Understanding Your Christmas Diet

Photo courtesy of eating well

Now that we've reached that festive time of year, the temptation to overindulge on food and drink can be stronger than ever - even for those of us who are committed to healthy eating throughout the rest of year. With a little understanding about nutrition,and an awareness of how food affects us all individually, you can take control of your body and avoid piling on those extra pounds!

Holiday overeating has been found to mess with the body's internal 'food clock', meaning that even if you just take a few days off from sensible nutrition you can end up with inconvenient food cravings well into the New Year. The biggest threat to your food clock is eating at unusual times of the day - so spending  all of Boxing Day grazing on cheese, biscuits and chocolates might not seem like such a good idea when December 27th rolls around!

(for educational products relating to food clocks, see here)

Of course, the health risks of indulgent eating and drinking can be much more uncomfortable. From bloating and indigestion to diarrhoea and even constipation, holiday symptoms can be very unpleasant for those affected. If you want to avoid these common complaints, there are a few very simple steps to keep in mind.

Avoiding dietary complaints at Christmas

  • Don't be too quick to dive in for a second helping. Waiting 20 minutes after your first serving can help you judge whether or not you really need to try for more.
  • Avoid especially rich foods if you want to keep indigestion and other digestion complaints at bay.
  • Take a brisk walk after lunch, and keep your diet topped up with fruit and veg to make sure that your bowels continue working as they should.

Consistently overeating can leave you with some serious health concerns. Your kidneys, liver, stomach and other organs can start to malfunction if you are giving them more work than they can handle, and you can find yourself with health complaints such as acid reflux, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. All this, as well as the inevitable weight gain.

This doesn't mean that you have to avoid your Christmas favourites all together - just play it sensible and you'll thank yourself for it later. Eating breakfast on Christmas Day rather than saving yourself for the big dinner can stop you wanting to go for second (or third!) helpings, and plenty of healthy Christmas dinner options can be found online. Even better news is that many experts suggest that rather than denying yourself your favourite foods, you'll probably end up eating less overall if you eat the food you love in moderation and make sure you balance it out with plenty of filling, non-starchy vegetables.

However you choose to celebrate we hope you have a happy - and healthy - Christmas 

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