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Food to keep your spirits up over the festive season

PUBLISHED: 14:12 21 December 2010 | UPDATED: 18:18 20 February 2013

Food to keep your spirits up over the festive season

Food to keep your spirits up over the festive season

If we really are what we eat, then Christmas has got to be bad news. Nutritionist Carolyn Heaton offers advice on easy ways to follow a more healthy diet over the festive period

If we really are what we eat, then Christmas has got to be bad news. Nutritionist Carolyn Heaton offers advice on easy ways to follow a more healthy diet over the festive period




Christmas is almost upon us, well in the stores anyway! Heres how you can keep your spirits high over the busy season, into the new year and for the rest of your life. Suffolk is certainly the Garden of Eden when it comes to fresh local produce, so its frightening to learn that more than 40% of food consumed in the UK is imported. Unlocking the value of our fresh local food, whether home grown or bought, will truly benefit the wellbeing of you, your family and all those you entertain at home .
Trying to keep stress to a minimum is not very easy in todays fast moving world, especially when our health depends on us trying to stay calm. Today our fight and flight instinct is sparked not by the perils of the hunt, as it was for our ancestors, but by work deadlines, or arguments with colleagues or family! This can put our bodies into a state of chronic stress, which in turn causes our bodies to produce adrenaline. To keep calm, try and keep intake of stimulants ie tea, coffee, chocolate and alcohol to a minimum, as these substances also cause adrenaline to be produced in the body, keeping us on a stress roller-coaster, which can upset our relax and repair system. A body that cannot rest and repair will put on weight and the addiction to the stimulant will get worse, like a person hooked on drugs. If you feel you are addicted to stimulants, try and wean yourself off slowly, one step at a time, and keep a food diary to help you feel in control.
B vitamins are great at relieving stress. Good food sources include brown rice, potatoes, lentils and leafy green vegetables. Remember that in times of prolonged stress the level of vitamin C will diminish quite rapidly in your body. This vitamin is well known to all of us for keeping colds and illness at bay, so this is the time to consider boosting this nutrient intake. Cranberries are a great source and loaded with other antioxidant nutrients, keeping cancer cells from forming and skin looking clear, young and wrinkle free.
Magnesium, known as the calming mineral, is good at keeping muscles relaxed, important for warding off PMS, great for a healthy nervous system and proper heart function. You can get enough magnesium in your diet from nuts, particularly brazils, cashews and almonds. A handful of these nuts can supply all the magnesium you need for one day, keeping you calm and collected for whatever the day brings. However, there are substances in food called phytates (found in bread), which can rob the body of magnesium, and also oxalic acid in rhubarb and spinach will also strip the body of substantial amounts of magnesium. So avoid these foods in large amounts.
Surely all the above will bring a little calm to your life over the frantic season ahead, and leave time to enjoy the things that are most important to each and everyone.




By Carolyn Heaton, Elementalle Nutrition.
Tel 0777 3007795 for a personal consultation.

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