Holiday Health Tips with Dr. Millie Lytle
By Dr. Millie Lytle, ND & Kristen M. Leccese
The winter months come along with holiday festivities, family time, decorating and relaxing under the Christmas tree, vacation days and plenty of other perks – but the cold weather conditions and added stress of the holidays can take a major toll on your health, too. Here, Dr. Millie Lytle, ND weighs in on how to feel and look your best throughout the holiday season!
The holidays are fun, but exhausting, too. What nutrients do you recommend for an energy boost?
Instead of loading up on caffeine, increase protein at breakfast to improve energy and metabolism. Amino acids, found in good quality protein, such as L-Taurine, Arginine and Carnitine can help you start the day off right and recover quickly from a hectic schedule.
In terms of micronutrients, B-complex vitamins are stress buffers and mood enhancers. B-complex vitamins are co-factors for our brain neurotransmitters and can help reduce carbohydrate cravings. It’s important to boost up on these vitamins as they get depleted with alcohol and over the counter pain medications. Extra B12 supports natural energy levels and helps beat a hangover. B12 also helps make blood and supports natural circulation to energy.
Are there certain supplements that may help alleviate extra stress during the season?
Yes, in addition to the B complex vitamins, I recommend L-Theanine, an amino acid from green tea. L-Theanine helps your brain alleviate stress, relax and can even help with a restless sleep. It does so without any side effects.
Secondly, Magnesium is a nervous system relaxant that is needed in large quantities on a daily basis for the body to function. It plays a role in over 400 processes and can support lowering blood pressure, soothing muscle cramps, eye twitches and nervousness. It is both part of an effective stress and sleep protocol throughout this busy time of year.
What about all those holiday parties – can you recommend a great all-natural hangover cure?
The products that I’ve mentioned all play a role. A hangover is a combination of blood sugar imbalances, nutrient depletion, dehydration and liver toxicity. I recommend a short regime:
Before going out, start the evening by taking some B complex vitamins and some Phase 2 carb and starch blocker. Big meals and alcohol produce sugar spikes that lead to hangovers and Phase 2 can prevent its severity.
Drink water and take some L-Theanine before bed.
In the morning, take a couple N-acetyl Cysteine (NAC) to promote natural liver detoxification with a natural electrolyte beverage rich in magnesium and potassium. Some examples of this are coconut water, lemon water, green tea, green juice, miso soup or supplement with an electrolyte powder. Avoid the commercial energy drinks as they are too high in chemicals and sugar.
Following this protocol will help manage your party season.
Extra tip for hangover prevention: If you take NAC before going out, you might not drink as much.
All the sugar, late nights and stress can give way to illness, just when you want to look and feel your best. This season brings with it viruses, colds and flus. What can we do to stay healthy over the holidays?
The first tip is to eat normal meals, including high quality protein at breakfast and lunch and 5-10 servings of fruits and veggies per day. Just because there are sweets around, doesn’t mean you should skip sensible eating.
Go to bed early on nights when you do not need to be out. Catch up on sleep so you can rest your body and recover ahead of the following party.
Lastly, maintaining the immune system throughout the winter is a 4-6 month endeavor. Certain nutrients are key. For instance, ensure adequate vitamin D levels. The number should be close to 70ng/ml of 25-hydroxy vitamin D. If your number is below 50, supplement with 3000 IU per day to ensure adequate levels throughout the winter months. Other nutrients that maintain a healthy immune system are probiotics, magnesium, vitamin C, zinc, fish oils as well as antioxidants from green tea and immune mushrooms. Loading up on green foods and decreasing sugar, alcohol and refined bread products will also keep your immune system fending off those unwanted virus and bacteria.
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