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Step Away From the Sugar Roller Coaster

The sugar-intense period of candy procuring is finally over. And if your kids have garbage bags-full of fun-sized Snickers bars lying around, you might still be riding that sugar roller coaster. But a reminder: Thanksgiving is just under two weeks away. Can anyone say, “Pumpkin pie?”  And don’t forget about the sugar, alcohol and chocolate consumption that follows, unceasingly, until the holiday rampage is finally over.

It is at this time of year that the liver—the organ that helps detoxify the entire body—gets kicked into overdrive.  According to Susan Blum, M.D., preventive medicine and chronic disease specialist at the Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, NY,  “Our livers need to work harder to process too much sugar and alcohol during these typically stressful and sleep deprived few months.”

Dr. Blum recommends the following routine in order to combat those sluggish, foggy and bloated feelings that roll around with each block of holiday seasons:

Get Off To The Right Start : Upon waking, the best thing for your empty stomach is to start your day with a glass of warm water with lemon, which delivers antioxidants that help boost liver function.

Prioritize Protein: Try to consume about 60 grams of high-quality protein per day. Amino acids, the building blocks in protein, purge toxins from the liver. Dr. Blum recommends vegetarian proteins such as soy, beans, nuts and seeds, as well as dark leafy greens. But animal protein is fine, as long as it is grass fed, free range and organic. White meat chicken and turkey are preferable.  Avoid cold cuts and processed meat because they contain mercury. Fish such as wild salmon and sardines are high in protein as well.

Filling Fiber: Fiber helps keep your gut strong and healthy and ensures regular bowel movements, which excrete the toxins found in the liver. Dr. Blum recommends consuming fiber throughout the day from cruciferous veggies such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and dark leafy greens.  Gluten-free grains like quinoa, brown rice and millet are also high in fiber and easier for the liver to process.

Mind Your B’s: B Vitamins, that is. And multi-vitamins in general can improve the body’s ability to withstand stress (think, holidays), which can put a strain on your system. Nuts such as almonds and pecans and legumes such as lentils are high in Vitamin B.

A resident of Armonk, NY, Dr. Blum is assistant clinical professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and is on staff at Greenwich Hospital as an Integrative Medicine Specialist in the Medicine Department. She is also a member of the Senior Teaching Faculty at the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C. and teaches throughout the country in their training programs.

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