Feeling festive but also frazzled? We ask nutritional expert Geeta Sidhu-Robb for the best science-backed ways to recover from all those social events and boost your energy.
The Christmas office parties and festivities are in full swing, but what steps can you take to look after your body? Nutritionist Geeta Sidhu-Robb shares her advice for taking care of your liver and how to fast-track your recovery after an evening out.
1. Watch your alcohol intake
Did you know that your liver performs 500 vital functions in the body? Each time it filters alcohol, it needs to work a little harder. Plus, drinking may cause a build-up of fats around your liver, which can potentially lead to illness. Make sure to give yourself a break throughout the Christmas period. Drink no more than 14 units (6 pints of beer or 10 small glasses of wine) per week and schedule in two-three alcohol-free days each week.
2. Reach for the protein
Drinking on an empty stomach can lead to a faster rate of alcohol absorption, so before you go out, look to protein-rich foods such as lean meat, eggs or pulses such as beans. They take the body a long time to digest and this slows down the rise in your blood alcohol level.
3. Skip bubbles and carbonated drinks
It’s scientifically proven that fizzy drinks actually accelerate the absorption of alcohol, hence the saying ‘the bubbles have gone to my head’. In fact, Tufts University reports that sugary soft drinks in general may increase your chance of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. So, keep these to a minimum!
4. Explore low-alcohol options
Your liver can only clear 8mg-10mg of alcohol from your blood per hour, so the strength of your alcohol really makes a difference. Always check the ABV (alcohol by volume) of what you’re ordering. You could also try lower-alcohol options, while taking a more mindful approach to drinking will give your liver a break.
5. Take rehydration seriously
Dehydration is the main cause of a hangover, so drinking a large glass of water before you go to sleep and once you’ve woken up will likely make a difference to how you feel. You could try a rehydration sachet to help your body replace lost electrolytes.
6. Make a brew
The British Liver Trust suggests that drinking green tea could be protective for our livers. This is because it has a very high antioxidant content, though further research is needed to confirm this. Though, reaching for a herbal tea will definitely help your hydration levels – more so than a coffee.
7. Tuck into eggs
Whether scrambled, poached or fried; eggs are full of amino acids which boost liver function and help breakdown acetaldehyde. This is the headache-causing chemical that is left over after the liver breaks down ethanol.
8. Try resistance training
‘Sweating it out’ with a cardio session might not be a good idea during the morning after as this may only dehydrate you further. However, resistance training may help to reduce fat in the liver, according to a study by the University of Haifa. It can also greatly reduce your blood cholesterol levels, so try to squeeze in this type of training whenever you can.
Find out from the Drink Aware experts how to spot the signs when you’re drinking too much.