PARTY PREP

Health and fit­ness hacks to get you through the fes­tive fun

Women's Health (UK) - - SURVIVAL GUIDE -

1 SQUASH FLU THREATS

Your new power break­fast? Move over avo.

Your toast top­ping du jour is but­ter­nut squash – just steam it and spread it on gut-friendly sour­dough. Thanks to its ridicu­lously high lev­els of beta-carotene (which is then con­verted into vi­ta­min A in the body) as well as vi­ta­min C, it’s one big im­mu­nity-boost­ing, liver-sup­port­ing, col­la­gen pump­ing pow­er­house. Our tip? Top with nuts and seeds for the pro­tein hit and a small driz­zle of maple syrup. Just be­cause.

2 WORK­OUT SMARTER

How to hold on to your fit­ness when you’re hit­ting the free bar more of­ten than the gym? Sci­en­tists at Canada’s Mcmaster Uni­ver­sity have the an­swer – three 20-sec­ond sprints pro­vide the same im­prove­ment to your res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem as 50 min­utes of low-in­ten­sity ex­er­cise. Even with a warm-up and cool-down that’s a 10-minute sesh, tops. Do three sprint ses­sions a week in De­cem­ber and you’ll be ready to hit it hard again in the New Year. Capeesh?

3 KEEP IT SUNNY

If you haven’t al­ready heeded the warn­ings and started tak­ing a vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ment, then do it now. Ob­vi­ously you know it’s a bone strength­ener – so, er, less chance of frac­tur­ing your face when you fall out of that club, but, bonus, topped-up lev­els also re­duce the risk of res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tions. Get yours in Bet­teryou Dlux 300 Vi­ta­min D Oral Spray (£7.99, hol­lan­dand­bar­rett.com). More ef­fec­tive than pills, the spray gets straight into the blood­stream.

4 CRANK IT UP

For the quick­est way to tone up, pimp your burpees. ‘Add a press-up and tuck jump to the end of a nor­mal burpee to ramp up the in­ten­sity,’ says Jess Schur­ing, founder of Lon­don stu­dio Heart­core. ‘As well as burn­ing calo­ries, th­ese work bi­ceps, tri­ceps, pecs and del­toids.’ Strap­less dress sorted. Ac­cord­ing to Schur­ing – and sci­en­tists at Not­ting­ham Uni­ver­sity – they also en­cour­age the faster re­lease of en­dor­phins. The re­sult? You’re men­tally and phys­i­cally ready.

5 DURACELL BUNNY IT ON VENISON

Of course you know reg­u­lar pro­tein should be your shorcut to those lean party-body goals. But don’t limit your­self to a fes­tive help­ing of turkey. Venison should be your meat of choice for the party sea­son, pro­vid­ing dou­ble the amount of nat­u­ral iron than beef. Ac­cord­ing to Swiss re­search, in­creas­ing your daily in­take of iron by 80mg can re­duce tired­ness by al­most 50%. Lights on to that.

6 GET BIT­TER IM­MU­NITY

Uh-oh: al­co­hol com­pro­mises your im­mune sys­tem within just 20 min­utes of your first quaff. So start pep­ping up your de­fences now. US re­search has shown that the beta-glu­cans in red reishi mush­rooms are one of the best im­mune boost­ers. They taste bit­ter, so go for a sup­ple­ment such as Reishi Mushoroom Vi­ta­min D (£19.99 for 30 cap­sules, hol­lan­dand­bar­rett.com). Magic.

7 PARTY ON VE­GAN STYLE

To en­sure you’re par­ty­ing from now un­til 31 De­cem­ber, em­brace a nu­tri­tional yeast (try Marigold Engevita Nu­tri­tional Yeast Flakes, £2.84, good­ness­di­rect.co.uk). It’s a great source of pro­tein – which will fire up the detox process – and heavy on the vi­ta­min B12, an im­por­tant nu­tri­ent for beat­ing fa­tigue. Nu­tri­tional ther­a­pist and au­thor of The De-stress Ef­fect Char­lotte Watts sug­gests sprin­kling the cheese va­ri­ety over your pasta or mix­ing with olive oil and toss­ing through veg be­fore roast­ing. Del­ish.

8 TIME FOR TEA

Booze wreaks havoc on your gut by in­creas­ing in­testi­nal per­me­abil­ity – when un­wanted bac­te­ria ‘leak’ through the gut and en­ter the blood­stream. ‘Your im­mune sys­tem tries to fight this, trig­ger­ing an in­flam­ma­tory re­sponse that can lead to weight gain,’ says Lam­bert. Your saviour: dan­de­lion greens. ‘The leaves keep the di­ges­tive tract mov­ing,’ she says. Try a cuppa, steep­ing dried leaves for five min­utes. Dan­de­lion Root Tea (£3.60, tealyra.co.uk).

9 STICK WITH SALMON

Bad news: anx­i­ety peaks dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son – of­fice stress, sleep­less nights, fes­tive shop­ping, family pressure – but don’t let a low mood stop you mid-flow. Salmon is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids which, ac­cord­ing to mul­ti­ple stud­ies, can help pre­vent you spi­ralling into a pit of de­spair. Pro­tect your­self with smoked salmon break­fasts and sushi lunches then head straight for those fish-topped bli­nis at your do.

10 PUT YOUR FEET FIRST

You look hot, but your killer heels are, well, killer. Try tap­ing your sec­ond and third toes to­gether. Se­ri­ously. Po­di­a­trist Mar­garet Dabbs says the space be­tween the third and fourth toes is prone to pro­duc­ing a Mor­ton’s neu­roma: ex­tra-sen­si­tive nerve end­ings. ‘Tap­ing th­ese toes can help to al­le­vi­ate this pressure,’ she says. More danc­ing for you.

11 BRING ON BUB­BLES…

’Tis the sea­son, right? Well, now we have a bona-fide ex­cuse to em­brace the fizz. It’s true, the bub­bles do get you drunk quicker be­cause they in­crease al­co­hol ab­sorp­tion into the blood stream. If you stick to them, you’ll end up drink­ing less, ac­cord­ing to the Uni­ver­sity of Manch­ester. And the re­cent trend for low-sugar bub­bly means fewer calo­ries, too. Look for ‘zero dosage’, it means no sugar added after fer­men­ta­tion Get in.

12 … OR STICK TO RED

Red wine is known for its anti-in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties, but the ex­tra bit of good news is that it might also help your waist­line. Ore­gon State Uni­ver­sity found that peo­ple who drink red in mod­er­a­tion burn fat bet­ter than those who don’t, thanks to the el­lagic acid. Booze as­sisted fat burn? Yes!

13 SWERVE THE SALSA

Be­ware the dou­ble dip. All that to­ing and fro­ing can turn salsa and hum­mus into a hot­bed of bac­te­ria. Stud­ies show you can catch some pretty grim dis­eases from other peo­ple’s saliva, in­clud­ing glan­du­lar fever, her­pes and even TB. So avoid dou­ble-dipped dips like the plague. Or risk catch­ing one.

14 REACH FOR THE OLIVES

Most party nib­bles are full of fat and pro­cessed carbs. Not so the hum­ble olive. Packed with vi­ta­min E and phe­no­lic com­pounds such as oleu­ropein, they’re great for help­ing the body tackle the tox­ins you pump in at this time of year. Bet­ter still, re­search shows they con­tain oleo­can­thal, which helps re­duce in­flam­ma­tion. Gotta help with the morn­ing after, right?

15 CURB YOUR AP­PETITE

How to keep those party nib­bles un­der con­trol? Mod­er­ate your mix­ers. A study by the Uni­ver­sity of Syd­ney found that sweet­en­ers like the ones in fizzy drinks can in­crease your ap­petite. ‘The sweet taste tells your brain that you must have re­ceived a food stuffed with calo­ries, but then none are ac­tu­ally reg­is­tered,’ says Char­lotte Watts. Stick to wa­ter to keep your munch­ing in check; or have your whisky on the rocks (as long as it’s past 2pm).

16 PER­FECT YOUR PER­FUME

Want to im­press your boss at the of­fice do? Wear a fra­grance with rose­mary. A Northum­bria Uni­ver­sity study showed it sharp­ens your mind – ideal when you’re try­ing to im­press your man­ager by reel­ing off past achieve­ments. ‘Tar­get pulse points where blood ves­sels are clos­est to the skin and emit the most heat,’ says per­fume ex­pert Ruth Mas­ten­broek. We can smell that Jan­uary pay rise from here.

17 POST-PARTY BLOAT BEATER

Fancy a night­cap? Make yours a cup of milky co­coa and you’ll reap the ben­e­fits. A study by the Uni­ver­sity of Copen­hagen has shown that cal­cium helps your body metabolise fat more ef­fi­ciently by in­creas­ing the rate at which it pro­cesses it as waste. And, ma­jor plus: co­coa con­tains more an­tiox­i­dants than red wine and green tea. Have it Wh-style with ca­cao, cin­na­mon and honey and you’ll feel slim­mer – and more vir­tu­ous – by sun­rise.

18 START THE DAY RIGHT

Dodge the morn­ing after fry-up – por­ridge is your hang­over’s new en­emy. ‘Oats have cys­teine, an amino acid that helps break down ac­etalde­hyde – a toxin pro­duced by metabolised al­co­hol that dam­ages the liver,’ says nu­tri­tion­ist Rob Hob­son. ‘Mix in Manuka honey, which has an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties and top with slices of banana to fur­ther sup­port your liver.’

19 RE­HY­DRATE DESERT STYLE

For­get co­conut wa­ter. With half the calo­ries and sugar, cac­tus wa­ter is what you re­ally need to re­hy­drate when you’re feel­ing, er, woolly headed. It con­tains pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dants such as tau­rine, which helps to re­v­erse mus­cle tis­sue dam­age (read: hang­over) and be­ta­lains, which are proven to help make the skin glow. The re­sult? No one will know any prosecco even passed your lips.

20 POP THE RIGHT PILLS

Can’t shift that split­ting headache? If you must reach for the pills, make ibupro­fen your go-to. Aspirin can up­set your stom­ach, while re­search has shown that drink­ing hin­ders your liver’s ca­pac­ity to break down parac­eta­mol. Want to speed up your re­cov­ery be­fore you get to work? Drink­ing grape­fruit juice will give ibupro­fen a help­ing hand, ad­vises nu­tri­tion­ist Hannah Richards. It lim­its the ac­tiv­ity of the en­zyme that breaks down drugs. Happy days.

21 BAT­TLE BREAKOUTS

Late night + all-day eat­ing + body weight in bub­bles + an­other late night = skin dis­as­ter. ‘The party sea­son puts your body un­der a lot of stress,’ says Richards. ‘Hor­mones and di­ges­tion are linked so your skin is a mir­ror of your gut.’ Zap spots by top­ping up on zinc, cal­cium, potas­sium and mag­ne­sium that can help undo the dam­age*.

Try this skin-boost­ing snack: 125g low-fat yo­ghurt, 1 tbsp al­monds, 1 tsp seeds, ½ banana. All clear. Just like your skin.

22 LIQ­UID LUNCH

Didn’t get up in time for break­fast? Soup for lunch is your saviour. A study by the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal So­ci­ety has shown that the salt in Yaka-mein soup (a kind of beef broth) re­plen­ishes potas­sium and sodium lost thanks to the di­uretic ef­fects of al­co­hol. Added bonus: the ex­tra salt will make you thirsty so you’ll drink more flu­ids and re­hy­drate more quickly. Just don’t make it more booze…

23 SWEAT IT OUT

Just don’t go nuts. Ex­er­cise can off­set some of the ef­fects of al­co­hol, but go gen­tly on a hang­over. High-in­ten­sity ex­er­cise low­ers im­mu­nity, which makes re­cov­ery slower. Jonathan Lo­max rec­om­mends 45 min­utes of steady ex­er­cise such as jog­ging or cycling, where your heart rate doesn’t ex­ceed 120bpm. For weights, take your pulse for 15 sec­onds then mul­ti­ply by four to work out your heart rate.

24 STAY IN BED

Okay, you might not be able to have a lie-in and swan into work at mid­day, but a solid amount of sleep will re­duce your chances of ex­ces­sive graz­ing the next day, found a study in the Jour­nal of

Health Psy­chol­ogy. Your eas­i­est op­tion is to ditch the morn­ing run to catch ex­tra zeds. Don’t feel guilty though – re­search has shown that just think­ing about ex­er­cise can in­crease mus­cle strength. So pic­ture your­self cross­ing that fin­ish line. See? Stronger al­ready. 25

BE OMMM POINT

Put that hang­over to bed with some restora­tive yoga. Sup­port your liver with a sim­ple child’s pose – sit back on your heels and then fold over to touch your head to the floor. Triyoga’s Bridget Woods Kramer rec­om­mends putting a blan­ket or soft pil­low over your thighs to help com­press your ab­dom­i­nal mus­cles and im­prove cir­cu­la­tion to the lym­phatic sys­tem for five to 10 min­utes or 10 breaths.

Your body will thank you for it. Trust us.

Glit­ter bawl

Feel­ing frag­ile?

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