Keeping healthy this Christmas

KATHARINE BRIGHT, A REGISTERED NUTRITIONIST WITH A CLINIC IN SEVENOAKS PROVIDES US WITH SOME TIPS TO ENJOY CHRISTMAS, ALL WITHOUT THE GUILT!

Christmas time is often a time of excess and it’s been shown that many people manage to put on over five pounds in weight during the festivities. So how do you remain healthy and not sabotage all the good you have done over the past year, while still enjoying yourself?

Don’t deprive yourself
If you deprive yourself over the year then it’s easy to binge and overeat when food that you have denied yourself is suddenly available. It’s easier to eat small amounts of all food regularly than deny yourself what you like and then binge eat. This can lead to a cycle of deprivation and binge, which is no good for your health or your mind. Balance and moderation are the key words here, which I know is often hard when everyone around you seems to be buying up all the sweet tins in the supermarket.

Alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to making poor food choices. However you don’t want to deny yourself a glass of bubbly, or whatever your tipple is, when you go to a party or are out with friends. So alternate each alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink and make sure you drink lots of water both before the party and when you get home.

Blood sugar balance
Regular readers will remember that we touched on the importance of keeping your blood sugar balanced in the October issue of this magazine. If you are prone to feeling ‘hangry’ or suffer from mood swings then it probably means your blood sugar is out of whack and will need some work to remedy. Eating too much sugar and refined carbohydrates will lead to blood sugar levels that fluctuate throughout the day.

Keep sugary refined foods to a minimum and try to make your own snacks using just fruit to sweeten. Once your blood sugar is balanced and you don’t reach for the sweet treat, then your body will stop craving them. A teaspoon of cinnamon a day can help to balance your blood sugar levels.

Antioxidants
Make sure you are eating lots of antioxidant rich food during the festive season. This means lots of colourful vegetables and fruit. Eat the rainbow and make sure you are including different colours of vegetables and fruit at every meal.

Liver friendly food
During this time of year your liver might need an extra hand, so support it with lots of liver friendly foods. If your liver is in top shape then it will be better able to help digest fat and detoxify any alcohol. Lots of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, pak choi, rocket, cauliflower, kale and watercress will all help your liver. Other foods that help your liver include artichoke, beetroot, garlic, ginger, parsley, coriander, turmeric and ginger.

Sleep
Make sure you are getting lots of sleep. Burning the candle at both ends will leave your immune system struggling and unable to cope. This will mean that you are more likely to pick up any bugs doing the rounds. Try for 7-8 hours sleep a night.

Exercise
You might be tempted to drop the exercise class or the run if you are feeling below par – however this is the time to keep up with your exercise routine. If you can’t manage your normal routine then make sure you are getting out in the fresh air for a brisk walk. Raising your heart rate will help with any overindulgence and assist in your recovery.
Above all enjoy your Christmas and New Year festivities.

• Katharine Bright is a Registered Nutritionist with a clinic in Sevenoaks. To book an appointment call her on 07769 636352 or email kat@thehealthboost.co.uk. She is co-founder of The Health Boost (www.thehealthboost.co.uk) – a website dedicated to providing a family friendly solution to healthy eating. For day-to-day healthy inspiration and new recipes follow them on Facebook and Instagram.