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Health Newsletter

How keep your silly season merry and bright

Posted by Diana Boot, Pharmacist & Nutritionist on

As Santa packs his sleigh and the big day fast approaches, it’s important to make sure some plans are in place to ensure we get through the Christmas season unscathed and healthy.

With so many things to think about – make a list….and check it twice! Writing down lists for gifts, food preparation and timings really takes the load off. It also helps us delegate – ask for help and get everyone involved.

Try to prioritise selfcare

It can be hard to look after yourself when life gets hectic. But this is the time when you need to the most, particularly if you’re the one planning, cooking, buying, wrapping and organising! Take 10 minutes out of each day to read, take a bath with some essential oils, get a massage or squeeze in a yoga class. Do something for you that makes you smile.

Eating and drinking

It’s so easy at Christmas to over indulge with food and alcohol. All of those yummy nibbles, bubbles and festive food can be hard to resist but make an effort. If you are wanting to take care of yourself then at least try to make it a rule to decline every second nibble, and go small on your portion sizes.

If you choose to drink alcohol then have a glass of water in between every glass and drink slowly. Alcohol is one of the major causes of dehydration. We lose fluid and important electrolytes such as magnesium and potassium when our body processes alcohol. Many common hangover symptoms – including headache, dry mouth and feeling very thirsty – are partially caused by dehydration. The best way to combat dehydration is to drink plenty of water between your bubbles and have an electrolyte drink before you go to bed. 

Also, never drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Always eat something nutritious before you have that first alcoholic drink, this will slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. Go for healthy snacks such as dips with crackers and breads, olives, nuts and grilled seafood or other good protein sources.

Supporting your body and detoxing your liver

  • B vitamins - your body uses up a lot of nutrients when dealing with alcohol, especially B vitamins. Some of the richest sources of B vitamins include wholegrains, legumes, avocado, nuts, seeds and red meat. You might also benefit from taking a daily B complex supplement 
  • Think (merry and) bright : When drinking alcohol there is an increase in free radicals, resulting in damage to cells in the body. Antioxidant intake is the best way to combat this. Try increasing vitamin C, berries, guava, rose-hip tea and parsley, as some powerful antioxidants. Other rich sources of antioxidants include berries such as acai berries and blueberries, green and white tea, tomatoes and other red and orange fruits and vegetables. Think bright!
  • St Mary’s thistle: This herb is thought to help protect liver cells from alcohol-induced damage and enhances liver detoxification, helping to remove toxins from the body. Take  St Mary’s thistle tablets daily over the party season. 
  • Chlorella has been shown to help remove toxic substances from the body.Chlorella may also help reduce hangover symptoms
  • Take a multivitamin: as well as B vitamins, alcohol depletes the body of important nutrients such as vitamin C, magnesium and zinc. Take a good-quality multivitamin every day to help replenish your body’s stocks of these essential vitamins and minerals and to protect your general health 
  • Eat garlic: Garlic contains an amino acid called S-acetyl-cysteine, which neutralises acetaldehyde, a highly reactive by-product of alcohol metabolism 
  • Take a probiotic: eat lots of probiotic-rich foods such as yoghurt and miso or take a  probiotic supplement daily. This will help boost good bacteria in your gut and intestines which can get very disrupted when you drink too much alcohol or eat lots of rich food

Most importantly – keep smiling! For further advice and personalised input on the best ways to support yourself through the Christmas season contact one of experts at the Natural Chemist Tel: 1300 882 303


References:

Braun L and Cohen M, 2010. Herbs & Natural Supplements – An evidenced-based guide, 3 rdEdn, Churchill Livingstone, Sydney

Hechtman L, 2014. Clinical Naturopathic Medicine. Churchill Livingstone, Sydney

Osiecki H, 2014, The Nutrient Bible. 9th Edn, Bio Concepts Publishing, QLD

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