5 Supplements To Boost Liver Health Over The Holiday Period

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and relaxation. They’re also a time for overindulgence in foods that aren’t all that great for you, as well as a little more alcohol than usual. Many people – even those who don’t tend to consume large amounts of alcohol during the year – end up drinking more during the holidays.

While alcohol can be safely consumed in moderation, larger amounts can hinder your liver’s ability to do its job. The liver itself is one of the most important organs in your body because it acts as a natural filter and helps to store and release energy from the food that you eat. It’s also the organ responsible for removing toxins and waste from the bloodstream. So, how can you have an indulgent holiday season without worrying about your liver health? Let’s talk about using supplements to boost liver health over the holiday period.

Why is liver health so important?

As mentioned above, the liver is one of the most important organs in the body. Everything that goes into your body is processed by the liver – that means food, beverages, the air that you breathe, and even topical creams or ointments that you put on your skin eventually make their way to your liver to be processed.

Your liver also performs over 500 functions in the body that keep you healthy, such as regulating hormones, fighting off infections, clearing out toxins, and helping to clot blood. If the liver is not running the way it should, this filtration process (and every other job it has to do) becomes compromised, and this can lead to chronic disease, illness, and – in the worst-case scenario – death.

Image by Ruslan Bogdanov on Unsplash: What are the best liver support supplements in 2021?

How can I improve my liver health quickly?

While there is no quick fix for a malfunctioning liver, there are some things that you can do to help prevent further damage. For example, eating certain foods can promote better liver health, such as:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Grapefruit
  • Blueberries and cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Beetroot juice
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Fatty fish

Boosting your intake of these foods right before the holidays may not give you a superhuman liver, but if you continue to consume them on a regular basis, they can promote good liver health so that if you do happen to overindulge, your liver will be able to handle it.

What can you take to strengthen your liver?

There are many supplements on the market geared towards liver health. While no two supplements are the same, there are a few common ingredients that are used because they have been proven to prevent damage or improve liver function over time.

Milk thistle

In herbal medicine, milk thistle is the most recommended supplement for people who suffer from liver complaints. The claim made by many is that it can help to reduce liver inflammation and restore overall function.

The ingredient in milk thistle that offers benefits to the liver is silymarin, a natural plant chemical compound. Research has shown that silymarin can lead to the regeneration of liver tissue, decrease inflammation, and act as a protector of liver cells because of its antioxidant properties. 

thistle plant
Image by Igor Tudoran on Unsplash: What is the best supplement to help the liver? Milk thistle is up there, because it has the most research behind it.

Licorice root

Licorice root is used for a variety of ailments, but when it comes to the liver, one of its active compounds (glycyrrhizic acid) is what makes it so viable as a liver health booster. Studies have shown that this compound can help to regenerate damaged liver cells as well as reduce liver inflammation.

One study done on rats looked at how licorice root affected alcohol-induced liver inflammation. The results showed that inflammation and fat accumulation in the liver of the rats was reversed after using licorice root extract.

Dandelion root

Dandelion root has also been used to treat ailments of the liver, though research surrounding its effects is minimal at best. It is thought that dandelion extract, in particular, can reduce stress on the liver and make its job of producing bile easier. Research has also found that it may be able to cure certain liver disorders, although more research is needed to validate these claims.


Zinc is an essential mineral that the body needs for a variety of different functions, and many supplements for liver health contain zinc. Studies have found that this element may be a key player in reducing or preventing oxidative stress on the liver that is generally caused by infection. However, there is little evidence to support that zinc can be used solely as a form of treatment for a liver disorder.

Artichoke leaf

Artichoke leaf is another active ingredient in many liver supplements. Claims state that the ingredient can help to reduce damage to liver cells by acting as an antioxidant. Although research is scarce, some studies have found that artichoke leaf has the ability to reduce certain markers connected to liver disease.

No two supplements are alike, and some are better than others when it comes to supporting liver health over the holidays. The best way to choose a supplement to support liver health is by reading the ingredients, speaking to your doctor, and being aware that although a supplement may help, it cannot cure or prevent liver damage on its own.

Featured image by Mariana Rascão on Unsplash

Satisfying Winter Meals That Are Low In Calories

Eating healthily is important regardless of your weight. You want to give your body all the vitamins and minerals it needs so you can feel good and stay protected from illness and chronic disease. While there is no shortage of healthy meals for you to incorporate into your diet to keep your body nourished, when winter rolls around and the temperatures drop, it’s easy to reach for hearty (but less-than-healthy) comfort foods.

That being said, winter doesn’t have to put a damper on your healthy eating routine. For those who are trying to lose weight, healthy eating in the winter is especially important because we tend to exercise less and become more sedentary during the colder months. Luckily, there are plenty of great meal ideas for you to try this winter that are low in calories as well as satisfying and comforting.

Weight loss and nutrient levels

Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s why it’s important to think about long-term sustainability when it comes to losing those excess pounds. If you want to lose weight in a healthy way, you have to address some key issues: nutrient depletion, sleep habits, and hydration. Hydration and sleep may not be highly affected in the winter because it’s easy to keep up with your patterns even when the seasons change, but nutrient depletion can affect you without you even realizing it.

Take vitamin D, for example – otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin. In the wintertime, most people get less sun exposure. When that happens, vitamin D levels may plummet. Research has shown that there may even be a connection between low levels of vitamin D and weight gain. This is only one example, of course, but eating healthily in the winter is vital to make sure that your nutrient levels are where they need to be for your body to work for you and not against you on your weight loss journey.

winter stew
Image by W on Unsplash: What are some good dinner ideas for winter nights? A hearty stew is always a good option.

Low-calorie winter meals

A calorie deficit means you expend more energy than you consume, which is what leads to weight loss. To do this, you’ll have to make sure you’re adding some healthy, low-calorie, nutrient-dense meals into your diet. Below are some healthy winter recipes for weight loss that are bound to help you shed those extra pounds.

Vegetarian chili

Nothing says comfort food quite like a loaded bowl of vegetarian chili. It’s that warm, delicious mix of flavors that satisfies both your waistline and your tastebuds. To make vegetarian chili, you can choose your own variation of vegetables: sweet potato and black bean, butternut squash and red kidney beans, or even just your favorite bean mixed with carrots, celery and anything else you have on hand. Most vegetarian chilis can come in well under 450 calories per serving, and they’re so filling that you won’t even think about needing another bowl.

Slow cooker meatballs with zoodles

There’s nothing quite spending a winter’s day relaxing while your slow cooker does all the heavy lifting for you! A good slow cooker meatball recipe is just the trick to have a healthy meal without having to put a lot of work in. Use ground turkey instead of beef to make this meal even leaner and combine it with a pinch of paprika, a clove of garlic, and your low-calorie breadcrumbs of choice.

In the meantime, chop some onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and parsley, combine with tomato paste, and gently fry for about a minute before putting them into the slow cooker. Top the vegetables with your meatballs, set it on low, and spend the next five hours living your life! Once the meatballs are done, serve them over some zucchini noodles and voila: a healthy and hearty winter meal under 400 calories.

making zucchini noodles
Image by Igor Miske on Unsplash: What are some good healthy winter meals on a budget? Top zucchini noodles with meatballs for a tasty low-calorie dinner!

Good old-fashioned stew

Would it even be winter if you didn’t make a stew at least once? Similar to chili, the great thing about stew is that you can really make it your own. You can use any type of protein mixed with your favorite vegetables to create a low-calorie yet hearty meal.

To keep things simple and lean, try a chicken barley stew. You’ll need some boneless, skinless chicken, barley, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, potatoes, chicken broth, white wine or white wine vinegar, and the herbs of your choosing (typically, thyme, rosemary, and sage add a nice winter flavor).

Cook the chicken, then shred it with forks and set aside. Then sauté your vegetables, deglaze the pan with your white wine or vinegar, and add everything together to simmer for a good half hour to an hour. While this recipe may take some time, it’s high in protein and is less than 350 calories per serving.

These are just a few dinner ideas for winter nights that you’ll love to add into your rotation after you try them. Eating healthy, low-calorie meals doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice the heartiness you enjoy when the temperature drops! Losing weight in the winter is entirely possible, and with the right meals, you’ll be that much closer to your goal by the time the last frost melts.

Featured image by American Heritage Chocolate on Unsplash

How To Boost Your Metabolism Before The Holidays

Now that the holiday season has returned, many people are gearing up for some pretty substantial indulgence! From large family meals to drinks with friends, the festive season revolves largely around social food and drink. But while all this decadence can feel good in the moment, it’s not that great for your health or waistline.

That being said, there are ways you can mitigate the potential negatives of the holiday season when it comes to eating and drinking too much. One such way is working on speeding up your metabolism – the bodily process that converts food and drink into energy. But how do you speed up your metabolism fast? Read on to learn all you need to know about how to boost your metabolism before the holidays.

How can I quickly speed up my metabolism?

Metabolism and personal metabolic rate are terms that are often used interchangeably; however, the reality is that they’re two different things – and to boost your metabolism, you will have to increase your metabolic rate, which is how many calories you burn. There are various ways you can do this.

Eat protein with every meal

The simple act of eating can actually boost your metabolism for a few hours because of the thermal effect of food. This is the term used to describe how many calories your body burns by consuming, digesting, absorbing, and processing all the nutrients in your meal.

Eating protein with every meal causes the largest increase in thermal effect, which leads to an increased calorie burn. In fact, your metabolic rate can increase by as much as 30% by adding protein to every meal. Eating protein also helps keep you fuller longer, which leads to lower overall food consumption.

glass of cold water
Image by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash: How can I increase my metabolism ASAP? Drink more cold water!

Hydrate with cold water

The often sugar-filled drinks that are staples of holiday fare are hard to stay away from, but if you’re going to indulge, make sure you’re also staying hydrated with cold water as much as possible. Drinking water can lead to an increase of metabolism by up to 30% for an hour after you take the last sip.

Temperature can play a role here too. Drinking cold water has actually been shown to increase that metabolism boost even further because the body has to use more calories to heat the water up to body temperature. Drinking water 30 minutes before a meal can also reduce how much you eat, so you can still indulge without going overboard.

Move more often

If you spend most of your time sitting, you’re doing your metabolism a disservice. While it can be difficult to move around if you work a desk job (or are relaxing at home with your loved ones during holiday get-togethers), standing up and moving around more often burns more calories than sitting does. This can help to keep weight gain over the holidays at bay.

Add green or oolong tea to your diet

Both green and oolong tea have been shown to help boost metabolism. Drinking a serving of each can lead to a modest increase in calorie burn (roughly 4–5%).

Drinking more green and oolong tea can also help to convert fat stored in your body into free fatty acids, which in turn helps to increase your fat burning rate by an additional 10–17%.

Eat more spicy food

Not everyone can handle spicy food, but if you’re one of the lucky ones who isn’t too bothered by that extra kick, adding spicy food to your diet can boost your calorie-burning abilities. This is because spicy peppers such as chili or jalapeno peppers contain a substance known as capsaicin, which has been shown to help boost metabolism.

While the effects of spicy food on metabolism boosting are modest, when combined with other tips on this list, it can make a real difference in how many calories you’re burning this holiday season.

Can I exercise to increase metabolism?

Not everything you do to boost your metabolism has to revolve around food. While getting moving during the busy shuffle of the holiday season may be the last thing on your mind, it’s crucial to boost your metabolism so all that overindulgence doesn’t catch up to you in the new year.

The trick is knowing what types of exercises are best to do when it comes to boosting your metabolism. All exercise is good, but some types are better than others at increasing calorie burn.

person lifting weights
Image by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash: How can I increase my metabolism in the winter? Swap your cardio for weightlifting.

Lift weights

Muscle burns more calories than fat when the body is at rest. Lifting weights can be a great way to build more muscle on your body, thus increasing the amount of calories your body burns this holiday season. This means that even when you’re sitting around a fire enjoying holiday snacks, your body will be burning more calories than it did when you had less muscle mass.

Do high-intensity interval training

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, is a type of exercise that involves short and intense bursts of activity cycled by short periods of rest. When you participate in regular HIIT exercises, your metabolic rate increases because it can help you burn more fat. What’s more, HIIT exercise can actually lead to higher fat burn even when you’re finished working out.

The holiday season is meant to be enjoyed, so don’t be hard on yourself if you do happen to overindulge in the delicious aspects of this festive time! All you have to do is add in a few metabolism-boosting activities and you can help your body burn more calories and avoid that holiday weight gain.

Featured image by Nicole Michalou on Pexels