Holiday cheer and your liver

Holiday cheer and your liver

4 December 2023

Let’s face it, “The most wonderful time of the year” can be a boozy one. And if you’re “soaking up” (sorry, couldn’t resist!) all the festivities with Christmas parties and catch-up drinks with friends, your liver could be taking some strain.

There’s no denying that alcohol plays a major role in the life of many South African adults and the festive season has become a jet-fueled boost of over-indulgence.

Although the occasional glass of red wine has been said to improve health (assuming you’re a light drinker), the silly season is peak time for overworking your liver with alcohol and fatty foods. Bummer, we know.

The liver is essentially our body’s filtering system. It takes blood from the digestive system and filters it before passing it to the rest of the body. It produces bile to assist in the digestion and metabolism of fats, and lastly plays a huge role in detoxifying chemicals. Overindulgence can impact the liver’s ability to flush out toxins and cause inflammation. And over time, inflammation can lead to permanent damage such as scarring (cirrhosis), liver disease, and ever cancer. So yes, eating foods that are high in fat and drinking alcohol has a significant effect on liver health.

The signs of a stressed liver can include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, feeling generally unwell, and diarrhea. This can progress to yellowing of the skin, swollen limbs, curved fingertips and nails, weight loss, and muscle wasting.

However, luckily, the liver is the salamander’s tail of the human body. It’s the only organ with regenerative abilities. Did you know that a liver can regrow to a normal size even after up to 90% of it has been removed?! But the liver is not invincible.

It’s important to boost its natural capacity to repair itself during the upcoming festivities. So, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. For every alcoholic beverage that you drink, alternate with a glass of water. Without proper hydration, the liver cannot process and support the removal of metabolic by-products and toxins.

A liver-friendly diet is vital to healing your liver. Make sure that your food intake is loaded with antioxidants to handle the toxic load. Leafy greens, fresh fruit, wholegrains, nuts and seeds are full of essential vitamins, minerals and chlorophyll to feed the liver to re-energize itself. Try to avoid greasy food and processed sugar. Also, exercise. Apart from eating healthy and drinking enough water, keep moving. Our bodies can get rid of toxins by sweating it out. Ultimately, your liver will thank you for it.

May you have a joyous holiday season full of love, peace, and good health.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to everyone!


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

You may also be interested in

Request a Call

Request a Call

I am:

Complete your contact information below.

By clicking the button below, you are giving consent to be contacted by an accredited healthcare sales representative/broker regarding medical scheme and other related products.

What can we help you with?

By clicking the button below, you are giving consent to be contacted by a representative of the Fedhealth customer services team.

What can we help you with?

By clicking the button below, you are giving consent to be contacted by a representative of the Fedhealth Broker sales/ support team.