Staying healthy at Christmas

Strike the balance

Try to stagger your celebrations so you’re giving your body a chance to recover in between and have a couple of days of healthier habits. Don’t let one night of drinking and eating open the floodgates for the entire period. Enjoy yourself by all means but don’t wait until New Year’s Day to get back on it. Make your next meal nutritionally sound and keep pulling yourself back to your ‘healthful’ ways when you can

Stay Hydrated
Key is to stay well hydrated. Try to start the day by drinking 500ml first thing every morning alongside 2000mg of vitamin C  (Viridian Extra C) and 500mg of combined acetyl l-carnitine and lipoic acid, which will help to support energy, detoxification and liver health. Aim to drink a further 1.5l of water throughout the rest of the day, especially when you feel hunger pangs. Adding apple cider vinegar to water will also aid digestion and control sugar cravings.

Eat protein
Have a protein smoothie or a boiled egg before you go out to avoid arriving hungry and reduce the desire to reach for the canapés. This will also help you to make better food choices.  Bananas are also another good pre-party snack as they are rich in potassium, which can help to balance out electrolyte depletion caused by alcohol.

Pre and Probiotic foods
Increase your intake of pre and probiotic foods in the run up to Christmas to help to support your gut microbiome.  Alcohol can really interfere with the gut microbiome.  Foods such as garlic, onions, oats, apples and fermented foods.  Beetroot is a superstar antioxidant and known to have a protective effect on liver cells.

Taking a quality multivitamin can be a good insurance policy, a probiotic to support gut health and an omega-3 to help to reduce inflammation in the body and skin and brain health.

Be mindful of sugar
Keep your blood sugar levels stable by pairing high-GI foods with lower-GI foods.  For example – be sure to eat your roast potatoes with some turkey, salmon or nut loaf  and add a handful of nuts to balance the balance out the sugar spike from your Christmas pudding.

Try to avoid the crisps and pastry-based canapés and choose olives, nuts, hummus and crudités instead where possible.  Don’t be afraid of healthy fats found in olives, nuts and avocado.

Look After Your Liver
Don’t make the mistake of fasting all day to compensate for what you will eat later.  Instead, eat a light and nutritious lunch or brunch, ideally with protein and greens, which are great for liver detoxification. Eggs or smoked mackerel or smoked salmon with dark green vegetables are  great options.  Stock up on Brussels sprouts, kale, cavolo nero and cabbage, which provide incredible support for the liver,

Help your hangover
The liver’s ability to break down alcohol diminishes with age. Be sure to fill up on antioxidant-rich nutrients. A protein smoothie is a great breakfast option (add vitamin-C rich berries, spinach, avocado and ginger).  Drink a glass of water with a spoonful of apple cider vinegar to help to alkalise the body and flood it with minerals.

Boost Serotonin Levels
We naturally feel more tired on dark, winter days due to less exposure to sunlight, which affects our levels of Vitamin D in the body.  This has as direct effect on our mood and energy levels. Increase your intake of foods such as salmon, eggs, nuts and seeds, and fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, yogurt and sauerkraut to trigger your body’s production of serotonin.

Get Outside
Staying motivated to exercise over Christmas can feel near impossible, especially when it gets dark by 4pm. If you can’t fit in or face a workout then make sure you get outside for a reviving 30-minute walk. It can work wonders for your both your mood and energy levels.

Mindful eating
Try to chew your food slowly and take breaks between mouthfuls.  The slower we eat, the more time the body has to tell us we are no longer hungry and the less likely we are to over eat.


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