How to keep your liver in great shape this festive season

With all the extra indulgences at Christmas, your liver may need a little extra support to help it cope with the demands made upon it. These top tips can help you enjoy the festive season and support your liver at the same time.

Increase fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are a good source of antioxidants needed to protect the liver from free radical damage, so make sure you pile your plate high with them. Fruits and vegetables that are particularly good for the liver include artichoke, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, leeks, onions, parsley, watercress, apples, pears, apricots, berries, grapes, oranges and watermelon. Ideally, fruit and vegetables should be organic to avoid pesticides.

Cut down on alcoholic drinks

Of course, its not just food in which we overindulge at this time of year. With seasonal lunches, dinners and catching up with old friends, the amount we drink can really start to add up as well. To help your liver, try alternating every alcoholic drink you have with a soft drink or water. Try making your own mulled Christmas punch by mixing orange, apple and cranberry juice together and adding some cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Gently warm the punch and enjoy!

Take milk thistle

Milk thistle has been traditionally used for liver and gallbladder support for over 2,000 years. Nicholas Culpeper, a 17th century pharmacist, cited its use for opening “obstructions” of the liver and spleen and its numerous benefits for the digestive system have been well-documented. A flavonoid complex called silymarin can be extracted from the seeds of milk thistle and is believed to be the biologically active component. Silymarin is a powerful antioxidant and helps to protect and support liver function, as well as providing digestive support.