Medicine Chest, Out & About

our guide to getting through the silly season


There’s a reason they call this time of year the silly season.

Between end-of-year celebrations with family, friends and colleagues, endless holiday parties and, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, plenty of summer fun, we all tend to live a little furiously.

Understandably, our hardest-working organs can start to feel a little neglected. These simple tips can keep the (rum) balls in your court.

Loving your liver.

The liver has a big job on its hands when it comes to keeping us healthy. For one, it’s in charge of metabolising fructose, alcohol and other toxins. Naturally, it can be hard to avoid the extra liver load over the holidays!

So it’s worthwhile knowing few options that can support the liver, helping it continue as the conscientious worker that it is.

  • Load up on B. A few extra silly season drinks can deplete our b vitamin levels. Vitamin B1 is also crucial in metabolising alcohol. Make sure you’re topping up with plenty of vitamin B-rich foods (B1 is found in beef, eggs, seeds and legumes), or consider a supplement.
  • Broccoli and other Brassicas (like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and kale) contain sulforaphane, which studies have shown can improve liver function and combating oxidative stress.
  • Milk thistle can also help support liver function. Studies show the herb encourages the repair of damaged liver cells. It also stimulates antioxidant production, including our “master antioxidant”, glutathione.

Surviving the sun.

Summer can be a tough time for our most visible organ: our skin!

On the one hand, we need the sun for vitamin D (and almost one third Aussie adults are D-ficient). On the other hand, we know that too much UV light can cause skin damage and cancer. So how do we find a balance?

Your sunshine needs depend on a wide range of factors including skin colour, age, UV strength and current D levels. But scientists reckon getting about 30 minutes of exposure between 10am and 3pm in Australia is enough to keep your levels up. (If you’re in the sun longer, remember to slip slop slap!)

Surviving the sugar.

It’s easy to find sugar creeping into your holiday diet. And though it’s really not the end of the world, some mindful tips may help avoid a full-on sugar overload!

  • Have a meal before heading to a holiday event or party. Don’t go in hungry. You’ll be more in control of what you really want to indulge in.
  • Beware liquid sugar. There’s nothing wrong with a little tipple, but you can avoid those high-sugar bevvies, like cocktails and sweet mixers.
  • Try chromium. It’s essential for blood sugar control. Factor in in additional chromium-rich foods, like egg yolk, brewer’s yeast, beef and cheese, to your meals, or consider a supplement.

And most importantly, enjoy the holidays. They pass by much too quickly, so aim to be mindful and enjoy every minute!

This article was featured on the I Quit Sugar blog.

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