Nutrition experts create Christmas `survival guide´

Drinking water, eating bananas and cutting out sugar-laden “health” drinks could help festive revellers swerve a Christmas hangover and avoid the bulge.

Birmingham City University experts have come up with a foolproof “survival guide” aimed at reducing the impact of one too many mince pies and over-indulging on the sherry.

Senior lecturer Dr Matthew Cole and four students from his sports and exercise nutrition course came up with simple rules to tackle a perennial problem at this time of year.

After nutritional analysis, they found that toxins from alcohol, extra sugars from so-called healthy drinks, which can be anything but, and physical inactivity were among key issues.

The group then drew up a shortlist to help people ride out the Christmas period feeling “a bit fresher” and dodge the festive bloat.

The top five tips were:

Drink more water – H20 flushes toxins from over-indulgence, rehydrates and boosts the immune system. Cut sugary “health” drinks – Often a hidden cause of too much sugar making many so-called health drinks often anything but. Exercise – Inactivity over Christmas is a major cause of weight gain and a reduction in bone and muscle health. Exercise reduces toxins and boosts mood. Increase vitamin intake – Eating foods rich in potassium (like bananas), magnesium, iron and zinc will keep you going on the dance floor. Dried fruit and green vegetables will help. Balance your eating – Eating a mix of macro-nutrients, like carbohydrates, proteins and fats, and micro-nutrients, like vitamins and antioxidants.

Dr Matthew Cole (Birmingham City University/PA)

Dr Cole said: “We all know that people will be spending time partying, seeing friends and family, and having fun over Christmas, and that often comes with the drawbacks of illness, tiredness and hangovers.

“What we wanted to do was give people a few basic tips that could help them feel a bit fresher over the Christmas period.

“Some are very simple, other things are about highlighting potential hidden dangers.

“While we all know that mince pies and chocolate are going to contain high levels of sugar, what is often hidden is the amount of sugar in some healthy drinks and fruit juices.

“People often reach for the shop-bought health drink to help them deal with the evils of overindulgence but, in actual fact, they could be doing more harm than good and adding to their problems.”

The full survival guide is available to read at a university blog.

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