Christmas comes part and parcel with indulgence and relaxation, but this invariably means that we can be left feeling a little worse for wear if we relax our dietary and lifestyle routines too much. So, how can we still embrace the season while keeping our health in check?
As always, the best approach is prevention, balance and common sense. However, below is a list of some nutrients and herbs, which can help prevent and treat common overindulgence symptoms such as hangovers, indigestion, bloating, constipation and fatigue.
Burdock root – cleanses the blood stream. Aids elimination of excess fluid and toxins. Purifies the blood, restores liver and gallbladder function, and stimulates the digestive and immune systems.
Willow bark – also known as ‘Nature’s aspirin,’ this herb can be mixed with cold water as a bitter tonic to help with a common symptom of overindulgence, the ‘toxic’ headache.
Magnesium supplements – both alcohol and poor dietary choices deplete the body’s stores of this important mineral and this can be the reason behind excessive fatigue and headaches after overindulgence.
Fennel – throw a few fennel seeds into a hot cup of tea for improved liver function. Fennel is a restorative herb, and can help bring your liver back into working order.
Vitamin B supplements – helpful as they can reduce alcohol cravings and provide a boost of energy. Vitamins in general can help the body detoxify naturally, reducing the effects of alcohol or unhealthy food.
Aloe vera juice – soothes stomach irritation, and acts as a mild laxative. Aloe not only has a healing effect, but if constipation or diarrhoea is present, it will help return the stools to normal.
Cascara – acts as a colon cleanser and laxative. Best taken in tablet form, and start with the lowest dose recommended on the bottle, as this herb can be quite powerful in it’s effects!
Cinnamon – relieves diarrhea and nausea, counteracts congestion, warms the body and enhances digestion. Why not add some to your festive cooking?
Ginger – protects the liver and stomach and is a great herb for indigestion. It soothes the stomach and is renowned for alleviating symptoms such as nausea, bloating, and stomachache.
Milk thistle – helps protect the liver by preventing free radical damage and stimulates the production of new liver cells. Also helps protects the kidneys, which are one of our major detoxifying organs.
Peppermint – increases stomach acidity, aiding digestion. A great post dinner tea to help ease bloating if you indulged a little too much!
Slippery elm – soothes the stomach by putting a protective lining on it. It’s also great for mixing into smoothies to keep irritable bowel syndrome symptoms at bay (most of which tend to flare up for people around Christmas time!)
Guarana – acts as a general tonic, stimulant, and intestinal cleanser. It also increase mental alertness, improves stamina and endurance.
Article by Renée Leonard-Stainton, Naturopath & Nutritionist
Renée Naturally – www.reneenaturally.com