Christmas is such a fun time of year! We get to spend time with the people we love and then there's also the decorations, songs, late nights, food and drinks... There are so many things that we only get to do once a year and it's easy to get caught up and over-do it leaving us feeling less than wonderful. Here are a few simple tips to keep you feeling happy and healthy this silly season.
1. Keep Hydrated.
This is number 1 because it's that important and it's also that easy! Hydration is especially important for us Aussies who are doing the silly season in summer!
If you're drinking alcohol, make sure you keep up your water intake. Water helps to support your liver and eliminate break down of alcohol from your body and to keep every cell in your body happy and working efficiently.
Keep a big glass of water (or even better...a bottle!) next to your bed and sip it if you wake up in the night. Drink whatever water is left when you get up in the morning. This helps to hydrate our body after fasting overnight. Continue to drink water throughout the day and make sure you match each cup of coffee, tea and alcohol with a glass of water.
Another easy way to keep hydrated when drinking alcohol is to choose drinks which contain higher amounts of water. Drink spirits with soda water with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. You could also add in some mint leaves or a stick of cucumber (eat the mint and eat the cucumber!). These types of drinks also contain less sugar to feel much better the next day.
2. Support Good Digestion.
Christmas lunches or dinners often include heavy foods which are higher in fat and sugar that can leave us feeling full and bloated. To support good digestion, firstly don't overdo it! Your stomach can only hold a certain amount of food comfortably and it can only digest a small amount at a time so overloading your stomach will no doubt leave you feeling awful. If you overfill a cup it spills over right? Don't do that to your stomach!
Secondly, eat slow! Christmas food is so exciting and so yummy that we may eat it up so fast without realising. To help you to slow down, put down your knife and fork down between bites and chat with your family and friends. Also, chew each bite well so that it's completely broken down before swallowing it down into your stomach.
Thirdly, accompany your meals with foods which will support digestion by stimulating the release of digestive enzymes. These foods include bitter foods such as rocket, radicchio, fresh herbs, broccoli and fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi.
3. Support your Liver.
Whilst the above will already help to support your liver (hydration & supporting digestion), there are some other things you can also do.
Alcohol can deplete the body of many nutrients including B vitamins. You know those popular supplements which dissolve in water that many people like to take to cure a hangover (...to give you back your B-B-Bounce)?? Whilst also rehydrating the body, the main reason they help to make you feel better is because they contain B vitamins. You could use one of those OR get yourself a good quality B-Vitamin complex tablet from your naturopath or nutritionist which contains all of the B Vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12).
Alcohol can also increase the excretion of magnesium from the body so a good magnesium supplement can also help. Eat fresh and brightly coloured foods to increase your antioxidant intake to reduce any potential damage caused to your liver. Drink coconut water to replenish electrolytes naturally.
If you're feeling that hungover that you need to take a pain killer, avoid paracetamol! Paracetamol inhibits the production of glutathione which is a major antioxidant produced by your body to protect the liver from free radicals during the detoxification process. This is how a paracetamol overdose can kill... The free radicals cause damage to the liver cells which leads to toxicity. Rather, hydrate and replenish the body with the nutrients it needs and if you still need a pain killer, choose ibuprofen or aspirin instead.
Christmas gatherings are usually lunch or dinner and what food is on offer isn't always up to you so start your day with a balanced breakfast. Get a good amount of protein (eggs, tofu, beans, meat, legumes, dairy) and as many serves of veggies as you can (spinach, kale, tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms, etc) to set you up with the energy and nutrients your body needs to get through a busy day.
It's the busiest time of the year for so many people. There numerous gatherings, parties and catch-ups and we find ourselves feeling exhausted. To help you get through, make sure you're taking some time out for yourself to rest.
Alongside good nutrition and regular exercise, good sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body to help it to function optimally. A good night's sleep allows your body to switch off and reset so that you can get through the next day feeling great. If you didn't get enough sleep the night before or if you're expecting a late night tonight, have a nap!
Stay safe, look after your health and enjoy this wonderful time of year!