Year-end functions, office parties and the overload of festive events can play havoc with your waist line and your health. But who wants to be a party pooper during festive season?
Patrick Holford says that you don’t have to miss out on (most of) the fun by sticking rigidly to your diet which is sure to make you feel just as miserable as if you were over-doing it. He advises making and sticking to the “Five Habits” this festive season and cutting yourself a bit of slack on the diet front to ensure a happy and guilt free holiday time.
1) Drink eight glasses of water each day
Drinking eight glasses of water a day makes an enormous difference to how you feel – especially your energy levels and your mental clarity. Water helps to dilute toxins in the blood for elimination via the kidneys. You can add some lemon or ginger to hot water as both are great antioxidant detoxifiers which help to flush out toxins.
2) Eat the big five super-foods every day
Super-foods are foods that are packed with nutrients and antioxidants and are free from anything that may be harmful to your health including too much natural sugar.
Seeds of life
Seeds are jam-packed full of energy, protein and nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, zinc and selenium. This festive season keep a jar of Holford’s Essential Seed Mix – flax, sesame, sunflower and pumpkins seeds – which gives the perfect balance required daily. Simply add to your cereals, salads or have a handful as a snack whenever you can.
Go for greens
Add darker green vegetables to your plate during the festive season to maintain energy levels, avoid your skin looking tired and at the same time lower your risk of cancer. Be sure to get some of these each day – spinach, watercress, parsley, basil, broccoli, green peppers and avocado pears.
Vegetables whose leaves grow as a cross (cruciferous) enhance the liver’s capacity to detoxify – a vital function needed during the season of superfluous eating and drinking. Try to have a serving of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower or kale every day.
Sulphur so good
Onions, spring onions, garlic and shallots are excellent food sources of sulphur- containing amino acids which assist the liver with detoxing the body. Garlic is a natural antifungal agent and gut protector and keeps the digestive system tract free of unwanted fungi and yeast. Include a garlic clove, a small onion, shallots and springs onions to meals every day.
Super-fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants to support the liver, high in folic acid to support the detoxification process, high in zinc (vital for overall health and detoxification) and low in sugar. Drink a super-food juice or smoothie every day to ensure you are getting the best even when over-indulging in the worst! Try a combination of any of the following fruits and vegetables – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, watermelon, grapefruit, oranges, beetroot, carrots, apple, lime, ginger, cucumber and celery for a delicious, healthy drink.
3) Maximize your intake of anti-ageing antioxidants
Antioxidants are particularly important when not eating as healthily as you should. They disarm harmful oxidants. To “disarm” one French fry the body needs Vitamin E (from seeds and fish), co-enzyme Q10 (made mainly from the body), Vitamin C (from fruits and vegetables), glutathione (from onions and garlic), anthocyanidins (from berries) and some beta-carotene (from carrots and watercress) – now you can see why eating super-foods during the festive season is imperative!
4) Take detoxifying supplements
To assist your gut and to combat the host of “incorrect” foods and drinks consumed during the holidays, Holford recommends supplementing with digestive enzymes to assist with properly digesting all foods, probiotics to ensure the correct essential beneficial bacteria during times of gluttony are present and glutamine as a defence from toxins. Holford also suggests an all-round antioxidant or liver support formula.
5) Do detoxifying exercises every day
Exercise has a vital role to play in assisting the body to get rid of toxins – especially at times of excess. Any whole-body exercise is good for detoxification – brisk walking, jogging, swimming, yoga or Pilates are all great for this.