With the holiday season well underway, we are all trying to watch what we eat, especially with New Year's goals right around the corner. Navigating healthy eating during the holidays can feel like a lost cause, but there are a few things we can do to prevent the literal pains of unhealthy eating.
It's pretty simple - avoid (or eat in moderation) the foods that cause inflammation:
The "3-P" Foods
Processed, packaged, or prepared foods is at the top of the list, causing increased levels of inflammation in many consumers. But these are easy enough to avoid; simply opt for fresh, whole ingredients and non-artificial sweeteners. Try making your holiday dishes where as few of the ingredients have a label as possible.
Lactose can also cause inflammation in those who are sensitive to lactose. Try swapping regular dairy products out for lactose-free alternatives for all your holiday recipes. Some good choices are lactose-free milk, almond milk, and soy products.
Salt, Sugar, Gluten
Limit your salt, sugar, and gluten-containing grains intake. Look for low-sodium alternatives, fresh fruit instead of rich desserts, and grains that are gluten-free such as quinoa. Use the holiday season to get festive with spices as well, and you won't even miss the sodium.
Now here's a hard one: alcohol. It is safe to say that most of us like to enjoy a little holly-jolly relaxation around the holidays, but alcohol packs a huge inflammation punch between the carbs, sugars, and impact on the liver. If you do opt to drink, make sure to do so in moderation, drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and aid against inflammation.
Between the cold weather, pulling extended hours at work, taking on extra holiday projects, and long trips to see family and friends, we can all find ourselves a bit sore. Avoiding the foods on the list above will help keep you feeling your best and keep you joyful during the holiday season.