The Experts’ Guide To Staying Healthy Over Christmas

Shopping, preparing the house for friends and family, getting ahead with the cooking… The festive season can feel like one long to-do list. Add social occasions, indulgent food and drink into the mix and it’s no wonder we feel exhausted by New Year’s Eve. But it needn’t be that way – here’s what the experts want you to know to keep your health on track over the next few weeks…

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

Strike A Balance

“Getting your sleep, nutrition and exercise on track is key to staying on top of the hormonal fluctuations that come later in life, but these are often the first things to get side-lined during the festive season. Try to stagger your celebrations so you’re giving your body a chance to recover in between and have a couple of days of healthier habits. Don’t let one night of drinking and eating open the floodgates for the entire period. Enjoy yourself by all means but don’t wait until New Year’s Day to get back on it. Make your next meal nutritionally sound and keep pulling yourself back to your ‘healthful’ ways when you can.” – Emma Bardwell, nutritionist

Stay Hydrated

“My number one tip for optimal energy is simple but so easily forgotten – stay well hydrated. Water is a natural anti-inflammatory, takes the edge off hunger and helps to energise. Make a point of drinking 500ml first thing every morning alongside 2,000mg of vitamin C (I use Viridian Extra C) and 500mg of combined acetyl l-carnitine and lipoic acid, which will support energy, detoxification and liver health. Aim to drink a further 1.5l of water throughout the rest of the day, especially when you feel hunger pangs. Adding apple cider vinegar to water will also aid digestion and control sugar cravings. If you are avoiding alcohol, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of sparkling water is a good substitute, too.” – Petronella Ravenshear, nutritionist 

Don’t Go Out On An Empty Tank

“Before you head to a party, have a protein smoothie (I use Nuzest Pea Protein Powder) or a boiled egg. This will mean you won’t arrive hungry and will be less likely to reach for the canapés and you’ll be able to make better food choices. A banana is another good pre-party snack as they are rich in potassium, which can balance out electrolyte depletion caused by alcohol. Alcohol can really interfere with the gut microbiome so be sure to include plenty of pre-and probiotic foods in the run-up to Christmas – think garlic, onion, oats, apples and fermented foods. Be sure to stock up on beetroot too, which is a superstar antioxidant and known to have a protective effect on liver cells – it works well in a lunchtime salad.” – Lucy Miller, nutritional therapist


Prepare With Supplements

“A quality multivitamin will act as an insurance policy and cover any shortfalls – Cytoplan 50+ is great – while a probiotic like BioKult will support gut health and an omega-3 will reduce inflammation in the body and support skin and brain health. I also take Thiodox by Allergy Research before I head out in the evening and again in the morning – it’s my secret weapon as it contains the compounds needed for liver detoxification. Taking digestive enzymes before a big meal can also aid the breakdown of fats, carbs and protein – I rate Cytoplan Cto-zyme. Viridian Sports Electrolyte Fix, meanwhile, takes the edge off a hangover, especially if you are prone to headaches and irritability when hungover.” – Lucy

Be Mindful Of Blood Sugar

“If you are eating a high-GI food, pair it with a lower-GI food to keep blood sugar stable. For example, if you are having roast potatoes, be sure to eat them with turkey, salmon or nut loaf. If you fancy some Christmas pudding, have a handful of nuts to balance out the sugar spike. Choose your nibbles wisely, too. Olives, nuts, guacamole, hummus and crudités are better options than crisps and pastry-based canapés. Don’t be afraid of healthy fats found in olives, nuts and avocado – they are an important part of a balanced diet and will help you feel satiated.” – Dr Simoné Laubscher, founder of Rejuv Wellness and formulator at WelleCo

Look After Your Liver

“One of the worst mistakes women make is fasting all day to compensate for planned over-indulgence in the evening. Instead, eat a light and nutritious lunch or brunch, ideally with protein and greens, which are great for liver detoxification. Eggs or smoked mackerel or smoked salmon with dark green vegetables are ideal options. Avoid eating lots of fruit at this time of the year as fructose (fruit sugar) has to be handled by the liver, so eating extra fruit just adds to its load. An apple a day or a couple of tangerines is more than enough. Stock up on Brussels sprouts, kale, cavolo nero and cabbage, which provide incredible support for the liver, while rocket and dandelion support bile production for detoxification.” – Petronella

A quality MULTIVITAMIN will act as an INSURANCE POLICY and cover any SHORTFALLS, while DIGESTIVE ENZYMES can help when EATING OUT.

Take Vitamin C To Control Hot Flushes

“Many women become histamine intolerant later in life, which can lead to flushing, itchiness, rashes, migraines and fatigue. Wine and beer are particularly high in histamine so if you’re prone to these symptoms, swap your go-to drink for a clear spirit like gin or vodka with lime, soda and a botanical tonic like Fever-Tree. Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine so if you are affected by high histamine foods (smoked and cured meat like sausages, bacon and salami; fruit like avocadoes, bananas and tomatoes; vegetables including spinach, mushrooms and sauerkraut; and dairy, legumes and walnuts are top offenders) take 500mg twice a day or 500mg quercetin twice a day.” – Emma 

Have A Hangover SOS Plan

“Unfortunately, hangovers can feel worse later in life, but having a few tricks up your sleeve can take the edge off. Enzymes in the liver break alcohol down into a compound called acetaldehyde. The liver’s next task is to break down the acetaldehyde, which can be up to 30 times more toxic than the alcohol itself. As with so many things in our body, the liver’s ability to break down this chemical diminishes with age. There is a lot of evidence to show hangovers are caused by inflammation, so be sure to fill yourself with antioxidant-rich nutrients where possible – a smoothie is a great breakfast option. Add vitamin-C rich berries, green leaves like spinach, avocado and ginger with a clean protein powder. If you’re not feeling too nauseous, a spoonful of apple cider vinegar helps alkalise the body and is full of minerals, while electrolytes work wonders too.” – Kathryn Danzey, founder of Rejuvenated

Boost Serotonin Levels

“We naturally feel more tired on dark, winter days – you’re not imagining it. Less exposure to sunlight means we don’t have as many opportunities to absorb vitamin D from the sun, which has a direct effect on our mood and energy levels. Eating certain foods can trigger production of serotonin, our happy hormone, which can help give you the feel-good factor. Switch on your serotonin receptors by increasing consumption of salmon, eggs, nuts and seeds, and fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, yoghurt and sauerkraut.” – Kathryn

Stock up on BRUSSEL SPROUTS, KALE, CAVOLO NERO and CABBAGE, which provide incredible support for the LIVER.

Get Outside Once A Day

“It can be tricky to stay motivated to exercise over Christmas – it’s dark when we wake up and dark again at 4pm. Don’t be too hard on yourself – don’t set big fitness goals for yourself and, instead, see this period as maintaining your fitness and staying on top of your game. If you are a morning person, set an alarm and get up straight away to exercise. If you exercise first thing in the day, you can get it done before other jobs take over. It can also help to keep a schedule of your workouts – there’s nothing more satisfying than looking back and seeing how far you’ve come and how consistent you’ve been. If you can only fit in 20 minutes of weights or yoga, that is great. If you can’t, try to get outside for a 30-minute walk, which will leave you physically and mentally revived.” – Caroline Idiens, personal trainer

Have A Late-Night Snack

“We all know we don’t sleep as well after drinking. This is because alcohol shunts us into a very deep sleep and we then wake in the middle of the night feeling wide awake. Alcohol is also liquid sugar, which causes a dip in blood sugar, which then triggers the release of cortisol and adrenaline, which then wakes us up. Minimise this effect by having a protein-rich snack before bed if you’ve been drinking – a couple of falafels and hummus, a couple spoons of yoghurt, a small bowl of high protein granola with yoghurt or some nut butter on a couple of oatcakes are great options.” – Karen Newby, nutritional therapist

If You Do Anything, Eat Mindfully

“I’m a big believer that food is love and celebration, so don’t stress too much. In the menopausal years, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and the last thing you want to feel is that you’re going without. Enjoy that pudding – eat it mindfully and celebrate it. The slower we eat, the more time the body has to tell us we are no longer hungry. Opt for raw cacao desserts and other vegan options, and avoid too many cream and pastry-based desserts, which are trickier to digest. Prioritise breakfast and lunch, which don’t tend to be so affected by the Christmas frivolities, so ensure they are full of super helpful foods. The liver loves brassicas – you can’t go wrong with a wintry salad made with warm kale, broccoli and cauliflower.” – Karen 

Shop The Products To Help You Stay Healthy This Christmas...

DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at info@sheerluxe.com.

The GOLD Edition from SheerLuxe
Delivered to your inbox, weekly.