Feeling sluggish after the excesses of the festive season? Bad breath, constipation, poor skin, bags under the eyes, lethargy, irritability and fatigue are just some indications that you may benefit from an early spring clean! The New Year is a great time to revitalise the body.
Firstly, ditch the sugary foods including cakes, sweets, biscuits and chocolate. Replace sugar in drinks and cooking with xylitol, a natural sugar substitute found in plants that is tooth-friendly, inhibits yeasts and has 40% less calories than sugar. Processed foods, saturated fats, caffeine and alcohol can all increase the burden on the liver, impeding its ability to detoxify efficiently. Replace tea and coffee with herbal teas, such as green tea which is high in antioxidants, or a warming lemon and ginger tea. Increase antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, needed to protect the liver from harmful free-radicals, particularly the colourful ones such as butternut squash, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, apples and berries. If necessary, top up with an antioxidant supplement. Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, cabbage and broccoli not only support liver detoxification but also help maintain the correct acid-alkaline balance in the body.
Glutathione is a key nutrient to help support the capacity of your liver to detoxify environmental pollutants, alcohol, drugs, including prescribed medications and other chemicals. It also supports liver function by helping to convert fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble toxins. If these toxins are not removed effectively from the body, your health may suffer. Nutrients such as methionine, n-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and alpha-lipoic acid may help to influence the levels of glutathione in the body.
Whilst assisting the body’s cleansing mechanisms it is very important to ensure regular bowel movements. Increase fibre in the diet with wholegrains, vegetables, beans and pulses and consider supplementing a combination of flax seeds, probiotic bacteria and aloe vera. And don’t forget the fluids! Drink at least two litres of filtered water or herbal teas a day to keep hydrated.
Finally, get moving! Lymph, the fluid that removes toxins and poisons from the tissue spaces around our cells is reliant on exercise to move. Regular mild to moderate exercise not only boosts a sluggish lymphatic system, but also increases endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals, to boost your mood and motivation.
Above all have a happy and healthy new year!
Jenny Bodenham, Nutritionist at Higher Nature. Higher Nature is a UK based, independently owned company, with over 20 years history as pioneers in nutrition, specialising in vitamins, supplements and health foods to suit all.