There are very few people that can actually say they don’t overindulge on Christmas day and why not? Once a year you can give yourself the excuse to enjoy delicious foods and your favourite tipple with the people you love the most. So dig out your Santa jumper, dust down your cookery books, uncork the Prosecco and prepare for a sensational Christmas - but above all be prepared…
Making the most of the festivities without coming out of it worse for wear requires some real determination and careful planning. The average person consumes a whopping 8000 calories of food and drinks on Christmas day. It would be difficult to survive all this excess without gaining a few extra pounds, or giving your liver an extra work-out.
A big part of the reason you feel so dreadful after Christmas is entirely due to the demands of your digestion and liver - unless of course, you pick up a seasonal bug too. But if you stock up on a few extra ingredients, choose some quality supplements and follow our five top tips, you should escape some of the worst after-effects of Christmas and step into the new-year as fresh as a daisy!
1. Eat a healthy, hearty, breakfast
Try and take a swerve from the usual pre-breakfast chocolate box binge and instead lovingly prepare yourself a mouth-watering but healthy breakfast. It can still be deliciously indulgent but far less sugar-laden which potentially will keep you feeling fuller for longer and stop you snacking on ‘naughtier’ foods before the big lunch.
Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs always go down a treat on Christmas morning and is a nice light follow up after a healthy bowl of muesli soaked in orange juice and topped with berries and yoghurt. Both of these clever breakfast choices will supply you with ample protein, a good dose of brain foods and an array of essential nutrients to raise your energy levels for the day ahead.
Sprinkling some lecithin granules onto your muesli will also help your body to digest and process the surge in fatty foods you’re likely to eat over the festive season.
Another trick is to load up your muesli with some nuts, figs and dates, which are crammed full of zinc and iron - needed to produce digestive juices, support immune function and boost energy. Low levels of stomach acid are one of the main causes of indigestion - a common complaint over Christmas.
2. Avoid sugar
A big ask on Christmas day I know, but sugar really has a detrimental effect on your immune system leaving you far more prone to picking up winter bugs. Coming down with a cold or flu leaves you less able to cope with the additional non-stop seasonal obligations and just adds to that general lousy feeling that follows the annual festivities.
If you absolutely can’t resist delving into the chocolate box give yourself some added protection by topping up on vitamin C. This old favourite really does deliver when it comes to winter protection, but you need to choose carefully to get maximum results.
Your best bet is a really well-absorbed supplement like Altrient C. This unique liposomal formula is streets ahead of standard vitamin C because of its innovative delivery system that ensures up to 98% of the vitamin C is carried directly to the cells that need it.
You can also make sure you eat a good range of immune-enhancing foods such as yellow, red and orange peppers, sweet potatoes, dark greens and carrots. These can be easily incorporated into tasty side dishes to accompany roast turkey and are a guaranteed source of carotene known for its immune-supportive activities.
3. Aid your digestion
Generally overeating can leave you feeling bloated and sluggish with a lot of wind and often constipated too. Foods like onions, garlic artichoke and leeks offer a helping hand because they are great for encouraging the growth of friendly bacteria which help to aid digestion, reduce wind and promote regular bowel movements.
Adding bitter greens like rocket and watercress to your pre-dinner salad or your turkey sandwiches can help too because these type of leaves stimulate enzyme production which promotes digestion. Their high fibre content also helps to eliminate waste through the digestive tract. What’s more, bitter greens also promote natural detoxification of the liver something you’ll be thankful for after a few glasses of prosecco!
Support your liver
Your liver is the hardest working organ in your body when it comes to eliminating harmful substances from your blood and especially so at Christmas when you’re placing extra demands on it.
Several Amino acids are needed to support liver function but particularly Glutathione. The importance of this specific amino acid cannot be understated when it comes to supporting liver detoxification. It plays a vital role in helping to neutralise and remove the toxins that continuously filter through your liver on a daily basis.
Glutathione is not something easily obtained from foods so it’s worth investing in a really well-absorbed supplement in the lead up to and over the Christmas period. Liposomal supplements have been found to perform far better than standard supplements and can deliver the essential nutrients like glutathione directly to the cells and tissues that need it. For this reason, Altrient Glutathione is a firm favourite amongst nutrition experts.
Cut down on alcohol
What?!!! I know…..Christmas is not Christmas without a bottle of bubbly and a Bailey’s or two but you can still have your cake and eat it (within reason). Just alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water, which will dilute the alcohol considerably leaving you much more able to enjoy the whole day without feeling frazzled.
Drinking lots of water will keep you hydrated and helps your liver to filter out more toxins and harmful substances, allowing it to work faster and increase your energy levels. You’ll be able to sail through dinner and even stay awake for charades!
Remember to sip your drink slowly too – this gives the liver time to metabolise the alcohol and will help to reduce how much you drink overall.
If you nibble on nuts and seeds at the same time it also reduces the rate of alcohol absorbed and provides you with valuable nutrients like selenium and vitamin E that protect and support liver function.
You could also try making your own alcohol-free Christmas punch by mixing orange, apple and cranberry juice together and adding some cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Once you’ve warmed it up no-one will know the difference!
Jackie Newson BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy
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