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How to love your liver this holiday season

We all know over-indulging on culinary delights is a big part of Christmas. It’s a social time of year and getting together, for more people, centres around the dining table. But all that extra eating and drinking means your liver has to work extra-hard to process food and drink and clean toxins from the blood. This can lead to serious health issues. So how can you keep your liver fighting fit throughout the holiday season? 

Drink in moderation 

There’s a limit to how much alcohol the liver can handle. Drinking more than one or two alcoholic drinks in one sitting, or having multiple drinks each day, makes the liver work overtime. This applies regardless of the type of alcohol you’re drinking. Too much drinking can destroy liver cells and build up fat deposits that, left unchecked, can result in liver disease.  

Tips for drinking less  

  • Use different glasses. Studies have shown people pour less wine into narrow glasses than wide ones, which in turn means they drink less. Leaving a glass on the table while you fill it instead of holding it  will stop you pouring as much in. Straight-sided beer glasses with measurement markings slow down the rate at which we drink. 

  • Don’t over-fill. Filling glasses halfway rather than to the brim will also mean you drink less. 

  • Steer clear of boozy situations. Controlling your social environment where possible, e.g. by inviting friends over rather than hitting the town, can stop you drinking as much alcohol. Make a list of festive activities you enjoy that don’t involve booze and schedule them for times when you’re likely to be tempted to drink. And avoid drinking games that encourage excessive drinking over a short period of time. 

Don’t drink if you’re on medication 

This can damage your liver. When in doubt, stay sober until you’ve asked your doctor for advice. Playing it safe is better than suffering the potential consequences.  

Watch your sugar and fat intake 

Too much sugar and saturated fat in your diet can also cause fat to build up in the liver. Calories from sugar that your body doesn’t need can turn into fat. 

Drinking water fills you up, so you’ll feel less hungry and you won’t be as likely to head straight for the snack or dessert table at a social get-together.  

Choose healthier options 

Summer is a time for eating salads, and there are plenty of seasonal ingredients that can easily be thrown in to make a delicious main or side dish. Leave the butter off your potatoes, and think twice before you reach for that extra bread roll. Popcorn or whole-wheat crackers with hummus are good alternatives for potato chips, and fresh seasonal fruit tastes just as good as pavlova and Christmas cake for dessert. 


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