There is no point in me trying to convince you not to go out partying this Christmas because of all the ‘bad food’ and the inevitable negative effects the festive period will have on your health. Instead I’m on your side, go out and party but this month I will offer a few suggestions to try and lessen the damage!
Alcohol compromises your immune system within 30 minutes of your first mouthful so get boosting before you begin. Zinc and a good probiotic will do wonders for general health while selenium, plentiful in shellfish such as oysters, lobsters, crabs and clams, helps white blood cells produce cytokines—proteins that help clear flu viruses out of the body.
Rather than spending your usual hour on the treadmill at the gym, go for a 20 or 30 minute circuit session in which you work in 20 second ‘sprints’. Imagine sprinting 100 metres, then resting for a minute and repeating that for 20 or 30 minutes. That is one tough workout which will get you even better results than a low intensity run and you can use any kind of ‘cardio’ type exercise.
More of us seem to suffer winter depression as national anxiety levels increase with office stress, sleepless nights, festive shopping and family pressures. Many studies have shown that increasing your levels of omega3s are a great way to improve your mood, so look out for salmon on the buffet table or in the supermarket during Christmas sale periods. Salmon is one of the best sources of the fatty acid omega3, which, is also a nice little helper in reducing your body fat.
The nation’s vitamin D levels plummet in winter time (they do not get that high in summer either) so reach for a vitamin D supplement, especially around this time of year. It helps bond calcium to your bones so not only are you less likely to fracture your arm falling out of the pub, it is also excellent at improving your cardiovascular health.
No To Nibbles
More and more studies are showing that the artificial sweeteners increase your appetite, but, you guessed it, not for broccoli. Having sweet tasting mixers with all your alcoholic drinks or opting for diet fizzy drinks if you are driving will most likely result in you craving for the multitude of chocolate boxes lying around at parties. Try soda water or have your spirits neat to avoid consuming extra calories from nutrient depleted food sources.
Two occasions to make sure you drink plenty of water (read: a minimum of 2 litres) is prior to going out on the sauce and when you return home. Having plenty of water in your system before you start will help your detoxing pathways to be up and running before the session begins and drinking plenty of water before you go to bed will make a huge difference to that ‘delicate’ feeling in the morning.
Do not forget, you are in control of your decisions and therefore you are in control of your consequences. Opting to have 1 less drink and 1 less plate of beige buffet food at each party you go to could equate to thousands of calories not being consumed over the festive period. Enjoy your time but not to the point of regretting your choices and most importantly, enjoy some well-earned precious time with loved ones. Cheers!