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The GPnutrition; Maintaining Balance over the Festive Season

December 17th, 2014 | Health, Lifestyle, Nutrition

The festive season is full of excess and can become a time when both mind and body can shift out of balance. Work leaves us stressed, family leaves us fraught and the parties begin to take their toll. Here are some common causes of imbalance and dietary and nutritional suggestions.

Support your liver, skin and state of mind:

  • Increase alkaline foods which include fresh fruit and vegetables, especially plenty of leafy greens. Try adding spinach to your smoothies; make wraps with lettuce or snack on kale chips.
  • Ditch acidic foods such as wheat, white flour, pastries, ice cream, beer and sugar.
  • Hydrate, especially if you have had one too many alcoholic drinks. Water is invaluable for flushing toxins out of the body, promoting proper waste metabolism, circulation and pH balance. Include cold pressed vegetable juices, herbal teas and hot water infused with fresh lemon.

Supplements:

  • Milk thistle which has silymarin and silybin antioxidants that help protect your liver from toxins and the effects of alcohol.
  • Glutathione is shown to reduce the acetaldehyde toxicity that causes hangover symptoms. Include an array of raw fresh, organic fruit and vegetables.

Sleep deprivation sends hormones and metabolic processes into a spin. Bring back the balance by trying the following:

  • Sleep deprivation has been shown to lower levels of leptin ­ the appetite suppressing hormone while increasing hunger, leaving us with a tendency to reach for carbohydrate dense, sweet and salty foods. Banish this by keeping your blood sugar balanced. That includes complex starchy carbohydrates (such as whole grains, oats and bran) with good quality protein (lean meat, fish, eggs or beans) at every meal and snack.
  • Avoid caffeine, artificial sweeteners and limit junk food. Don’t grab for that diet coke and bag of chips, instead snack on herbal tea, nuts and fresh sliced fruits or veggies.

Supplements:

  • Magnesium is considered an anti­stress mineral, working to calm the nerves and relax the muscles which can help with sleep. Increase consumption of magnesium rich leafy greens, whole grain cereals, soybeans, nuts and seafood.
  • B vitamins are good for effective energy production, improved mood and stress relief, preferably with added vitamin C and zinc for immune support.

Nourish your body by cutting back on refined sugar:

  • Soluble fibre, like that found in cucumbers and blueberries, dissolves into a gel­like texture, helping to slow down digestion, helping with weight control.
  • Consume some fermented vegetables. They are potent detoxifiers and contain much higher levels of probiotics than probiotic supplements, making them ideal for optimising your gut flora.
  • Chew thoroughly. Eating your food slowly will help you lose weight, enjoy the taste, reduce stress and improve digestion.

Supplements:

  • Include green juices. Juicing allows you to absorb all the nutrients from vegetables and makes it easy to add a variety of vegetables to your diet. If you are fixed on losing a few pounds, consider replacing one meal a day with a green smoothie.
  • Probiotics can help if you experience digestive discomfort such as bloating or constipation.

Gabriela and team

We welcome your feedback and hope you will find this guide informative and useful.

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