A Member of Raffles Medical Group
The festive season means parties and parties mean good food. But how much of this good food is too much for your body? Many rich foods popular during the festive season actually cause more pain than enjoyment. Read on to find out how certain foods affect your body and which ones you should cut back on.
Christmas means Christmas hams, juicy steaks and more! But red meat such as burgers and steaks, as well as processed meat like hot dogs and sausages are high in purines that get broken down into uric acid when ingested. Uric acid is connected to gout, an excruciatingly painful inflammation condition. Red meat that is high in fats can therefore cause inflammation and pain. Cut down on carnivorous cravings with healthier meats such as fish or chicken instead and control your total animal protein intake.
Holiday desserts such as cakes, tarts, pies and more are extremely tempting, we know! But have a sampling and avoid over indulging because these types of foods are high in saturated fats which can easily lead to inflammation and raise your blood cholesterol which in turn increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Caffeine is a stimulant that can lead to poor sleep and fatigue. Instead of downing another cup of coffee for a pick me up, focus on getting more and better quality sleep. Allowing your body to rest can strengthen the immunity system instead of increasing its sensitivity.
Social drinking is a necessity at holiday parties, but beer may also increase your blood uric acid levels. Drinking two beers weekly can increase your chance of getting gout by 25%.
One is never enough! We can try to ignore how bad french fries are for us but it’s a fact! Fried foods are high in omega-6 fatty acids, no thanks to the vegetable oil that they are cooked in. When you eat too much fried food, you affect the balance of omega-6s and omega-3s in your body, leading to inflammation.
There will definitely be plenty of sugary drinks and soda going around holiday parties. But when you drink soda and other sweet drinks, the sugar causes the body to release inflammatory messengers called cytokines that can lead to inflammation.
Consuming simple carbohydrates with refined sugar will result in the same effects as consuming sugary foods. Skip white bread and pastries and opt for whole grains, including barley, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, brown rice, rye, spelt and wheat.
You will notice that many of the foods that are related to inflammation are associated with chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. This is because inflammation is a key source for the development of these conditions. In addition, these foods can lead to weight gain — another risk factor for inflammation.
Sugary and rich foods are tasty no doubt, and they’re a huge part of the foods that make up the festive season. We’re not saying to cut them out completely this holiday season, because where’s the fun in that? But perhaps indulge in moderation and try out healthier options instead. If you have an existing health condition that you would like more help with managing, you can find a specialist to talk to here.