Tips For A Happy And Healthy Christmas

Debbie Cotton, Naturopath and Lecturer for the College of Naturopathic Medicine gives us some tips on how to have a joyful and healthy festive period.

1. Make sure you look good for all the Christmas parties – cleanse your skin

Water & Nettle Tea

Drink as much water as you can before and during the festive season. The more you can help
the kidneys to cleanse toxins, the less work your skin has to do, so the more glowing you will
look!
Nettle tea can help too. A few cups of this a day will assist your skin to clear.
Try to avoid saturated fats, too many sugars and the over-indulgence with alcohol, as these all
contribute to grey or blemished skin.
Include foods with lots of anti-oxidants into your diet. Orange, red and yellow vegetables,
berries and green tea are all great choices to help with that lovely Christmas glow!

2. How to avoid getting flu or colds over the festive season – and what to do if you do get run-down

Christmas tends to be a period of over-indulgence and under-nourishment. We work hard and
play hard, which in turn leads to a burnt-out immune system. Our bodies become more
susceptible to colds due to the extra stresses that we put on them.
Sleep
Try to get as much sleep as possible. During the festive months we seem to lose our normal

patterns. Avoid coffee to overcome the problem, as this will only make things worse. A run-
down, tired body is always more susceptible to colds and flu.

Vitamin C boost

Eat foods that are high in Vitamin C; citrus fruit, berries, orange, red and green vegetables
will help to keep your immunity high.

Echinacea

Echinacea is a fantastic herb for killing and avoiding a cold. Taken when you are well, it will
help to raise the immune system to hopefully stave off the winter bugs. If you do get a cold,
taken in a slightly higher dose, it will help the cold to run its short course, and stop it from
becoming chronic. The trick with Echinacea is to get the best quality available. If you are
unsure, you can always ask your naturopath or Wild Oats advisor.

3. How to avoid the hangover and how to cure it

Good food first

Try and eat before you start drinking. A meal that contains protein and good fats will help to
slow down the absorption of alcohol and the nasty effects that can occur from getting drunk
too quickly.

Water too

Don’t dehydrate yourself. For every alcoholic drink, have a glass of water alongside it. The
major cause of a hangover is purely the fact that your body is dehydrated, so aim to drink at
least 2 litres of water the next day as well.

Nutrient boost

Replace nutrients that alcohol washes away! Lack of these nutrients contributes to the
hangover sensation you may feel the next morning. Magnesium and B vitamins are usually
first to go. Taking a good multi-vitamin the night before and the morning after will keep that
listless feeling at bay.

Secret Weapon

A Naturopath’s secret herb to try and stay sober or to clean up in the morning is milk thistle
(Silybum marianum). A good quality tincture can do the trick to really ward off the
symptoms of a hangover

4. Eat well and be happy with festive food

We often spend Christmas eating more than we usually do. If you choose your foods
carefully, you don’t have to suffer for the next few weeks with symptoms of over-indulgence!

It’s all in the turkey…

There is a lot to be said about turkey! It’s a great source of protein, but it’s also a fantastic
source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is the precursor to the feel-good chemical
serotonin in our brain. Isn’t it amazing that it’s the food of choice on such a feel good day?
When choosing a turkey, try to pay that bit extra for free-range or organic, so that you know
that you are getting all of the benefits without any of the nasty additives as well.

Christmas nibbles

If you are preparing nibbles, add in lots of cut up vegetables to go alongside your hummus or
home-made avocado dip. Aside from being delicious and nutritious, eating more of them
helps to cut down on the amount of crisps or sweets that you consume.
Good quality olives are high in essential fatty acids, so they can be another beneficial
addition to your nibble plate.

Care for yourself with good quality food; have your fridge stocked with great vegetables,
good fats such as avocados, olives and fish and good quality proteins, such as organic eggs,
nuts and seeds, lentils or beans. That way you don’t have to move far from the couch to the
fridge to combat the next day munchies.

5. What to do if you do over-indulge on Christmas Day – tips to aid digestion

Ok, we’ve all done it, we’ve overindulged and we feel terrible afterwards. There are a few
things we can do to overcome this.

A little exercise

Try going for a brief walk. This will help to get everything moving so that you can make
some space in the digestive system.

Add some fruit

Try adding some lemon to your water. The bitterness and the slight acidity will help to
support digestion of the excess food!
Pineapple and papaya are high in enzymes that support digestion. Serve them as after-dinner
fruits to try and break down the excess.



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