The silly season has officially begun, a time for overindulgence and back-to-back parties. Between all of the Christmas festivities, office parties and summer barbeques, sticking to your regular health and fitness regime can seem impossible.
So with copious eating and drinking most likely on the menu, how can you survive the silly season a little less scathed and still able to enter a new year feeling fabulous?
BioCeuticals Naturopath, Corinne Bett gives us her top five health survival tips.
The best way to avoid disaster is by careful planning. Look at your diary, plan ahead and be mindful of your weekly calorie consumption. Figure out how many social engagements you have on in the week and set yourself an alcohol limit so you don’t blow your weekly intake at the first party.
Remember The H20!
Sweaty summer days mixed with alcohol can be a recipe for dehydration and possibly a foggy head. Alcohol consumption strips essential nutrients and water from the body so it’s a good idea to take the ‘one-for-one’ approach – a glass of water for every glass of alcohol. To further protect your gut, guzzle a bottle of water before you have your first alcoholic beverage as water between each glass will have little benefit if you’re starting out on an empty tank. Water will also help fight off a pounding head the next morning and help to prevent post-party bloating.
The Power of Probiotics
If you’ve overindulged a little during festivities your gut might need some TLC. Excess alcohol and sugar can interfere with the balance of bacteria in the gut, leaving us with bloating, gas, constipation/diarrhoea and feeling sluggish. To help combat tummy upset, try adding probiotic-rich foods such as yoghurt, kefir, miso soup, as well as a regular probiotic supplement to your diet to restore healthy gut flora and ensure optimal digestion.
Practice Portion Control
If you’re heading to what undoubtedly will be a very overindulgent Christmas lunch or dinner with several courses involved, it’s time to exercise self-control! Pace yourself across each course and remember to listen to your body by putting your fork down when you’re 70% full, not when the plate is empty. If possible, eat something nutritious such as a piece of fruit or handful of nuts 1-2 hours before you arrive at the party to avoid being ravenous and eating everything in sight. The fruit will help kick-start your metabolism so your body can digest the food you plan on eating more comfortably. Trust me, your body will thank you the next day!
Alcohol depletes many essentials nutrients by irritating the lining of the stomach and intestines, therefore preventing proper absorption. It’s worth investing in a good quality multivitamin daily, and on days that alcohol is consumed take a second one at lunchtime. Vitamin B3 and zinc are especially important as they affect enzymes involved in alcohol digestion. [i], [ii], [iii]
Always speak to your healthcare professional when considering supplementation.
[i] Sauve AA. NAD+ and vitamin B3: From metabolism to therapies.J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2008;324(3):883-893
[ii] Caballería J, Giménez A, Andreu H. Zinc administration improves gastric alcohol dehydrogenase activity and first-pass metabolism of ethanol in alcohol-fed rats. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1997;21(9):1619-1622.
[iii] Das I, Burch RE, Hahn HK. Effects of zinc deficiency on ethanol metabolism and alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenase activities.. J Lab Clin Med 1984;104(4):610-617.