We are all likely to overindulge over the festive season, between all the Christmas parties, catching up with family and the Big Day itself. This means it’s even more important than usual to give your body a rest in between, nourish yourself with good food, and take extra good care of yourself. Read on for my top tips for keeping healthy over this hectic period.
Rest. It can be easy to burn the candle at both ends at this time of year as we try to fit in all the festive activities on top of our regular routine. Remember you can’t do it all and be ok with that. Do you need to say yes to everything? Or is there anything from your usual routine you could skip? Rest and sleep are incredibly important as this is when our bodies rejuvenate and repair, so be kind to yourself and don’t feel bad about giving yourself a break.
Eat real food. Avoid processed, readymade foods, and instead try to make your own food whenever possible. Home cooked food from real ingredients is almost always more nutritious than ready-made processed foods, providing you with the nutrients your body needs at this time of year.
Reduce your toxic load. Overindulging on alcohol over the festive season puts increased load on the liver. This means the liver may be less able to process the other, everyday substances it needs to detoxify like the recycling of hormones and neurotransmitters, and this can have an impact on our health. Be extra kind to your liver on the days in between the parties by reducing alcohol, sugar, processed foods, and red meat.
Eat the rainbow. Vegetables and fruit come in a rainbow assortment of colours and each colour is a source of different phytochemicals which benefit health in a different way. Try to include as many different colours in a day as you can to ensure a range of nutrients. This will also ensure you are topped up with antioxidants, which help protect the body from damage, something you may need a boost of at this time of year.
Eat your greens. There’s a reason your mother used to tell you to do this. Green vegetables are a powerhouse of nutrients. They are packed full of antioxidants which help the body defend itself from damage from oxidative stress, and a rich source of lots of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals which are beneficial to all areas of health. These nutrients are even more important than usual with the extra strain we are placing on our systems over the season so tuck into your Brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, spinach or kale. As well as serving these with your main meal, you could try wilting greens like rocket into soup, or making a green smoothie. Try to make sure you have some greens every day.
Eat the right amount of protein. Protein is required to support the liver but too much can put strain on the liver so it’s important to get the balance right. Having protein spread throughout the day also helps to balance blood sugar levels, stabilising energy to avoid those slumps. Include a palm sized portion of protein with each meal. Good protein sources include lean meat like chicken or festive turkey, oily or white fish, good quality organic eggs, or plant proteins like beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, quinoa, tofu or hummus.
Remember what it’s all about. The festive season should be an enjoyable time to catch up with friends and family. Try to focus on the positive aspects of this rather than allowing it to cause you stress. Positive thinking has been linked with good immunity which is important at this time of year with colds and flus going around. So relax and enjoy yourself!