After what has been a crazy and challenging year, many of us are looking forward to some much needed down time to celebrate with family and friends over the festive season. But with all the good cheer, this time of year is traditionally a time for over-indulgence and excess which can wreak havoc on our health.
Here are some top tips to help you survive the holiday cheer and live well, every day. Balance and moderation are key!
1. Eat wisely
Eat, drink and be merry – after all it’s the holidays! There is no need to deprive yourself from enjoying some festive feasting, but by practicing moderation in relation to portion sizes you can reduce potential digestive discomfort and unintended holiday weight gain.
Focus on having a balanced plate;
- Half of your plate containing vegetables or salad
- One quarter protein (meat, fish, eggs, legumes, tofu)
- The remaining quarter of your plate carbohydrates (i.e., Grains, starches).
- When it comes to dessert opt for a smaller portion size
Most importantly remember to stop eating when you feel full!
2. Keep up the fluids
This tip may sound simple, but it is probably one of the most important. The human body is around 50-60% water and it is vital for our survival! As we head into the warmer weather its important to ensure that you are replenishing fluids;
- Avoid excessive consumption of diuretic drinks such as coffee, tea and alcohol which have the effect of depleting fluid levels and electrolytes.
- Add some freshly squeezed lemon, lime or mint for some added flavour, or sip on an herbal tea.
- Unsweetened plain coconut water is also a good option to replenish lost electrolytes.
We can often mistake thirst for hunger, so by ensuring you are well hydrated will also help keep your appetite in check.
3. Look after your gut
A healthy balanced microbiome contributes towards improved digestive health and immune function. Unfortunately, processed or fatty fast foods, alcohol, stress and medications can disturb this healthy balance. A multi-strain probiotic such as our Probiotic 32 billion can provide additional support to help maintain a healthy gut flora.
Like any living organism, our gut bacteria need fuel to survive and thrive. This fuel source can be found in probiotic foods high in fibre. By increasing the amount of fibre in your diet through fruit, vegetables, nuts and wholegrains you will encourage the beneficial bacteria to colonise and remain in your gut.
The addition of gut friendly anti-inflammatory spices such as ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and fennel seeds to your holiday menu, not only adds flavour but important phytonutrients contributing to your overall health. So, get creative and pump up the spice!
4. Love your liver
Tis’ the season to be jolly and in the season of over-indulgence the liver does most of the heavy lifting. It performs a myriad of functions including eliminating toxins such as alcohol, producing bile to break down dietary fats and regulating blood sugar levels. Some strategies to take some of the burden off the liver include;
Moderate your alcohol intake by alternating between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Low sugar mixers such as soda water or sparkling mineral water are a good option.
Ensure you consume food with alcohol to slow down its absorption and prevent blood sugar spikes.
Consume an herbal liver tonic such as Liver care milk thistle 13000mg known for its liver protecting and bile promoting properties.
Alcohol also depletes your body of B vitamins, leaving us feeling physically and mentally fatigued. Our Super B 50 may provide an additional boost to your energy levels in addition to CoQ10 150mg to support energy production and provide antioxidant benefits. Zinc is also an important co-factor required for the enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the liver.
5. Less stress, more play
For many people the Christmas holiday period can be a stressful and emotional time. Our nervous system can be stuck in the sympathetic “fight or flight” mode leaving us feeling overwhelmed and anxious. The result is increased levels of stress hormones in the body, putting pressure on our adrenal glands, digestive system and disrupting hormonal balance.
Specific herbs called ‘adaptogens’ can help improve our resilience to stress and calm the nervous system. Anxiety Care contains a blend of adaptogenic herbs traditionally used to reduce anxiety, support a healthy stress response and increase energy levels.
Time outdoors amongst nature has been shown to reduce levels of stress hormones. Exercise has a beneficial effect on mood by increasing levels of feel-good hormones such as dopamine. A walk or jog in your local park, a trip to the beach or a bushwalk may be just the circuit breaker you need to bring down your stress levels and lift your mood!
Wishing you a happy, healthy and safe holiday period!
Carlson, J. L., Erickson, J. M., Lloyd, B. B., & Slavin, J. L. (2018). Health Effects and Sources of Prebiotic Dietary Fiber. Current developments in nutrition, 2(3), nzy005. https://doi.org/10.1093/cdn/nzy005
Hedblom, M., Gunnarsson, B., Iravani, B., Knez, I., Schaefer, M., Thorsson, P., & Lundström, J. N. (2019). Reduction of physiological stress by urban green space in a multisensory virtual experiment. Scientific reports, 9(1), 10113. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-46099-7