During the holidays it is easy to exceed with large meals, desserts and snacks between meals. The results, however, are coming really fast, with digestive problems, heartburn, heaviness and overworked liver. Thankfully, we have valuable natural allies at our disposal that can help rebalance blood sugar, detoxify the body and keep digestion working at its best. And the great thing is, these remedies are readily available in every kitchen, especially during these days. But let's understand better.
During the holiday season it is easy to find some raisins at home, an essential ingredient for tasty culinary preparations. But raisins are also a valuable ally for the well-being of the liver, they help the body purify itself, improve digestion and provide important vitamins and antioxidants. The evening before, bring two glasses of water to a boil, remove from heat and add 150 grams of raisins, let it rest overnight, then filter, heat slightly and drink, preferably before breakfast. This raisin water provides vitamins. In fact, scientific studies have been able to observe that various water-soluble vitamins are contained in raisins. Here they are listed in decreasing order of quantity, vitamin B3, to help keep cholesterol and triglycerides under control, B6, useful for liver health and to counteract hepatic steatosis, B1, essential for the conversion of glucose into energy, B2, which keeps the immune system healthy and promotes proper digestion, and B9, or folic acid, for protein and DNA synthesis (Panagopoulou et al, J Sci Food Agric, 2019 - Kobayashi et al, J Clin Biochem Nutr , 2021). Not only that, the infusion of raisins in water allows precious antioxidant substances to be released, such as quercetin, kaempferol and caftaric acid (Zhao et al, Food Chem, 2008 - Olmo Cunillera et al, Nutrients, 2020). Caftaric acid has an anti-inflammatory and gastroprotective action, useful in soothing heartburn and acidity (Tanyeli et al, Gen Physiol Biophys, 2019). Instead, quercetin supports the immune system and is antiviral (Li et al, Nutrients, 2016) and kaempferol is antidiabetic, antimicrobial, protects the heart and brain (Imran et al, Molecules, 2019).
The scent of cinnamon is the scent of parties, of laughter, of the warmth of the house when it is snowing outside. In these weeks there will certainly be a bag or a jar with a little cinnamon in the kitchen, perhaps to flavor sweets and biscuits. So, let's see how to use cinnamon for our health too. You can add, for example, a pinch of cinnamon to the morning yogurt, or you can sprinkle some of this spice on the fruit salad or even in a smoothie prepared with almond milk, a banana and, of course, cinnamon. The point is, cinnamon can be really useful during this time when you tend to eat more. In fact, cinnamon, even in low doses, therefore less than one gram per day, helps to reduce cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar and even the waistline (Kutbi et al, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2021). Not only that, cinnamon strengthens the stomach, counteracts inflammation and promotes digestion (Yakhchali et al, Biomed Pharmacother., 2021).
Artichokes are a typical vegetable of the colder months, very tasty, they lend themselves to various preparations. It is therefore easy to find yourself with many discarded artichoke leaves, which would normally be thrown away. So, sometimes, especially on holidays, try not to throw away the leaves of the artichokes but to use them for an herbal tea. In fact, artichoke leaves are anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective, counteract irritable bowel syndrome and stimulate the secretion of bile, with benefits for digestion, especially after very abundant and high-fat meals (Bundy et al, J Altern Complement Med, 2004 - Salem et al, Plant Foods Hum Nutr, 2015). Bring a cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and add a few artichoke leaves. Leave to infuse for fifteen minutes, then filter and drink, it is very bitter.