Friday, December 21, 2012

Indulge this Christmas Without all of the Guilt!

        
Ever wonder how you can keep your health during the festive season, without staying at home alone? Holidays are just around the corner and there will be lots of opportunity and temptation at every turn. Let’s face it; with delicious food, fabulous wine and great company, your healthy lifestyle may take the backseat as we drive into the new year. It’s okay to occasionally give in during the festive season, so long as you learn how to compensate for unhealthy choices.

Leading Sydney naturopath Victoria O’Sullivan says, “It’s hard to stay on track during the holidays. If you fall off the wagon, don’t despair. Guide your food choices with the 90/10 rule, where 90 per cent of your diet is focused on high quality nutritionally dense foods and 10 per cent is reserved for treats.”

Victoria’s top tips to maintaining your health:

1. Reduce your intake of pro-inflammatory foods: All forms of sugar and most starchy foods are pro-inflammatory. So steer clear of sweets, pastries, biscuits, milky chocolates, chips, breads and snack foods, including rice and corn cakes. 

2. Up your intake of blueberries, garlic and spices. Antioxidants are anti-inflammatory. Berries of all types, but particularly blueberries are delicious antioxidant super food. Spices such as cinnamon and turmeric are also super foods, as with garlic, onions and horseradish. These foods contain high concentrations of cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Lower amounts are also found in whole grains, other vegetables and beans.

3. Add more leafy greens in your diet. Foods with a high alkaline content, such as avocados, leafy greens, soya beans, radish and broccoli work to help regulate the pH of our blood cells. When we eat too much acid the body is forced to draw on its alkaline stores to balance the surplus acid. The acid then creates nasty things like yeast, harmful microforms, mycotoxins and bacteria.

4. Control your cortisol levels. In today’s lifestyle stress can be almost a daily occurrence for some, especially during the holidays. When we feel stressed our nervous system is affected and we can have trouble sleeping. Over time in periods of high stress and little sleep our body becomes less sensitive to cortisol and inflammation takes over. Try and get eight hours of undisturbed sleep each night and take up activities that reduce stress.

5. Control your weight. People carrying excess weight are in a permanent state of inflammation. Research shows that fat isn’t just the storage of excess energy that body has not used. Instead when not maintained at an ideal level, fat functions like an endocrine organ releasing hormones into the system prompting an inflammatory response. 

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