'Tis the season to overindulge... so here are a few festive tips to stay healthy over Christmas break!
Everything starts with breakfast
If you’re going out in the evening, start the day with a generous bowl of porridge, topped with a handful of blueberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Porridge is a low Glycaemic Food so it stabilises blood sugar levels, which helps control appetite later in the day. Adding a good dollop of probiotic yogurt, to help boost immunity as well as combat some of the less beneficial effects of the party season, like too much alcohol and not enough sleep.
2. Take dietary supplements
Alcohol depletes the body of important nutrients such as vitamin C, magnesium and zinc, and our eating may be less balanced during the festive season. Taking a good-quality multivitamin daily is a good way to help replenish your body’s stocks of these essential vitamins and minerals and to protect your general health.
The body uses up a considerable amount of nutrients when processing alcohol, including B-group vitamins. If you are low in vitamin B this elimination process will be impaired. Some of the richest sources of B-group vitamins include wholegrains, legumes, avocado, nuts, seeds and red meat. Supplementing with a daily B-complex supplement may also be beneficial.
Magnesium is vital for more than 300 of your body’s metabolic reactions. Your body’s magnesium levels can be lowered by excessive alcohol intake. It plays a major role in producing energy, by burning carbohydrates and fat. It also enables your body to store this energy in your cells. Good sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, wholegrains, bran, nuts, beans, peas and bananas.
3. Eat before you drink
Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Always eat something nutritious before you head out. This will slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. When drinking, avoid snacking on high-fat foods such as hot chips and pizza and instead go for healthier snacks such as dips with crackers and breads, olives, nuts and grilled seafood.
4. Drink slowly
Play it safe and stick to no more than one alcoholic drink an hour. This will give your liver time to process the alcohol properly and prevent a build-up of alcohol in your blood. Try ordering a nip in a schooner glass of soda water so it lasts longer, or drink a glass of water or a non-alcoholic drink between alcoholic ones.
5. Avoid dehydration
Alcohol is one of the major causes of dehydration. On the day of a big night out, and the day after, make a conscious effort to drink 6-8 glasses of water, or plenty of herbal teas or diluted juice. We lose fluid and important electrolytes such as magnesium and potassium when our body processes alcohol. Many common hangover symptoms – including headache, dry mouth and thirst – are at least partly caused by dehydration. The best way to combat dehydration is to drink plenty of water when you are out and have an electrolyte drink before you go to bed.
6. Natural hangover helpers
Grease up before you go. One longstanding folk remedy is to take a spoonful of olive oil before a party. Some swear by it. Eating a pizza or similar fatty meal has the same effect. Both are said to grease the intestines so the alcohol takes longer to absorb.
Coconut water: Naturally rich in electrolytes, coconut water is good for rehydration.
Ginger: It’s soothing for the digestive tract and helps relieve nausea. Try chilled ginger tea with lemon or add fresh ginger to a vegie juice.
Go back to bed. A hangover isn’t caused by lack of sleep, but that makes it worse. Take a long nap the day after: It’s the body’s way of healing itself.
Happy festive season!!!