How to keep overindulgence in check this Christmas

During the Christmas holidays most of us eat too much, drink too much and don’t do enough – or even any – exercise. Perhaps that’s why so many people make resolutions to try and get healthy every January.

Indeed, research by constipation treatment Dulcolax shows six out of 10 Brits make at least one New Year’s resolution

Despite promises to make this Christmas different, you may well find yourself overindulging on a few too many mince pies or glasses of mulled wine (or both). So what can you do to protect your health over the festive period and avoid having to restrict yourself when January comes along?

“A mindful approach is always a good idea,” says Kate Arnold, nutritionist and Dulcolax gut expert. “Asking yourself if you really need that extra piece of Christmas cake helps to make you more aware of how much and what you are eating, and possibly when it’s time to stop.”

Starting the day with a delicious protein-based breakfast like scrambled eggs or grilled kippers on toast will fill you up properly so you’re less likely to snack on things that aren’t so healthy. “And on Christmas day, why not add some smoked salmon and a glass of champagne?” suggests Kate.

Here are some more tips from Kate to help you survive that over-stuffed feeling during Christmas and start the New Year in great health:

Swap it out We tend to eat whatever we buy and what’s in the cupboard, so try to down on the cakes, biscuits and tins of chocolates this year. If, however, your cupboards are bursting with not-very-healthy treats, why not give some extra boxes away as presents? If you really fancy something sweet, swap biscuits for a good-quality organic chocolate, which also gives you some essential minerals including magnesium and iron. It may cost a little more than non-organic chocolate, but it’s much higher in cocoa solids so you’ll probably need to eat less of it to get your chocolate fix.

Eat little and often You produce more of the fat-storing hormone insulin when your blood sugar level is high, so you can also keep it stable by having enough protein and eating small amounts of food more often. Don’t forget that alcohol contains sugar, so if you don’t want to pile on the pounds it might be an idea to choose between pudding and alcohol.

Snack wisely Instead of plates of crisps and sausage rolls, keep bowls of nuts around, or home-made popcorn with a little sea salt. Meanwhile, treat yourself to plenty of turkey (or veggie nut roast), as it’s full of tryptophan, an amino acid that can help boost levels of the happy hormone serotonin in the brain.

Keeping your digestive system in top condition over the festive period will stop you feeling bloated and lethargic so remember to keep up your portions of fruit and vegetables, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

Making sure you don’t sit on the sofa for the entire festive period is also important, as movement is vital for a healthy gut and for avoiding issues such as constipation. Going for a walk with your family is a fantastic way of getting some fresh air and your blood pumping – and if it’s a bright, sunny day you might also top up your levels of vitamin D, which is needed for a healthy immune system.

For tips for a healthy bowel and avoiding common issues like constipation visit www.myconstipationrelief.com.

Be prepared to relieve the symptoms of overindulgence by stocking up on over-the-counter indigestion and pain relief remedies at your local Careway pharmacy (find your nearest pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder).