The holiday festivities can be a lot of fun, but they can also do damage to our bodies if we're not taking care of ourselves. Here are tips from nutritionist Peggy Kotsopoulos to help you stay healthy through the holidays.
To de-stress and relax:
Almonds: They're a rich source of B vitamins which are your anti-stress vitamins, and they're the first to deplete when you're stressed out. And B vitamins are also essential to create stress-busting neurotransmitters.
Dark (or raw) chocolate: Highest plant based source of magnesium which helps relax nerves and muscles and calm you down. Plus it contains PEA, which is phenylethylamine. This is what give you that happy, falling in love feeling, which is why it's called "the love molecule!"
Holy basil tea: Contains what's known as adaptogens. These are found in herbs and they increase the body's resistance to stress and adapt to it. Holy basil tea is also known as Tulsi.
To boost energy levels:
Water: Dehydration is the number one cause of fatigue! Even if you're just mildly dehydrated, your body needs to pump harder to get blood to your muscles. Your energy levels plummet. Just by increasing water, it boosts your energy level. You should drink half your body weight in ounces. If you exercise or sweat a lot, you should have even more. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, half of that is 65 ounces, or 8 glasses of water per day. If you weigh 180 pounds, half of that is 90 ounces, that's more like 11 glasses of water per day.
Bananas: Contain B vitamins which are energy-boosting, and they have potassium which helps with hydration.
Smoothie with a protein powder: You can make really simple smoothies with bananas, berries and water, but I also add a protein powder. I like to buy a protein powder that contains greens like kale, broccoli. Greens increase red blood cells in your body, which give more oxygen, and then you'll have more energy. They also have fiber and Omega-3's – all which help to stabilize energy levels.
To prevent the flu or a cold:
Mushrooms: Contain beta glucans which are immune-boosting compounds and increase your body's fighter cells that fight against bacteria and viruses. And the best part is that any type of mushroom can help to keep your immune system up!
Miso Soup: Contains probiotics, which are good bacteria, that fight all the bad bacteria in the body. Roughly 70 percent of your immune system resides in your gut. So, if you have a healthy gut you will have a healthy body!
To beat the bloat:
Avocado: At a party, load up on guacamole. The potassium in the avocado helps to get rid of excess sodium that can cause bloating and water retention, plus it's high in fiber and fats that satiate hunger causing you to eat less. Eat with raw veggies rather than chips to keep the belly flat, in particular, celery!
Celery: Celery is a natural diuretic that helps get rid of bloat and water retention.
Kombucha: Kombucha is a fermented tea, and it contains natural probiotic cultures that keep you regular and bloat-free. Plus, because it's effervescent, it makes a great bubbly. Put some in a champagne flute and sip on it in-between cocktails at a party to keep you feeling less bloated and keep your belly flat. There is a really great ginger flavor, which also helps with digestion.
To cure a hangover:
Coconut water: Rich in electrolytes that replenish the minerals that were lost as a result of too much alcohol and dehydration. It hydrates you quickly and efficiently.
Fresh ginger: Has anti-nausea effects. It helps to get rid of an upset stomach.
Chlorella: Chlorella is green algae that are high in chlorophyll. Studies show that it helps reduce the incidence of hangovers by 97%! You can get it in a tablet, or a powder form, and it's REALLY green. You can mix it with pineapple juice and make little shooters in a shot glass. It's best to be used as a pre-drink elixir. The protein and fiber combat the effects of alcohol and help keep your liver in shape.
Peggy's new show "Peggy K's Kitchen Cures" premieres in January on the Veria Living Network. For more information about Peggy's book "Must Have Been Something I Ate," visit her website at www.peggyk.com.