Guest post by Emma Katarina, holistic nutritionist (CNP) in residence at Green's Organic and Natural Market.
With the 150th Canada Day just around the corner, many of us will be celebrating throughout the long weekend.
That usually means lots of drinks and indulgences on the menu. But inevitable consequences loom the next day: plummeting energy levels, hangovers, and lethargy.
Ever wonder what you could do to aid your body and mind in overcoming these hurdles after a long weekend?
Although moderation is always key in life, if you do cross the boozy border this weekend there are still plenty of nutritional interventions that can make a huge difference in how you feel afterwards.
To help you bounce back as quickly as possible, slip these tips into your routine to make sure your detoxification pathways are functioning optimally. Your energy levels will return to normal sooner rather than later:
1. Eat Cruciferous Vegetables and Other Sulphur-containing Foods
Yes, sulphur. Sulphur-containing compounds found in brassica vegetables are needed to conjugate toxins in Phase II of liver detox. In other words, food like broccoli helps you pass toxins out of your body.
Load up on Brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy and co to maximize this pathway. It’s best to steam them lightly to lessen their goitrogen content which can suppress thyroid function, if already deficient in iodine.
Try steamed then frozen cauliflower in your smoothie for amazing creaminess, or roast some brussels sprouts drizzled with avocado oil and your favourite spices.
Onions, garlic and eggs also contain sulphur and are great to incorporate into the mix.
2. Hydrate Hard
Hydration is key at all times but especially after a weekend of partying. Make sure you are getting plenty of fluids in!
The recommended amount per day is around 2 litres for women and 3 litres for men. This is not only restricted to water - tea, coffee, soup, broths, nut and seed milks count too - but water is definitely your top choice. Heat and additional exercise will also increase your levels of fluids needed.
Give coconut water a shot, as it contains the electrolytes you need after a long weekend.
3. Don't Forget Protein
Protein isn't just for building muscle. It serves many functions in the body including fluid balance, energy supply and as the building blocks for hormones and enzymes.
Not having enough protein in your diet will also hinder liver detox (Phase II, where toxins are combined with amino acids and other molecules to allow for their excretion), making it essential to have plenty after an excessive weekend.
Having both liver detox systems working at an optimal level will ensure that the toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism will exit your system promptly. Aim for around 20 grams of protein per meal.
4. Get Your B Vitamins
Alcohol depletes vitamins and minerals from the body. B vitamins are necessary for liver detoxification, amongst many of their other metabolic actions. Including B Vitamin-containing foods in your diet is essential, especially before and after a long weekend!
Your best options include dark green leafy vegetables, lentils, beans, mushrooms, avocados, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Taking a B-complex supplement before and after drinking can also make a world of a difference in recovering from a hangover, assisting with mood and energy levels.
5. Try a Turmeric Recipe
Curcumin, the active constituent found in the spice turmeric, also stimulates Phase II of liver detox.
There’s a large body of research supporting turmeric’s therapeutic effects shown to help with managing pain, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer to name a few. Since it not only supports the liver, but has so many other health enhancing properties, why not add it into your meals after the long weekend? Turmeric eggs or golden mylk are great options (click for recipes).
6. Take Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is a herb related to the daisy and ragweed family that contains the antioxidant silymarin, which has been shown to not only protect the liver, but regenerate liver cells.
It’s a wonderful herb to take when the liver needs some extra support due to its powerful antioxidant and free radical quenching mechanisms.
7. Bathe in Magnesium
Magnesium is used in over 300 reactions in the body, and it's easily depleted - especially from drinking alcohol. So it’s a bright idea to load up on this multitasking mineral after the long weekend.
Aim to include magnesium-rich foods such as spinach, pumpkin seeds or almonds in your meal plan in the days leading up to and after the celebrations.
Another superb way of increasing your magnesium intake is by taking a relaxing Epsom salt bath! It’s a very efficient method of absorbing magnesium and easing muscle aches and pains, as well as rejuvenating the mind which is certainly something that will serve one well after a weekend such as this one.
With all these tips, no matter what your state is after Canada Day weekend, there's something you can do to help get your body right. And if those are too much hassle, you can always have a smoothie from The Good Stuff.
What are your favourite ways to detox after a big weekend? Let us in know in the comments below!