Dr Cris Beer
These days party season seems to last all year with endless social functions and other commitments. There is a way to navigate these events so that your health doesn’t suffer as a result of overindulgence on food and drink. The key is to effectively ‘detox’ your system following one of these occasions so that these outings do not start to affect your health and waistline! Follow these simple tips for at least forty-eight hours after a party to help your body and liver recover and get back on track.
Step one – reduce toxic fats
The trans fats found in processed and packaged foods, as well as an excessive intake of saturated fats found in animal products (such as fatty cuts of meat), can overwhelm the liver’s normal functioning. These can contribute to fatty liver disease, as described previously.
If your liver is already overwhelmed by party food containing these fats, then for the next forty-eight hours avoid these processed and packaged foods (which is really a good habit for life anyway). Stick to good fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds, oily fish such as salmon and eggs. Avoid frying food in fats that can be converted to toxic fats, as previously explained. Instead, choose instead macadamia oil, rice bran, grapeseed or a small amount of coconut oil.
Step two – hydrate well
Provide your liver with the fluid it needs to eliminate and detoxify. Avoid further dehydrating your body by reducing tea and coffee intake to no more than two to three cups per day. Aim for two to three litres of filtered water per day for the next two days.
Step three – avoid alcohol
Ideally, we consume alcohol in moderation, even at parties. In reality though, on occasion, alcohol consumption will be in excess. It is important to avoid all alcohol in the days following a big drinking session to give our liver a break from having to process this toxin.
Step four – cut back on sugar
Fructose, found in table sugar as well
as fruit, can overwhelm the liver if
eaten in excess. The result is fatty liver disease as well as insulin resistance. Since the body
uses alcohol as a source of fuel in preference to other food sources while alcohol is still floating around in the system, it will store anything else you
eat during this time as body fat. This effect can last for several days following a drinking session. So to reduce alcohol-related weight gain and the danger of contributing to fatty liver disease, keep your intake of sugar to a minimum following a drinking session. This means limiting processed foods, desserts and treats, which often contain large amounts of hidden sugars.
Step five – avoid paracetamol
This medication is also processed by
the liver. It is often taken for various conditions such as body aches and pains, as well as headaches, including hangover headaches. If you have had a large drinking session and overindulged in party foods, my suggestion would be to avoid taking paracetamol for the next forty-eight hours, as you may exacerbate liver overload.
Step six – stay regular
A healthy liver requires a healthy digestive system, as the two are intrinsically linked. Staying regular helps to aid the liver in its detoxification process and helps the bowel expel this waste.
Keep your fibre intake high in the days following a party by including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds. Adding psyllium husks to your breakfast may help to increase the fibre content of your meals without adding bulk.
Following the above tips will help to offset some of the effects of party overindulgence. The key of course is not to overindulge too often! Still attend parties but keep in mind an important principle of good health, which is moderation.
Dr Cris Beer was a Dry July ambassador and author of Healthy Liver (Rockpool Publishing $29.99), now available at all good book stores and online at www.rockpoolpublishing.com.au