DECEMBER’S jam-packed schedule is bad news for your body – and possibly your brain too.
But those in the know use clever tricks to counteract the damage caused by work lunches, boozy nights out and endless family gatherings.
Alamy Look after your body this month, if you don’t want to be worn out on Christmas Day
We spoke to a host of experts for their advice on staying healthy and upbeat, whatever the social whirl throws at you.
Here, LYNSEY HOPE reveals how to Christmas-proof your body to make sure you stay in tip-top shape for the busy festive season.
Getty – Contributor It’s important to get plenty of sleep
Nutritionist Kim Pearson says: “When you don’t get enough sleep, you feel more hungry.
“Levels of the hormone ghrelin, which makes you hungry, increase.
“Leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full, decreases.”
It’s not a good combination for keeping your appetite in check. Kim says: “Parties can keep you up late so try and nap during the day or you’ll start overeating.”
Getty – Contributor To ensure you don’t get ill and miss out on anything, avoid double dipping
Swerve the salsa and hummus at parties.
A Harvard University study found that double dipping really can contribute to the spread of germs.
Dr Robert Shmerling, who led the research, said the number of bacteria involved can vary with the dip.
Salsa is generally thought to collect more germs than a chocolate or cheese equivalent.
Handout Take precaution by keeping up with essential Vitamins
Now is the time to start taking a Vitamin D supplement.
It’s good for bones so there is less chance of you fracturing your arm or nose when you fall out of that club after a few drinks and hit the pavement.
A daily dose can also reduce the risk of respiratory tract infections. Try BetterYou Dlux 3000 Vitamin D Oral Spray (£7.99, hollandandbarrett.com).
Bring on the bubbles
Alamy You can get drunk and still be healthier with a glass of Prosecco
It’s true – a glass of fizz will get you drunk quicker than any other booze because the bubbles increase alcohol absorption into the bloodstream.
But according to a University of Manchester study, if you stick to prosecco, you will consume less alcohol overall.
It’s also better for your waistline as it contains less sugar and fewer calories than most alcoholic drinks.
Holly Willoughby flees as Phillip Schofield tries to stop their self-made bottle of Prosecco from exploding
Getty – Contributor Unhealthy snacks seem acceptable because it’s the holidays, but to avoid them, try chewing gum
At the end of a long night partying, you may be tempted to grab a kebab – but a stick of chewing gum can help you resist those late-night calories.
Research published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that chewing gum can help the average person lose up to 11lb a year.
A stick of gum will stop you reaching for unhealthy snacks, too.
Keep it regular
Getty – Contributor Keep your stomach healthy by eating lots of fibre
Bad diets are very bad for tummies.
People often end up constipated after a month of festive food, but you can help reverse the damage by eating lots of fibre.
Nutritionist Kim Pearson suggests lots of pulses, veg and ground flaxseed to keep you regular.
She says: “If you put lots of rubbish in your body, it’s very important for the body to get it out again.”
Sweat it out
Getty – Contributor After all that eating from countless parties, you need to exercise
Fitness expert Lucy Wyndham-Read says that in the busy festive season a four-minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout is all you need.
She says: “Raise your heart rate for 20 seconds with some star jumps or running up stairs, rest for 10 seconds then repeat eight times.
It will raise your metabolic rate for ten hours and burn an extra 35 calories an hour.”
Joe Wicks gives his top HIIT training tips on Good Morning Britain
Getty – Contributor Stay away from too much cheese if you want to keep your scalp away from itching
Cheeseboards are a no-go if you want to stay dandruff-free. Anabel Kingsley, a trichologist at hair and scalp experts Philip Kingsley, explains:
“Christmas can spell trouble for those prone to dandruff.
“Sufferers who drink white wine and snack on cheese platters often find their condition is triggered as the foods can exacerbate itching and flaking.”