So it is that time of year when we normally overindulge in many things including anything sugary like chocolate, cake and to be honest most Christmas treats, alcoholic beverages, caffeine to keep us going after the Christmas parties and to top it all sleep is normally affected due to eating the wrong foods or partying until the early hours. This is not great when you have to get up for work the next day or sort the kids out before they go to school.
So we end up in a vicious cycle of wanting high energy foods and drinks to keep us going. I have also seen many people even taking antacids for stomach upsets or paracetamol for those hangover headaches. These work in the short term but have negative affects on the digestive system in the long run.
I am not going to tell you to stop enjoying your festive season but try and be mindful of how much you are eating and drinking so you don't make yourself ill in the New Year. Have a few nights off the alcohol if possible and eat foods high in nutrients such as fruit and vegetables and make sure you are drinking lots of water to keep hydrated and allow the liver to detoxify the toxins it is being bombarded with.
Why not start 2018 with a simple health goal, this does not have to be something extreme like going on a full detox. You could set yourself a small target depending on your circumstances, like losing a stone by Spring, or reducing the amount of alcohol your drink each week or the amount of caffeine you drink or even just to give yourself more time to enjoy the little things in life like walking in the woods, reading a book or taking up a new sport. These little steps can help prevent you getting an illness, improve your energy levels and other systems that may be out of balance like digestion. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is thought to affect about 1 in 5 people in the UK at some point in their lives, this can get worse at Christmas as we forget about being good and deal with the consequences. The symptoms of IBS can be managed through diet and stress management, so if you suffer from IBS, why not see a nutritionist in the New Year and work through the symptoms and try and find out the triggers. This can be different for different people, but we would always start by looking at the main culprit which is wheat and dairy. It is important to remove the triggers and allow the gut time to heal. This is just one body system, we have many that can be affected my our diet, environment and lifestyle.
Symptoms of your body being out of balance include:-
- Digestive issues
- Hormonal Imbalance - PCOS, Endometriosis, Fibroids, Infertility, PMS, Acne
- Low energy
- Low immune system
There are many more symptoms that I could list but generally you know if your body is not working to an optimum level. It is learning to tune into these feeling and doing something about it rather than thinking it is normal or managing it through medications rather than naturally. One way of starting a fresh is to do a 28 day cleanse and allow your body time to heal and correct itself or you can do a more tailored approach and seek nutritional guidance who will be like a body detective and figure out what systems are out of balance and how food can help. There is a famous saying by Hippocrates of Kos, also known as Hippocrates II, who is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine . He said "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food". This is so true and it amazes me each time I see a client come back for a follow up consultation, who has followed the nutritional plan and reporting back how much better they feel by removing certain foods and increasing others.
The body is an amazing machine and like all machines it needs to be looked after. Inside it works hard to keep you well and to allow you to keep going with your day to day tasks. So many processes work together, using up certain nutrients along the way. If you are deficient in a certain nutrient like magnesium, particular bodily functions will be affected. Magnesium is needed to maintain the integrity of ion pumps that control the flow of sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride and other salt components across the cell membranes. It is especially important in controlling calcium entry into heart cells to trigger a regular heartbeat. Magnesium also regulates the movement of calcium in and out of cells, so it is important for bone health. So you can see how crucial just one nutrient is to the body, just think what would happen if you were deficient in more nutrients. That is why the media and the health profession are always reporting on the importance of a good balanced diet.
Here are some simple things you can do to improve your health:-
- Reduce meat and dairy in your diet - this is highly inflammatory and can cause a long list of problems from digestive health to hormonal imbalances
- Increase your intake of fruit and vegetables to get as many nutrients as possible
- Keep hydrated, try and drink 6-8 glasses of water a day
- Increase your intake of oily fish, a great source of Omega 3 - anti-inflammatory
- Make sure you are eating enough fibre, this helps remove toxins from the body
- Give your liver a break after the festive period, try doing the 'dry January' and support it by eating lots of brassica vegetables (broccoli etc.), artichokes and if needed take some milk thistle. Please note if you are on medication you will need to seek professional help with liver support as too much can affect the absorption of medication.
- Decrease sugar - the list of problems is endless from inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, hormone imbalances and energy dips
- Decrease caffeine - affects our blood sugar control and also our adrenals who get very overstimulated which can lead to adrenal fatigue.
It really is best to seek a fully qualified nutritionist to help you on your road to a healthy 2018, if you would like to book an appointment please contact B Nutrition by clicking here or call on 07985 388342.
Super Liver Detox Smoothie Recipe
You can change the amounts and adapt it to your own taste:
- 2 beets, quartered
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 compressed cup of leafy greens
- A juice of ½ lemon
- A juice of ½ grapefruit
- 1 apple (with the skin), cored and sliced
- 1 cup berries
- 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
Put the ingredients in a blender, starting with the large chunks first (beets, apples and carrots). Then add the rest and pour water according to your desired consistency. Drink immediately to enjoy the most nutritional benefits.
Happy Christmas and a very Happy and Healthy New Year