Post Summer Revival – A Naturopath’s Advice
Two things take a beating over summer; the skin and the liver. The liver is responsible for breaking down the food in our diets into substances that the body can use or eliminate. This includes the cake, sweets and other treats we consume over the holidays.
The liver also converts toxic substances into harmless substances for elimination from the body, such as alcohol, recreational drugs, pesticides and medicines. This biochemical process of changing toxic substance in the body is known as ‘bio-transformation’. The process of detoxification in the liver depends on nutrients like B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C, and glutathione. They are all essentially the fuel that runs the detox engine.
In addition to the nutrients above you can help your liver along with St Mary’s thistle (milk thistle). This wonder-plant contains an active complex known as ‘silymarin’ that is liver protecting. It main actions include scavenging free radicals by increasing glutathione (a master antioxidant). It’s in this way the liver is protected at a cellular level. Healthier liver = healthier you!
The next part of the detoxification process is elimination. Elimination is performed by the skin, liver, kidneys, lungs and intestinal tract. Due to its huge surface area, the skin trumps over these other organs for elimination. Waste products are eliminated by the skin via sweat and the sebaceous glands. Excessive exposure to summer sun can cause premature ageing of the skin and cause damage by way of sunburn. So while we are overindulging over summer the burden on our liver and skin is increased, the skin is also trying to repair from excess sun exposure.
The key is to support our liver and our skin to allow for their natural processes to occur. There are plenty of vitamins, minerals and herbs to support your skin and liver. Here are just a few:
- Vitamin A is one of the most widely acknowledged nutrients for healthy skin as it promotes cell turnover in the skin. Rough, dry skin is a common sign of vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A-rich foods include liver, cod liver oil, kidney, cream, butter and egg yolks. I don’t recommend supplementing without testing, as Vitamin A toxicity is possible. But if you wish to get more Vitamin A, use cod liver oil.
- Zinc supports the structure of proteins and cell membranes, contributes to wound healing, is anti-inflammatory and protects against UV radiation. Dietary sources of zinc include kidney, liver, red meat, seafood such as oysters, scallops, and other shellfish. Vegetarian sources include pumpkin seeds and nuts.
- Omega-3 fatty acids have been demonstrated to inhibit inflammation in the skin caused by UV radiation. Omega 3 fatty acids may contribute to smoother, younger-looking skin. Best sources are sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, anchovies and cod. But if you want to supplement, I would recommend Metagenics EPA DHA.
- Vitamin E may prevent inflammatory damage from sun exposure, helping to reduce the aging and skin cancer risk from excessive UV radiation. Vitamin E sources include spinach, , chard, sunflower seeds, almonds, bell peppers, asparagus, , kale, broccoli, and brussel sprouts. Try to pair these sources with olive oil which helps with absorption of vitamin E.
- Note: While too much sun exposure isn’t a good thing, not enough may be even worse (the trick is to safely enjoy the sun without burning).
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