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How to stay healthy during the Festive Season

How to stay healthy during the Festive Season

So we are heading into the festive season. And sometimes it can be the season of over eating and over drinking and feeling bloated, sore and nauseous.

However food should be a positive and enjoyable aspect of life, and during the festive season you need to consider that food is more than the nutrients it contains. Food plays an important role in sharing and togetherness.

So this year, I suggest savouring and being selective and mindful, rather than gorging and feeling like you ate way too much!

How much can you eat before you experience that over filled sensation?

The adult human stomach can comfortably hold about 1 litre of food and drink. Anymore than that and you will feel that uncomfortable feeling. It can however stretch to hold up to 4 litres of food and drink at which point you will feel uncomfortable.

That uncomfortable feeling is the stomach pressing on other organs in your abdominal area such as the liver, gall bladder, lungs and diaphragm.

So what is the trick to try and avoid overeating?

1. Sit down, relax and take your time when you eat.

• Start the meal by really taking the time to smell and look at your food. This gets those digestive juices flowing and the body ready to receive the delicious meal.

• Sitting and relaxing while eating is vital to ensure that all of your body’s energy is focused on digestion. Try to remain seated for at least 10 minutes after finishing your meal.

• For every mouth full chew your food about 30 times as this will ensure adequate secretion of digestive enzymes and therefore adequate breakdown of food for absorption. It takes approximately 20 minutes for our brains to receive the signal of satisfaction during a meal, so chew your food slowly!

2. What should you choose to eat?

• Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, carrot, asparagus, salad, mushrooms, cauliflower and zucchini. These vegetables are low in calories, high in nutrition and will fill you up. Choose a protein, such as turkey, chicken etc and keep the size of the portion to a quarter of the plate and choose skin-free options. If you feel like some potatoes, corn, other starchy vegetables or some carbohydrates then keep the portion size to a maximum of quarter of the plate.

3. Avoid drinking with meals.

• Drinking with meals waters down stomach acid and decreases absorption and breakdown of foods. Avoid black tea, coffee, alcohol and carbonated beverages they interfere with digestion and are full of empty calories.

4. To boost your digestion!

• Drinking teas at the end of your meal like ginger, fennel, chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm and lemon juice and apple cider vinegar can improve your digestion, create warmth in your gut and help with your digestive symptoms.

So, take some of my tips on board and enjoy this festive season and Christmas. Eating should be a pleasurable part of your life and not full of guilt.

Nicole Haak is an experienced Naturopath. Her area of interest includes men and women's fertility, hormonal imbalances and getting her patients to optimal health. To find out more book a free 10 minute phone chat with Nikki or book your appointment today by calling on 1300 21 44 25.


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