Keeping your diet clean at Christmas
Spare a thought for your liver this Christmas. It will be working harder than ever to keep your body and your skin healthy during the holiday season.
It can be very easy to indulge at parties, dinners or the daily visit to your advent calendar. All the naughty foods and drinks we indulge in, the late nights, not to mention the heavy make up and perfumes that we use, can leave our liver fighting too many battles and this can show up very quickly in your skin. You may find that you’re breaking out more than expected, getting puffy eyes, feel bloated and sluggish. Acne breakouts, greasy skin, and dull complexions are all influenced by the things you eat and drink. Save your skin this season by being mindful of these few foods:
We all know that sugar is one of the biggest toxins we put into our bodies. The inflammatory nature of sugar contributes to adult acne and is a huge culprit behind holiday weight gain. When you eat sugar, your body produces more insulin, boosting the production of skin oils and causing breakouts. Foods that spike your blood sugar include:
- Chocolates and sweets
- White bread
Don't get me started on the "Dairy gives you strong bones" myth! Dairy produce is the culprit behind many skin issues including eczema, psoriasis and is a major contributor to acne and breakouts. The high fat content in dairy places a strain on the liver and loads it up with by products like hormones and antibiotics that are present in the mass produced dairy foods themselves. Try going dairy free for a month and then reassess your skin.
If you’re worried about missing calcium when on a dairy cleanse, increase your consumption of foods such as seeds, nuts, greens, legumes, vegetables and fruit. These natural plant based foods are not only high in calcium but will help your liver detox. A win win in my book!
Refined and Processed Foods
During the holiday season, it’s so easy to snack on crisps, crackers and other processed foods offered at parties. However it’s worth being mindful of the amount of processed foods you eat, particularly if they are not usually a part of your diet. The ingredients list will no doubt contain very long, indecipherable words that are basically code for 'junk'! and alot of the processed foods contain high levels of fat or a often times deep fried. This again, will increase your insulin production in a similar way as sugar, and will cause you to break out in spots. To ease the strain on your liver and therefore your skin, counteract the effects of eating these processed foods by staying hydrated and drinking lots of water (preferably with lemon). Also try to balance the processed foods with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and be mindful of passive snacking.
The holiday season is all about imbibing and indulging with friends and family. Champagne, mimosas, Baileys hot chocolates, mulled wine and tipples are culprits behind spots, puffy eyes, bloating, dull skin and lack of skin elasticity not to mention poor sleep quality. Alcohol is also packed with sugar, contributing to adult acne. During the holidays, if possible try to steer clear of the coloured alcohols like wine and beer and sugary cocktails which are all fermented and stick to the clear spirits which are distilled and cause less harm, especially if mixed with a high quality fruit juice. Try to drink in moderation and make sure to schedule alcohol free days.
Christmas can be a particularly carnivorous time. Between the turkey dinner, pigs in a blanket, roasts and hors d’oeuvres, your meat consumption can quickly skyrocket. Meat contains high levels of fat which again will slow down the liver's effectiveness and the hormones and chemicals in heavily farmed animal products contribute to increased inflammation and skin breakouts.
The holidays are all about indulgence, and so they should be! But if you want to sail through the season without breakouts, moderation - particularly with these foods - is key.