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  • Isobel Austin-Little

TIPS FOR KEEPING HEALTHY THIS CHRISTMAS

December is here and the festivities are brewing...I can almost smell the mince pies and mulled wine. There are so many wonderful things about this time of year, celebrations with friends and family, delicious food and endless festive spices! It can also be the time of year where vitamin D levels drop and our immune systems feel the pressure from burning the candle at both ends. There is nothing worse than hitting the out of office button on Christmas Eve and then finding yourself bed-bound amongst the festivities. With that in mind, here are a few tips to keep you fighting fit this December.



START YOUR DAY WITH PROTEIN AND HEALTHY FATS

Whether you are heading out for celebrations or recovering from the night before, a nutrient-rich breakfast should be on the menu! Starting your day with lean protein sources such as eggs, or porridge as well as healthy fats from nuts, seeds or avocados, will fuel your energy throughout the day as well as increase satiety. As a result you are more likely to make healthier food choices, and avoid unhealthy snacking.


VEG OUT IN THE DAY

Pack in those antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to support the body by eating a variety of different types of vegetables and fruits. Berries are my go-to at this time of year, they pack a nutritious punch, and they jazz up any breakfast or snack. Stews and soups packed with all different types of veg are such a wonderful way to get in all the goodness. Make friends with a slow cooker, or just saute and whizz up any leftover veg with spices and herbs. There is nothing better than a mug of warming goodness when its cold outside.


GET IN YOUR 7-9 HOURS

On those nights when you're not singing Christmas carols from the rooftops, hit the sack in good time. You will feel better for it!


MAINTAIN YOUR FITNESS

Whether you jump on your yoga mat for 15 minutes, walk to work rather than taking public transport or take the stairs over the lift, carving 15 minutes of exercise into your day will positively impact your mind and body.


GET SAVVY WITH ALCOHOL CHOICES

Limit those cocktails ladened with refined sugar, your head will thank you for it the next day (as will your liver). Better alternatives are fresh lemon/lime, soda and vodka/tequila, or a glass of red. When you're not out and about, try and give the body a day off from the booze. If you are looking for alcohol-free choices then my go-to brands are Seedlip, Gimber, Feragaia, Cedars, they all taste delicious with sparking or soda water and lemon. I love adding fresh herbs like rosemary and coriander, or spices like ginger to them for that extra kick.


STAY HYDRATED

Make sure to be including your six-eight glasses of water a day. Herbal teas are a great way to top up these levels, but caffeine found in tea and coffee, like alcohol, can have a diuretic effect on the body, resulting in dehydration and unwanted side effects such as headaches. I always drink a large glass on waking and keep a jug or bottle at my work desk.


SUPPLEMENTS

Across the winter months, when our immune systems are working that little bit harder, a good multivitamin to cover all your bases, as well as additional vitamin C and D is a good safety measure. I always get my clients to check their vitamin D levels ahead of supplementing, as the appropriate supplementation will vary depending on your levels. Your GP will be able to check your levels, alternatively, there are only testing platforms such as Medichecks, that offer the vitamin D (25 OH) Blood Test. There has been so much research carried out on this vitamin and its essential role in the body. From immune health to gut health and fertility as well as the maturation of the fetus in utero. We simply cannot get enough from the sun or food sources alone and supplementation is essential and recommended by Public Health England, especially across the winter months. Quality and potency is important when choosing a brand.

My main message comes down to balance. It is so important that we all let go and enjoy ourselves, especially after all the madness that has come with the last two years. Having drinks with friends, indulging in sweet treats and partying the night away is all good in moderation, and when it’s sandwiched with good nutrition, adequate sleep, exercise and hydration. If we look after our bodies and our immune system, it will look after us.



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