I find that in the summertime, we tend to indulge a bit more regularly than during the rest of the year. The patios are open, we have camping trips, backyard barbeques, vacations, weddings, and a whole list of other reasons to go out for a couple of drinks with good friends.
I have always been of the belief that enjoying food, and the experiences surrounding food, is almost as important as making healthy food choices, and I constantly preach that food should be a source of pleasure, not a source of stress. However, I realize that I’ve failed to mention, there are instances when although what we are consuming brings us pleasure, sometimes it can be a cause of PHYSICAL stress, without us even knowing!
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m referring to alcohol. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to tell you not to drink, or preach to you about how much is too much… We are all adults here and are capable of making these decisions for ourselves. What I am here to do, is let you know a little bit about what kind of stress alcohol might be putting on your body, and give you some tips and tricks to make sure that if you do have a few more drinks than normal, you can try to help your body combat that stress.
When you consume alcohol, it puts stress on many of the body’s vital functions. It interferes with certain hormones, the one you’d noticed most is ADH (Anti-Diuretic Hormone) which in short, is the hormone that tells your body to hold your pee, you’ve likely experienced this effect before. This effect on ADH contributes to the dehydration that goes hand in hand with alcohol consumption. Alcohol also suppresses your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness or infection. The main effect that I wanted you to make note of, is the stress alcohol puts on the liver. It’s often joked about, but truly, alcohol makes your liver work overtime because it’s your liver’s job to filter toxins from your blood, and alcohol is a toxin that enters our blood through the digestive system. In order to get your body back to happy, homeostasis, your liver has to work extra hard, and I don’t know about you, but when I have to work extra hard at something, it’s bound to cause a bit of stress!
As I said before, I’m not here to tell you that you should never drink, in fact, I’m having a beer as I write this, but I want you to make sure you give your body the best support you can, and if for you, that means having a few less, by all means, I support you. Below is a list of ways that you can also help to support your body’s natural detoxification processes, and immunity so that your liver can get a little extra love for all of the hard work you’re making it do!
- Drink more water: This supports detoxification and helps combat dehydration, and in the hot weather is extra important. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 2-4L of water per day, but if it’s hot out, and if you’re drinking alcohol that day, try to get to the higher end of that spectrum.
- Add lemon to your water: Lemon naturally supports detoxification… plus tastes yummy 😉
- Eat lots of dark leafy greens and beets: Again, these support detoxification.
- Eat many colourful fruit and veggies: These are nutritious in many ways, but what’s most helpful here is that they contain antioxidants, which help support immune function and battle cancer-causing free radicals.
- Exercise: Regular exercise has many benefits of course, (like improved immune function, and energy levels, just to name a few) but fun fact, your body cannot use the calories from alcohol for anything productive, and it wants to get rid of them! So when you exercise, those calories are burned off first before any other. Unfortunately, this means if you have been working toward weight loss, your body has to get rid of the extra calories from alcohol before it can utilize any extra stored energy that your body has.
Hope you’ve found this information helpful, if you have any questions, feel free reach out!
In the meantime, enjoy your summer, enjoy your beer (if that’s what you’re into), and take care!