‘Tis the season of sweet treats and fatty eats. While the holidays can bring us closer to our loved ones, the endless parties, champagne, and baking can take us further from our healthy lifestyle goals. To combat the sluggishness, bloat, and weight gain that can creep up after weeks of overindulging, we’ve put together an effective plan to help you wring out the toxins as you ring in the New Year.
1. Wake up with lemon water. Start your daily routine with a glass of lemon water to take advantage of the fruit’s natural polyphenols, powerful plant-based antioxidants that significantly reduced weight gain and insulin resistance in mice fed a high-fat diet, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition .
2. Boost your liver at breakfast. The liver is the largest digestive gland in the body and plays a major role in our metabolism, detoxification, and synthesis of proteins and hormones. Fuel up with a protein-rich smoothie loaded with dark leafy greens and kale, both found to be best for boosting liver health in this review. Protein powders can help keep blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day, but make sure you choose the cleanest source possible to avoid burdening the liver with fillers and pesticides. Grass-fed whey protein is a good choice if you can tolerate dairy; otherwise, try adding a high-quality egg-white or plant-based protein powder.
3. Fermented foods for lunch. Fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha (a fermented beverage made from green or black tea) are natural sources of probiotics, making them the healthiest foods you can possibly eat, according to JoAnne Hattner, a nutritionist at Stanford Medical Center and co-author of Gut Insight. Foods with probiotics help beat belly bloat, gas and diarrhea, and aid digestion. Probiotics even help restore healthy flora, promoting vaginal health and reducing the risk of urinary tract infections.
4. Smart Snacking. Support your body’s natural detoxification process by simply adding a few raw carrots to your daily diet. Dr. Ray Peat, an endocrinologist from the University of Oregon, found that raw carrot contains indigestible fiber that binds to unused hormones and toxins in the gut and pulls them from the body. Why is this important? Because “anything that impairs liver function or ties up the detoxifying function will result in excess estrogen levels,” according to Harvard physician John R. Lee, MD, and author of Hormone Balance Made Simple. Excess estrogen is associated with an increased risk of obesity, breast cancer, and uterine cancer.
5. Detox at Dinner. In between holiday festivities, treat your body right at dinner and include steamed brassicas like broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Thanks to a chemical compound called diindolylmetane (DIM), studies show these cruciferous vegetables protect against certain cancers and keep hormones balanced by helping the liver convert estrogen into its inactive form, a function that declines as we age. Hormone balance affects how the body uses food (or stores it as fat), and regulates our mood and sleep.
Instead of turning to a strict diet of raw vegetables or juice fasting, boost your liver and kidneys’ natural ability to eliminate toxins by giving them a little extra support this holiday season. You’ll find these easy suggestions will help you stay strong, healthy, and looking fabulous as you head into the New Year.