The party season is hotting up, Christmas is just 10 days away and with it comes the threat of late nights, too many glasses of champagne and countless mince pies. If this sounds familiar you’ll probably be well acquainted with that horrible, month long hangover they call January - dark circles, pasty skin and podgy bellies are not a good look for the new year! Whilst Christmas should involve indulgence, not all indulgences have to have a negative impact on our waistline and visage. Here are some tasty treats to include in your festive food shop:
In a comparison of 100 foods, the US Department for Agriculture lists blueberries as the best fruit source of antioxidants. If you want to help combat the effects that booze, bad food and late nights have on your skin, antioxidants are your friend.
Not only that, one specific antioxidant found in blueberries, anthocyanin, has been shown to alter the activity of genes in human fat cells, helping prevent weight gain.
How to eat: Blueberries taste delicious and are a healthy way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Aim for half a cupful per day – eat with breakfast or as a snack.
A fat free diet is a byword for dry skin. If you’re still set in the belief that cutting out fat is the best way to lose weight, think again. Research shows us that omega 3 fats can actually help you lose weight and they are essential for skin health with potent anti inflammatory and moisturising properties. Wild salmon is one of the best sources of omega three fats.
How to eat: Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs make the perfect Christmas day breakfast. Alternatively, team with some rocket and horseradish for a simple but delicious salad. It’s important to choose wild salmon as the fat content of farmed salmon does not compare.
A true skin superfood, walnuts are packed with omega 3s, phytochemicals, vitamin E and zinc to name just a few. They are also a good source of b vitamins, essential for converting food to energy.
How to eat: Purchase yourself a nutcracker and a big bag of walnuts – widely available in supermarkets over Christmas. Walnuts make a great snack but don’t over do it, eight walnut halves is one portion.
Chai Rooibos Tea
A tasty alternative to plain old English Breakfast, Rooibos is naturally caffeine free and contains more antioxidants than green tea. Chai spices are deliciously warming at this time of year and amongst the exotic flavours is cinnamon. Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive effect cinnamon has on regulating blood sugar levels which in turn helps to prevent weight gain.
How to drink: Not to be confused with Starbucks style Chai Tea Lattes! Delicious with almond milk and a little stevia to sweeten.
Rich, creamy, filling and oh so good for you. Pound for pound, avocados contain more skin friendly vitamin E, monounsaturated fat, fibre, folic acid and potassium than any other fruit.
How to eat: Chop in half, remove the stone and fill with some dressed crayfish tails. Sit on a bed of mixed baby leaves and there you have a delicious dinner party starter.
Yes, you read that right. However, before you delve into the super sized tub of Quality Street, bear in mind not all chocolate is created equal. Whilst most chocolate is inflammatory and fattening, dark chocolate (70% cocoa plus) is low glyceamic and contains a variety of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Dark chocolate also contains theobromine, which research shows hardens tooth enamel and prevents tooth decay by eliminating streptococcus mutans, a bacteria found in the oral cavity. A sweet treat that won’t upset your dentist!
How to eat: There are many luxury dark chocolate brands which make great stocking fillers. If you’re planning to bake chocolate treats, substituting the sugar for stevia and switching to dark chocolate will reduce the cellulite stimulating effects of your delicacies.
Last but not least, you’ll be pleased to know that Champagne has one of the lowest calorie and carb content of all alcoholic beverages. Non dosage and low dosage indicate low sugar content so opt for these where possible – Bollinger is a safe bet.
Wishing you a very happy and healthy Christmas!