Stay Healthy And Hydrated At Christmas
With the excesses of food and drink at Christmas, there tends to be that feeling of being bloated, sluggish and not in the best of health. Nearly everyone will over-indulge during the festive period, purely down to sociability and the amount of family and work events that tend to happen during this period of time.
Dehydration is the prime cause of all of these symptoms as we fill our bodies full of food and drink that we would not normally have in excess. Alcohol, of course, is the prime suspect, but many Christmas treats and snacks are full of salt or sugar, which tends to throw your metabolism completely out of balance.
The importance of water
Water has never been more important if you want to avoid the ‘morning after feeling’. Alcohol is a diuretic, so the frequency to urinate is compounded and the likelihood is that you will become dehydrated and feeling debilitated, particularly if you pound the parties over several days. A dry mouth and a nagging headache are classic symptoms of dehydration. It will not take long before your skin starts to look sallow and loses its healthy glow – water feeds your cells and both internal and external organs. Our bodies are comprised of around 70% water, so if these resources become depleted, so will your health.
Top tips for staying hydrated at Christmas
So what can you do to avoid or reduce dehydration? It is not just about drinking 8 glasses of water, it is about preparing your body during the day to cope with the office party or your night out with friends. Water is essential, but the addition of relevant nutrition during the day, and after your evening out, is vital to gain maximum hydration.
Try some of these tips:
- Throughout the day before the event, drink plenty of water or herbal teas (try to avoid caffeine or hot chocolate) and limit any fruit juices.
- Fruit infusions are an excellent idea, as you gain the vitamin benefits as well as hydration.
- Avoid salty foods, as these will also dehydrate you.
- Stick to protein-based foods with fruit and vegetables or salad. If you like cooking, consider making a bone or vegetable broth – the nutrients contained, as well as the water element, are a nutritious way to prepare your body for the evening out.
- Just prior to going out, have something like some yoghurt and a banana – the protein contained therein slows down the stomach mechanism, and the potassium will assist in balancing out any salty foods. Continue to drink plenty of the recommended fluids.
- On arrival at the event, if champagne or sparkling wine is on offer, limit yourself to one, even if it’s free. Alcohol strips water from the body, and the aeration in bubbles, along with chemicals used, will pay havoc with your system.
- Intersperse any alcoholic drinks with water, or better still, have drinks that include water and not pure alcohol.
- If you are wandering around the buffet table, pick vegetable crudites over pastry canapes or sausage rolls. The water content in the vegetables will also aid towards hydration. Cucumber, cherry tomatoes, grapes and celery are all extremely good and nutritious.
- Equally so, look out for any berries on offer – strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are highly nutritious and have a high water content – you may find them at the cocktail bar, so ask for those without the cocktail.
It is important to remember that alcohol does not immediately hit the bloodstream – it can be 30 minutes or more before you start to feel the effect, so you must pace yourself throughout the evening and try to chase any alcoholic drinks with water. You will have the tendency to urinate more, so water being lost has to be replaced.
When you arrive home, drink more water and if you have fruit in the fridge, try to eat some more. Take water to bed with you, so that if you wake during the night, you can rehydrate if thirsty.
In the morning, have a glass of warm water with lemon or a green tea. This will help to activate your system and begin any detoxification process needed. Continue to drink fluids throughout the day.
There is no need to be a party-pooper, just be sensible and enjoy Christmas and New Year.