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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Protect your liver this festive season

WITH the festive season just around the corner, it may be difficult to stick to a healthy diet, especially if you go on a holiday and your normal routine of exercise, sleep and mealtimes is changed.

Every party and get-together seems to revolve around food and alcoholic drinks and it is difficult to resist over-indulging on all the delicious treats and mouthwatering food.

It is still important for us to keep a healthy lifestyle especially during the festive season as we spend most of our time partying and reveling with our friends and family.

It is at times like this that many of us tend to overeat, overindulge on alcohol and overstress our body physically by not having enough sleep.

This unhealthy lifestyle may introduce toxins that are harmful to the liver resulting in a sluggish liver that leads to many health problems. Symptoms of a liver that is not functioning at its best are allergies, abdominal swelling and pain, coated tongue, bad breath, dark coloured urine, feeling tired and fatigued, frequent nausea and headaches, itching of the skin, jaundice, mood swings, poor concentration and weak immunity.

You can still stay healthy while partying and having fun. But it is important to ensure your liver is functioning at its optimum. Here are some tips to help your liver stay healthy during the festive season:

• Eat sufficient fibre.

• Drink plenty of water.

• Get enough rest and relaxation.

• Know your alcohol limits.

• Reduce intake of caffeinated beverages and processed food.

• Avoid food high in sugar and fat.

• Exercise regularly.

• Supplement with natural liver tonics such as milk thistle, dandelion root and turmeric root that have been used for liver protection and improving overall liver health.

Milk Thistle (Silybum mananum) has been used for thousands of years as herbal remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly liver problems. Taken as a natural liver tonic, milk thistle strengthens the liver, protects and allows it to process and release toxins.

The active ingredient, or liverprotecting compound, in milk thistle is known as silymarin, nature's herbal liver detoxifier. Silymarin keeps new liver cells from being destroyed, reduces inflammation, helps to maintain healthy immune function and is a potent antioxidant that can support the liver in its effort to manage toxin overload caused by alcohol, tobacco smoke and toxic chemicals. In addition, silymarin is a potent antioxidant that can prevent free radicals from damaging the liver.

Dandelion and turmeric have been used as traditional remedies to support the liver. Dandelion has historically been used to enhance digestion, support liver function, and stimulate the release of bile from the gallbladder. Dandelion promotes bile flow which helps digest fats and is also a liver and digestive tonic. Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and potent anti inflammatory agent that reduces inflammation and contains a liver-protective effect.

Supplementing with milk thistle may help protect and relieve the liver from damages. However it is important to choose an organic, standardised to 80% silymarin potency milk thistle supplement with high active content. It is best to choose one that is enriched with a combination of dandelion root and turmeric root for an overall synergistic protection and support for the liver. Studies have shown that for individuals with liver conditions, a recommended daily dose of milk thistle extract standardised to 80% silymarin should be taken for its therapeutic protective and healing properties. In addition, it is also important to choose one that is free from pesticides and herbicide contamination.

Stay healthy and care for your liver this festive season as the liver is an important organ that ensures a healthy body.

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