Women

Your Festive Survival Plan (Part 1)

- 7 Kinds Of Fruit That Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Eat
- How to have natural miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy

It may still be a few weeks away, but getting on top of your wellbeing now will ensure you enjoy the party season to the full and stay healthy all the way through until new year

At this time of year, the pressure’s on to look and feel your best. Yes, you want to dazzle at all the parties and look stunning in your sequinned frock – but you also want to feel your best, fizzing with energy and vitality to help you keep going through all the late nights and Christmas shopping, avoiding the bugs that do the rounds at this time of year.

Boost your skin with product containing vitamins A, C and E

Boost your skin with product containing vitamins A, C and E

Yet it’s not easy to stay on top form during the festive season. Late nights, stress and hefty servings of sugary, fatty food, washed down with copious amounts of wine, can all take a toll on your body, leaving you tired, bloated and more susceptible to colds and ’flu. And that in turn can affect your appearance. For example, if you’re acne prone, you’re more likely to experience flare-ups. And nobody looks their best if they’ve skimped on sleep. However, priming your body beforehand can help ensure you stay at your peak, battle the bugs and make the most of Christmas. Start now and sail through the festivities with our expert health advice.

Start Preparing Now

1.    Pretox!

A couple of weeks of healthy eating can help prepare your body so it’s ready for the onslaught of Christmas pudding, roast potatoes and booze. ‘Choose a combination of protein and complex carbohydrates, avoid sugary, fatty foods and eat little and often,’ says nutrition consultant Ian Marber. For example, start your day with poached eggs on rye bread, for lunch try a wholemeal pitta stuffed with houmous and salad, then choose lean meat or fish with steamed vegetables for dinner. In between meals, choose some balancing snacks, such as an apple with a handful of seeds, cottage cheese with oatcakes or a plain yoghurt with some dried cranberries and flaked almonds. ‘You’ll be taking in good levels of nutrients, important for energy and immunity,’ says Marber. He also recommends hydrating with water and herbal teas – fennel and nettle are good detoxifying choices. Should you go alcoholfree for a few weeks before Christmas? Not necessarily – the enzymes that break down alcohol are produced when you drink, so abstaining could actually lower your tolerance. Our advice is to keep alcohol to a minimum. At this stage, stick to a maximum of one or two alcoholic drinks each day, with three alcohol-free days each week.

A couple of weeks of healthy eating can help prepare your body so it’s ready for the onslaught of Christmas pudding, roast potatoes and booze.

A couple of weeks of healthy eating can help prepare your body so it’s ready for the onslaught of Christmas pudding, roast potatoes and booze.

2.    Boost your sleep bank

Stock up on good sleep now – it could cut your risk of catching Christmas bugs. Research from Carnegie Mellon University, US, shows sleeping for less than seven hours a night affects your immunity and raises your risk of a cold. And sleeping well may help you stick to your pre-Christmas healthy eating regime. ‘Poor sleep increases levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, and lowers levels of leptin, linked with feelings of satiety,’ explains Dr Russell Foster, chair of circadian neuroscience at Oxford University. ‘It can also affect your mood, making you more likely to feel anxious or low.’

Prioritise sleep – try to get into a routine of going to bed and rising at the same time each day. ‘If possible, get some daylight first thing in the morning, as this helps to “set” your body clock,’ says Foster – this will help to ensure you have the energy you need through the day and feel tired when it’s time to go to bed. Take half an hour to wind down before sleep – switch off the telly, put on the radio, read a book and have a warm bath to help you relax enough to nod off.

3.    Supercharge your immune system

Good sleep and food are your immunity building blocks, but a little fine tuning will help keep you fighting fit. A US review of studies found taking echinacea alongside vitamin C reduced cold incidence by 86 per cent, so adding a daily supplement to your diet will provide a little extra boost to keep you fighting fit. Try A Vogel Echinaforce ($26.5 for 100ml; hollandand barrett.co.uk). Vitamin D also has a role to play in immunity – studies have shown it’s crucial in activating our defences to fight off infections. Try Emergen-C Vitamin D and Calcium ($27.5 for 30 sachets; nutritioncentre.co.uk) and for all-round support, try Vitabiotics Immunace Extra ($16 for 30 tabs; vitabiotics.com).

Try A Vogel Echinaforce ($26.5 for 100ml; hollandand barrett.co.uk).

Try A Vogel Echinaforce ($26.5 for 100ml; hollandand barrett.co.uk).

Emergen-C Vitamin D and Calcium ($27.5 for 30 sachets; nutritioncentre.co.uk)

Emergen-C Vitamin D and Calcium ($27.5 for 30 sachets; nutritioncentre.co.uk)

Vitabiotics Immunace Extra ($16 for 30 tabs; vitabiotics.com).

Vitabiotics Immunace Extra ($16 for 30 tabs; vitabiotics.com).

4.    Prep your looks

Infuse your skin with antioxidants for a clear, glowing complexion. ‘Vitamins A, C and E help fight the free radicals linked with inflammation and ageing, so can help improve acne, rosacea, wrinkles and pigmentation,’ explains Margo Marrone, founder of The Organic Pharmacy. In the morning, smooth on a vitamin C serum, such as Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate ($16 for 50ml; kiehls.co.uk). Allow it to soak in, then follow with a vitamin-packed face cream such as The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Face Cream ($64 for 50ml; theorganicpharmacy. com), before smoothing on your usual daytime SPF. At night, cleanse thoroughly with a mild product – try The Body Shop Vitamin E Gentle Facial Wash ($12.9 for 100ml; thebodyshop.co.uk).

Don’t forget your body. Focus on the areas your party frock will reveal, particularly those it’s easy to neglect, such as your back and upper arms. ‘Try dry skin brushing,’ says Marrone. This helps get lymph and circulation flowing and whisks away dead skin cells that cause spots and flaky patches. Every day, before your shower, brush briskly towards your heart with a dry skin brush – try the Elemis Skin Brush ($32; timetospa.co.uk).

 

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