December is a time for parties, work functions, social and sports group end-of-year celebrations and catchups with family and friends. It can be an overwhelming time for our bodies and minds.
Our digestive system and our brain are affected by the abundance of alcohol and sweet, rich foods that may not regularly be a part of our diet. With the weather in Australia reaching record highs this year as well, many of us may be dealing with hangovers or just general fatigue and brain fog while trying to navigate this hot, busy, festive season.
When our digestive systems are struggling, we can suffer from a wide range of symptoms; from abdominal pain and swelling, fatigue, irritability and loss of focus, coated tongue, itchy skin and breakouts, not to mention extra kilos that we will need to shift later.
Fortunately, another feature of this season is the beautiful abundance of fresh food available to help our bodies counteract the effects of all the celebrations. Lots of these foods have strong medicinal effects and can help us recover quickly from overindulgence and protect our immunity and sense of clarity.
Look for these foods in your markets and add them to your festive feast!
Bananas are high in potassium, one of the electrolytes that is depleted when you drink alcohol. It also contains healthy starches to support good bacteria in the gut, helping with digestion.
Eggs provide valuable cysteine which your body uses to produce glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant that helps your body break down the toxic metabolites of alcohol.
Watermelon contains high levels of L-citrulline, this helps increase blood flow and reduces headache associated with dehydration. The high water levels of watermelon can also help you replace lost fluids and ease the pain of a hangover.
The fructose in honey may help your body get rid of alcohol up to 30% faster.
Half a cup of Almonds contains about 50% of your magnesium requirements for the day. Magnesium is an important mineral that easily gets depleted when you drink alcohol. Replacing it will help you feel better, as anyone who has felt the effects of a magnesium bath will confirm.
Green Tea has been shown to hasten the rate at which alcohol is cleared from your system.
Ginger is well known for its anti-nausea effects, helping to settle your stomach and ease indigestion.
The healthy essential fatty acids in avocado help calm your nervous system, relieving some of that frazzled feeling we get from rushing around.
Drinking alcohol increases inflammatory compounds in your blood, so the anti-inflammatory effects of blueberries make these the perfect addition to festive sweets and desserts.
All of these foods are tasty and will help you maintain your glow over the season but it’s good to remember that the simple things are the most important. Water, rest, sunshine (in moderation), exercise and time to reflect will all help you and your family to make the most of this time.