As we all know it is now cool to be kind, so ditch the chocolate advent calendar (they’re so 2018) and be kinder to yourself. Our experts have provided their top health tips to give your day a healthy, educational and optimistic boost in the count down to Christmas!
Day 1: Instagram it!
“Researchers suggest that taking a photograph of food just before you eat, concentrates the mind to eat not only healthier foods but also less of it,” explains Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading Nutritionist and author of Natural Health Bible for Women (www.marilynglenville.com).
Day 2: Feeling the bloat already?
“People with gut issues suffer from a wide array of symptoms, from cramping and pain to bloating and gas or strong food intolerances. Looking at gut inflammation and at improving gut environment to promote healthy flora is key for long-lasting results. GI natural powder (£33.75, www.naturesplus.co.uk) is a product that looks at balancing gut mucosal function,” explains Nutritionist at Natures Plus, Martina Della Vedova.
Day 3: Feeling hotter than the stove on Christmas day?
There is enough pressure hosting for 15 guests; the last thing you want is hot flush after hot flush. If you’re going through the change “certain foods and situations can trigger some hot flushes and these can include spicy foods, caffeinated drinks, alcohol and stressful situations,” explains Dr Marilyn Glenville.
Day 4: Stressmass is a thing!
Join the hemp hype and harmonise your mind and body with the Natures Plus HempCeutix Complete capsules (£39.95, www.naturesplus.co.uk). These capsules contain phytocannabinoids that “interact with our nervous system, brain and immune system by helping to increase the activity of natural chemicals produced in our own body known as endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids have effects on many systems and processes in our body, including digestion and appetite, mood, stress response and our immune system,” explains Nutritionist Cassandra Barns.
Day 5: Hoping 2019 is the start of your family tree?
“Sperm production takes place at 32°C, which is lower than the body temperature at 37°C. The testes are on the outside of a man’s body to keep them cooler. As they get closer to the body (e.g. by sitting for long periods when driving or cycling) the sperm heats up which may reduce the count,” explains Dr. Glenville.
Day 6: Bad breath not caused by the stuffing?
“Having undiagnosed diabetes can cause a serious complication known as ketoacidosis in which you would have an acetone like smell on the breath. If you have type 2 diabetes and develop bad breath, this could be a sign of poor glucose control. Improving glucose levels through diet, lifestyle, a herbal Ayurvedic medicine such as Curalin (£59.00, www.curalife.co) or, if indicated, prescribed medication, can help,” explains Dr. Sarah Brewer, working in association with CuraLin Diabetes Supplement.
Day 7: You can’t be here, there and everywhere!
“Being assertive is invigorating and empowering. It also helps to make lists of what is, or is not a priority, and to tackle the priority tasks first. This will help give you a sense of control over your life,” says Dr Marilyn Glenville.
Day 8: Need a break before getting boozy again?
“Whilst alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, portion control can sometimes be difficult, particularly during the festive season. Most bars and restaurants now only serve wine in large glasses, which means we inevitably drink more. One small glass of wine may come with only 95 kcal, whilst a large glass often comes with 214 kcal! On the other hand Christmas cocktails can be extremely high in sugar and can come with as much as 500 kcal per drink. Make spritzers. Ask for tonic water and add to your wine to make a spritzer. This will dilute the alcohol content and will help you to consume less, ” explains Leading London Nutritionist Lily Soutter(www.lilysoutternutrition.com.).
Day 9: Pull that Christmas cracker and share the joke!
Having a laugh is one of the best remedies for stress and low mood – it triggers healthy changes in our body. “Many studies show that laughter boosts our energy, decreases stress hormones, improves immunity and diminishes pain. But what’s very important for anyone, who is stressed or feeling down, is that laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the natural feel-good chemicals that make us happier and relaxed,” explains Marilyn.
Day 10: Opt for dark chocolate goodies!
Christmas is filled with over indulging so why not pick up the perfect bar – raw, organic cacao and unrefined coconut sugar Ombar (RRP £1.99, 35g, Waitrose) is packed full of goodness and deliciousness.
Day 11: Everything doesn’t have to be perfect
If the thought of cooking and pleasing everyone on the day is giving you anxiety, consider a CBD oil. “The cannabinoid receptors targeted are the same receptors that anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications target but without the side effects,” explains Alix Woods. Using an oil means drops pass directly through the mucous membranes of the mouth, allowing direct circulation into the blood stream and the effect is almost immediate. Try dispensing a controlled amount of CannabiGold classic 500MG CBD oil (£29.90, Planet Organic) directly under your tongue. This oil is the perfect strength if you are new to the CBD world!
Day 12: Try to avoid eating everything in sight
If you’re looking to beat the Christmas bloat then “Mindful eating can be a great first step for helping to improve digestive health, focus on chewing thoroughly, eat slowly, and eat away from distractions such as your laptop, TV and phone,” advises Lily Soutter.
Day 13: Looking to set the mood as the snow falls?
“If you feel you haven’t got time for romance, make time. Give it a higher priority in your life. However busy or stressful your life gets, try to make sure that you have some ‘couple time’ where you can unwind together and talk about your day. And plan regular meals out, cinema trips or weekend breaks so that the two of you get some special time together away from the hustle and bustle of your daily life,” explains Dr. Marilyn Glenvi
Day 14: Help combat Sugar spikes this holiday season
Did you know that “Ginger helps regulate insulin and the breakdown of carbohydrates (glucose) and fats which helps to maintain blood sugar levels and energy,” explains Alix Woods.
Day 15: Always go back for more parsnips
“They are tuberous root vegetables with a number of essential vitamins and minerals. They contain significant potassium which maintain heart health and the fibre content keeps digestion optimised, staving off constipation and even encourages weight loss,” explains Nutritionist, Alix Woods.
Day 16: Remember to make time for SLEEP
If you’re laying in bed thinking about the numerous presents you still need to get as well as the food shop and the outfits for each occasion then you could try adding a magnesium supplement such as KalmAssure Magnesium capsules by Natures Plus (£11.75, www.naturesplus.co.uk). Cassandra explains, “Magnesium is known as ‘nature’s tranquiliser’ and is needed to relax our muscles and nerves, which helps us to fall into a peaceful sleep.”
Day 17: Make sure water accompanies your Prosecco
“Drink at least one and a half litres of water every day to support healthy detoxification. Try to have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink too: it can slow down your drinking and help prevent overeating. And your body will definitely thank you the next day!” explains Cassandra Barns.
Day 18: ONE WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS
Looking for that last energy push to get you through the final week at work? Try having Nairn’s Organic Super Seeded Oatcakes with avo for breakfast (www.nairns-oatcakes.com). Cassandra explains, “oats are great to incorporate into your diet as they are a natural source of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B1 and magnesium, which amongst other benefits are vital for energy.”
Day 19: If the nutcracker isn’t already out, get it out!
“Nuts are a popular Christmas snack that, as well as being nice, are also good for you and help to lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure control and can have beneficial effects on glucose control,” explains Dr. Sarah Brewer, working in association with CuraLin Diabetes Supplement.
Day 20: Looking to glow this Christmas and beyond?
Specifically formulated for health, radiance and beauty by leading UK nutritionist and women’s health expert, Dr Marilyn Glenville. The NHP Hair, Skin and Nail support (www.naturalheealthpractice.com £29.77) combines a special formulation of carefully chosen nutrients for women including antioxidants like vitamin C and E, grapeseed extract, selenium and zinc, which help to slow down the ageing process. It also includes other nutrients like biotin for maintaining healthy hair and skin, and vitamin B12 for healthy cell growth.
Day 21: Slow down
“When you eat slowly you are less likely to overeat. Once you start eating it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full. So, if you eat slowly you will end up eating less food because your brain will tell you that you have had enough. If you eat quickly, you can consume a lot more food than you actually need before your brain realises,” advises Dr Glenville.
Day 22: Overdone it at the Christmas party?
Give your liver a detox – “The liver is responsible for processing and breaking down about 95% of the alcohol we consume. So to help your liver do this – and to get rid of chemicals such as acetaldehyde – try to include foods that promote healthy liver function, both before and the day after drinking. Protein-rich foods are one of the food groups in this category, as proteins break down into amino acids that are used by the liver for detoxification. Particularly important is the amino acid cysteine, which has a specific role in acetaldehyde breakdown: as well as in protein-rich foods it can be found in ‘cruciferous’ vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and cabbage,” explains Cassandra.
Top Tip: For a ‘cruciferous’ rich option try itsu’s No Meat Mondays’ bento box (RRP £7.99, available nationwide).
Day 23: The perfect little Christmas tree
Make sure Broccoli is on the Christmas dinner menu, “there are a few main types, Calabrese and Sprouting. Broccoli is brimming with vitamins, minerals and fibre. Steam or eat raw for maximum nutrition. They’re rich in antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which helps prevent cell damage in eyes and body tissues,” explains Alix Woods.
Day 24: Exercise to beat the cravings
You’re going to be eating a hell of a lot tomorrow, why not get in your last exercise kick before the big day! Cassandra Barns explains, “Exercising is an appetite suppressant. It stimulates the release of feel good hormones – the same ones, which are released by sweet or ‘junk’ foods, stopping the need for the food you are craving.”