With the year coming to an end and the Christmas party season upon us, our health and fitness goals may start to fall by the wayside. Our healthy diets and lifestyle can easily be thrown out the window as we start to overindulge in richer food, drink more alcohol and have less time to spare to dedicate to exercise.
According to Nutrition Australia, on average Australians can gain between 0.8-1.5kg over the Christmas period. While 1-2kgs might not sound like much, studies show that weight gained during the holiday period is rarely lost in the new year. In today’s blog, Nutrition Nourishment will share 6 Tips to help keep you happy and healthy all throughout the holidays.
6 tips to staying happy and healthy during the Christmas season.
Tip 1: Include more antioxidant foods in your diet.
These are the foods that are often brightly coloured red, orange and yellow. Antioxidants have the ability to neutralise free radicals that otherwise do damage to our cells and accelerate aging. Free radicals are unstable atoms or molecules within the body that have been created by oxidation through such things as pollution, preservatives and additives, radiation, smoking, and unprotected sun exposure. Enhancing the diet with antioxidant supplements such as vitamin C and E, beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein can also be an option. These five have the added benefit of also being photo protective. This means that they may increase the skins ability to protect against UV rays and reduces the chances of sunburn and skin damage.
Tip 2: Drink more water
Dehydration is a common skin condition and can quickly become a problem in the summer heat. Increasing water intake is important throughout this season, however some people still become dehydrated. This loss of water has been shown to adversely affect skin making it feel papery and thin whilst also decreasing mood and energy levels. In times like these people often turn to sports drinks to rehydrate; I recommend using sports drinks only when performing strenuous exercise for > 90 minute intervals. Otherwise adequate water consumption will provide your body with the necessary hydration it needs without the need for sports drinks.
Another option is coconut water which has less sugar content and will be absorbed faster. It also has fewer kilocalories, less sodium and more potassium than most sports drinks, which may be a better option for some individuals. Daily consumption in moderation.
Tip 3: Get your Daily Dose of Vitamin D
Most people associate vitamin D with healthy bones. What some might not know about this vitamin is that it also plays a vital role in regulation of sex hormones and mood. The main way to get vitamin D is to expose bare skin to sunlight however the use of sunscreen, working indoors, air pollution, location, and some dress codes may limit our exposure to the sun. Supplementing with a vitamin D product is one way to ensure that our vitamin D levels remain optimal and can help to protect us against depression or waning libido.
Tip 4: Eat more dark chocolate
The flavonoids in dark chocolate may protect against skin damage and UV rays. The consumption of flavonoid-rich chocolate also increases skin circulation giving the skin that special glow whilst also leading to improved skin hydration. Make sure you get > 70% dark as this will have less sugar and a higher flavonoid content or better yet buy raw cacao powder and add it to your smoothies and desserts. Dark chocolate is also known to be a mood and memory booster and a good source of magnesium.
Tip 5: Homemade Juices to aid in Detoxification
Juices that contain natural diuretic foods such as celery, cucumber, lemon, ginger, beetroot, and pineapple help the body to increase its urine output. This in turn helps to eliminate toxins, reduce fluid retention and can ultimately result in feeling less bloated and looking slimmer. Fresh juices are also a great way to get your daily recommended serving of veggies.
Tip 6: B Vitamins for Energy and Wellbeing
Next time you are feeling drained of energy consider B vitamins in your diet; include foods such a green leafy vegetables, lean quality proteins, eggs, and whole grains. B vitamins are water-soluble and get flushed quickly from the body. Increased alcohol consumption at Christmas time can deplete our bodies of important vitamins such as B1, B2 and B6. If you feel your diet is lacking these vitamins, it may be worthwhile finding a good complex B vitamin product to provide all eight B vitamins that are essential for peak health and energy production.
The most important thing to remember is if you find yourself overindulging this Christmas is to not beat yourself up about it. Tomorrow’s another day to make smarter and healthier choices!
Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment