Tis the season to celebrate with friends, family and loved ones. Raising a glass to celebrate quality time together doesn’t have to wreck havoc on your body or your skin if you follow these simple tips to keep your skin glowing and good times rolling.
When it comes to alcohol consumption it’s important to understand how it impacts you: skin, body and mind. As social gatherings can be super fun, they can also be a source of stress for some.
So first and foremost, as you head out to your gatherings, I encourage you to take time to take notice of your intention for indulging in cocktails. Being mindful of how you are feeling. Paying attention to any triggers that may spark you to indulge in more than your body feels it can handle. The goal is to be fully present and enjoy the moment, and overindulging can mess with that.
When it comes to how alcohol impacts your body, it is largely dependent on your liver function. Once absorbed from your GI tract, alcohol travels through your bloodstream to your liver where it activates your detoxification enzyme pathways and cytochrome p450 enzymes to work on getting the toxins out of your body.
And it’s not just the alcohol your body has to process. Many beverages contain additives including preservatives, colorants, and chemicals as well as naturally occurring ingredients which can trigger histamine release which can further bog down the detoxifcation process, disrupt the gut microbiome, and flare skin issues like redness, itching, urticaria (hives) and atopic dermatitis.
If you’re not supporting your liver with the right nutrients, adequate hydration and lifestyle factors, a bit too much holiday cheer can create stress on the liver impairing its ability to detoxify excess hormones and toxins, regulate blood sugar levels and have adequate reserves of necessary nutrients.
After a few too many cocktails have you ever experienced:
Itchy, irritated skin or uneven skin tone?
Feeling tired or “foggy” the next day?
Sensitivity to smells, chemicals or medications?
Feeling stressed or anxious?
Waking up in the middle of the night with night sweats?
If “yes” came to mind, it’s because your liver was working overtime to do it’s job and/or it may not have the support it needs to keep going full steam ahead.
Resilience is the name of the game here, ( I mean I did name our practice Resilient Health Institute didn’t I?) so I want to support you so you can support your liver to bounce back to optimal functioning so you can feel, look and perform your best all season long and into the new year!
Here are 7 tips to keep your skin glowing!:
1. Take a moment and breathe: Before heading into any situation, even one you are super excited about, it’s always worthwhile to take a moment to pause and inhale slowly, deeply and exhale fully. Set an intention for how you want to show up in the room.
2. High Five to Hydration: Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance go along with alcohol consumption which can result in fatigue, headaches, dizziness, dry mouth and brain fog. Stay ahead of the curve by drinking a glass (ideally two) of water between cocktails and being mindful of how much you are consuming.
3. Eat liver-loving foods: To give your liver a kickstart so it can do its job of reducing inflammation, bind toxins, stimulate bile flow and boost glutathione production consider adding these foods to your plate:
Beets: These ruby colored roots have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties including betalains which may help reduce chronic inflammation and repair liver cells as well as betaine which helps liver cells eliminate toxins. They also contain fiber that may help bind and clear toxins as well.
Berries: Adding the antioxidant rich deep-hued varieties like blueberries, blackberries and raspberries will help scavenge free radicals and reduce overall inflammation due to the naturally ocuring phytochemicals called anthocyanins.
Artichoke: Chocked full of phenolic compounds, artichoke stimulates bile flow to help transport toxins so they can be removed from the body and protect the liver.
4. Boost glutathione: Gluthiathione is one of the most potent antioxidants in the body and is required in both phases of liver detoxification: toxin activation in phase 1 and toxin excretion in phase 2 and when levels get low, your body can’t process toxins effectively or efficiently.
a. One of the key ways to boost glutathione is SLEEP. Yes, beauty sleep is real my friends. When you sleep you generate an even more potent antioxidant in the body which is melatonin. Melatonin not only plays a significant role in rejuvenating your skin (read Ch 5 in “The Skin Whisperer”), decreasing inflammation, blocking free radical damage and protecting your DNA and mitochrondria, it also stimulates the formation of gluthathione.
b. Fill your plate with glutathione boosting foods like raw spinach, avocado and asparagus which directly provide glutathione. You can also boost levels by adding in bone broth and sulfur-containing foods like broccoli, garlic, and cauliflower which are rich in the amino acids glycine and cysteine which are the building blocks of glutathione. Bone broth has the added benefits of repleting electrolytes and providing key nutrients like gelatin, collagen and glutamine that help protect your gut lining from the effects of alcohol.
5. Break a sweat: I get it, the morning after a late night out you may not feel like hitting the trails bright and early, but sweating helps ease the detoxification burden off your liver.
Your skin is your largest organ which also means it’s also your largest detoxification organ so use it to your advantage to sweat the toxins out of your body….and bonus, exercise boosts your body’s glutathione production to further support detoxification.
Other ways to help you break a sweat are a relaxing in a hot Epsom salt bath (use 2-3 cups of salt) and an infrared sauna. (My sauna has been a game changer for me, not only for detoxification but for muscle recovery as well)
(**Before taking any supplements, be sure to consult with your doctor as well as making sure they aren’t contraindicated to take with any of your current medications.)
Of these milk thistle, also known as silymarin, is probably the most notable for liver health with it’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show it boosts glutathione levels, helps regenerate liver cells and protects them from injury by substances like alcohol and acetaminophen.
What’s more is that milk thistle boosts your complexion’s glow by blocking damage from the sun’s harmful rays including slowing down premature aging!
Look for milk thistle supplements that are standardized to contain 70-80 percent silymarin.
Research also looks promising for turmeric extract and curcumin which have been shown to protect against liver injury by increasing glutathione production and decreasing oxidative stress.
Just like milk thistle, studies show that turmeric has the potential to do wonders for your skin. With its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-neoplastic properties, research suggests use of turmeric can improve skin conditions including acne, atopic dermatitis, facial photoaging, psoriasis, and vitiligo.
While adding this spice to your dishes is one way to boost intake, to get the maximum benefit for liver health, it’s suggesed you choose a supplement that is standardized to contain 95 percent curcumoids and follow the dosing instructions on the manufacturers’ label (or consult with your doctor).
7. Show a little love...SELF-LOVE: Holidays can be a stressful time and let’s be honest, holidays or not, there’s always stress in our lives. Too much stress in your life not only wrecks havoc on your skin, digestion and is linked to autoimmune disease, it also can negatively impact your liver and exacerbate liver disease.
So show yourself a little love that can go a long way for your overall health and wellbeing. It could be something as simple as taking a few deeps breaths, giving/receiving a hug, reading a few pages in a juicy novel, finding a new fave on Netflix, doing a few yoga poses or moisturizing your skin with a non-toxic cream (**stay tuned, I’m going to write all about this last one!)
Bottom line: anything that brings a smile to your face or spring to your step is a form of self-love and self-care. Have fun with it!