A vast drawback on the nuts offered around Christmas time is that they are often covered in salt and/or sugar. Opt for unsalted nuts as they’re packed with nutrients like potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin E.
The festive season is a time when both mind and body can shift out of balance. Here are some common causes of imbalance and dietary suggestions for when the body is out of kilter and you want to bring it back in line.
Had one too many Christmas cocktails? Consider these foods and supplements to support your liver, skin and state of mind:
- Hydrate. Water is invaluable for promoting proper waste metabolism, circulation and pH balance. Include cold pressed vegetable juices, herbal teas and hot water infused with fresh lemon.
Too many late nights? Sleep deprivation sends hormones and metabolic processes into a spin. Bring back the balance by trying the following:
- Sleeping is the best time for your body to rest, rejuvenate and get into balance. Aim for 7-8 hours a night. You are worth it!
- Sleep deprivation has been shown to lower levels of leptin – the appetite suppressing hormone while increasing hunger, leaving us with a tendency to reach for unhealthy sweet and salty foods. Banish this by keeping your blood sugar balanced. That includes complex starchy carbohydrates (such as whole grains, oats and bran) with good quality protein (lean meat, fish, eggs or beans) at every meal and snack.
- Don’t grab that soft drink and bag of chips, instead snack on herbal tea, nuts and fresh sliced fruits or veggies.
Gluttony and greed taken over? Too many mince pies, chocolates and lavish lunches? Nourish your body and bring back balance by cutting back on refined sugar.
- Stack up on soluble fibre which feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut and helps you feel fuller for longer therefore helping with weight control. Soluble fibre dissolves into a gel-like texture helping to slow down digestion.
- Chew thoroughly. Eating your food slowly will help you enjoy the taste, reduce stress and improve digestion.
Family feuds or work related worries, however it presents itself, stress damages our physical and mental health.
- When faced with a stressor, a complex hormonal cascade follows and the adrenals secrete cortisol
- A well balanced diet can be useful to help you feel less stressed. Stay away from the usual culprits: caffeine, alcohol, salty foods, fatty foods, sugar, refined and processed foods.
- Boost consumption of whole plant foods to maximise fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients with fruit, vegetables, whole grains, omega-3 fats and a probiotic (if necessary).
How to prevent eating too much at parties
- Avoid going to parties hungry
- Eat something light before to reduce your chances of snacking on high calorie party food. If you turn up hungry, you are likely to eat more without realising. If you don't plan ahead it's like going to the supermarket on an empty stomach; you end up buying items you don't want and more importantly don't need.
- Don’t be tempted by the Christmas special offers
- Out of sight, out of mind. It may be difficult but the best thing is not to buy treat in the first place. Most of us eat more than we need to simply because food is in front of us. One way to avoid eating a family-size tin of chocolates for breakfast is to keep the treats out of sight and only put them out when guests are expected.
- Beware of the honeyed/salted nuts
- A vast drawback on the nuts offered around Christmas time is that they are often covered in salt and/or sugar. Opt for unsalted nuts as they’re packed with nutrients like potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin E. You can also go one step further and buy them in their shells as getting to grips with a nutcracker will result in you eating less (e.g. pistachios and walnuts!)
- Swap the high fat snacks for crudités
- Replace scotch eggs or sausage rolls with vegetable crudités and dips, another healthier snack instead of crisps and popcorn.
This article reflects the opinion of Gabriela Peacock and is intended as general advice only. You should seek advice from a professional before altering your diet, changing your exercise regime or starting any new course of conduct.