There is a lot of talk at the moment about brain health and in particular looking after our mental wellbeing is more important than ever, as we all want to look after our waistlines, but it is important that we think about our overall health during the festive period, so that we can not only enjoy it but go into the new year feeling our absolute best!
The issues that cause chronic disease include high blood pressure, high BMI, high fasting glucose, high triglycerides and low HDL, which can be caused by things such as smoking, obesity, a diet high in saturated fats, processed foods, sugar and refined carbohydrates, as well as drinking excess alcohol and a lack of physical movement.
The festive season will no doubt see in a lot of very well earned celebrations and family time in which enjoying food and toasting the new year with friends and family is a very, very important way to look after our mental wellbeing. But how can we do this in a way that doesn’t leave us feeling sluggish, bloated and overweight come January
Firstly, aim to eat foods that have a low glycaemic load, meaning that there is a slow release of glucose into your system. This will in turn help to manage your blood sugar spikes so that you don’t feel so sluggish over the festive period and it may also help to keep your waistline in check.
Increase good fats that include omega-3s where you can; this includes cold water fish such as anchovies and prawns and also oily fish such as salmon and mackerel. This can be done by choosing the fish option, for example, as your starter for Christmas dinner.
Increase your levels of vitamin D; if you see the sun come out even if it’s cold why don’t you pop out for a nice brisk walk and aim to get your 20 minutes of sunlight exposure, regardless of the temperature. This will still help to keep your wellbeing up, increase your immunity and dampen inflammation by getting that hit of Vitamin D on your skin.
Methylation is a process in which the body transfers molecules to make DNA and also to create detoxification pathways that are essential for health. Ways to optimise methylation and detox would be to aim to eat some eggs, organ meat, fish, soya beans, shiitake mushrooms and any foods that contain the B vitamins (B12, B6 and folate) as well as choline in eggs and also looking to increase zinc, magnesium and potassium.
Gut health is the cornerstone to all good health and this includes the way we feel. Happy hormones and neurotransmitters are made in the gut such as GABA, serotonin and dopamine, so if you want to be feeling good this Christmas make sure you look after your gut health by increasing fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir and trying to not put too much strain on the gut lining by considering decreasing alcohol and processed foods where possible. You may even want to prep some lemon, ginger apple cider vinegar, turmeric and black pepper ice cubes that you can keep in the freezer. When you are ready just pop an ice cube in a mug and add boiling water, you can sip on this drink while you are cooking or hosting, as this will help to increase your digestive function as well as increasing immunity and decreasing inflammation.
Christmas is a time for treats, there is no doubt about that, but in amongst the treats here is a list of foods that we can include to make sure we are giving our bodies the nourishment they need to thrive into the new year. So think about including into your festive plate, for example, protein from meat sources, Brussels sprouts, Brazil nuts, cranberries, salmon, herbs and spices, good quality meats, a nut roast, dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, plus including chestnuts for healthy fats, and decrease where possible sweet desserts keeping these to an occasional treat so that you don’t feel too bloated by the end of all the fun
And finally here are some simple hacks to reduce that hangover feeling. If you’re drinking spirits, try to stick to gin or vodka and add plenty of ice cubes, soda water or tonic, for example, and consider squeezing in plenty of lemon and lime. If you’re drinking wine on the other hand why don’t you add a couple of splashes of water just to ease the flushing of the alcohol? If you don’t want to do this, then consider having a glass of water on hand or a herbal tea, for example, to sip in between beverages as this will help to prevent you from feeling too groggy the next day. It will also help with your sleep which is a crucial part of feeling fresh and ready to enjoy the festivities!
If you’ve found the above information useful and would like to learn more about nutrition and well-being, reach out to our experts today. As the best nutritionist Poole has to offer, we’re able to provide all potential clients with helpful advice concerning health and well-being. We encourage you to download our eBook, which has further information and will serve as your good health guide! If you have any queries for our experts, fill out our online contact form, and we’ll reply to you shortly.