Detox before New Year’s Eve: functional vegetables, light cooking and more movement

Detox before New Year’s Eve: functional vegetables, light cooking and more movement

Four days to put the digestive system to rest, deflate and detoxify a little after the food tour de force between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. Days in which we eat more and don’t want to give up the delicacies of the table which, however, make us accumulate calories that we are unable to work off given that we often go from the table to the sofa. Here is the nutritionists’ advice for a quick detox that will get us to the New Year’s table without feelings of guilt.

A detox break

One of the reasons why we gain weight or at least become bloated during the Christmas holidays is that we often buy more than we should and to avoid wasting food we eat more even on days when there is no celebration. “It would be useful, however, to alternate free lunches and dinners on strictly holiday days with a lighter diet according to the principles of the Mediterranean diet for the rest of the period, in order to reduce the days dedicated to excesses and follow a healthy diet and balanced,” he suggests Umberto Scognamigliomember of the Board of Directors of the Italian Society of Human Nutrition (Sinu) and first researcher at Crea, Food and Nutrition Research Centre.

Light cooking and seasonings

The elaborate recipes that require many condiments such as, for example, frying also weigh on the overall balance of calories we ingest during the holidays. “In these days that remain until New Year – he suggests Loreto Nemispecialist in Human Nutrition Sciences and Professor of the Degree Course in Dietetics at the Catholic University of Rome (Policlinico Agostino Gemelli) – it is better to choose simple, minimally processed foods and light cultivation methods such as steaming or pan-frying simply with water and a raw oil condiment”.

Rest the liver, pancreas and kidneys

The break from festive banquets also serves to put to rest the organs that work hardest when we eat uncontrollably. “The main organs involved in the digestion and absorption processes – continues Nemi – are the liver, pancreas and kidneys put to the test by an excess of sugars, alcohol and carbonated drinks. Therefore, you need to drink a lot of water because hydrating yourself correctly also allows ‘elimination of excess liquids. Furthermore, it is important to start including raw vegetables again at both lunch and dinner which can facilitate digestion but also the purification of these organs”.

Intermittent fasting

Many people, when they need to ‘clean up’ quickly, choose the drastic path of intermittent fasting. Does it work and is it safe for our health? “If until a few years ago when we talked about fasting everyone jumped out of their seats, in reality in recent years many scientific studies have confirmed that inserting fasting days or even semi-fasting days during a week or during the month can be useful both for putting the digestive organs to rest and for facilitating the production of certain substances such as sirtuins which activate genes linked to longevity”, declares Nemi. Furthermore, some studies have shown that for subjects with metabolic syndrome, fasting can work as a sort of metabolic reset.

“However, fasting is not suitable for everyone”, clarifies the nutritionist who specifies: “Those who suffer from diabetes, hypoglycemia, kidney disease, liver disease or other medical conditions that require a regular and controlled diet cannot do it. Nor is it indicated. for pregnant women”. The best time to fast is in the evening: just skip dinner, a habit which among other things also promotes sleep.

Raw vegetables, velvety and herbal teas

“If you really can’t fast – adds Nemi – in the evening you can opt for very simple dishes such as a mixed salad or just raw vegetables or even something hot such as a leek or fennel cream soup which in this period winter is certainly pleasant and also gives a sense of satiety”. Among the vegetables, the most suitable are the bitter ones which, among other things, are in season: radicchio, chicory, endive and rocket which promote the purification of the liver. “Some herbs and herbal teas that can promote the purification of the kidneys and liver are also very suitable – continues Nemi. The most suitable for the liver are those based on dandelion, artichoke and milk thistle while herbal teas based on gotu kola stimulate drainage natural state of the kidneys”.

The functional salad

After several days behind the stove, we would also like to take a break from preparing dishes and therefore we can opt for a quick and practical salad: “I recommend what I define as a functional salad that satisfies, stimulates the work of the liver, the intestine and kidneys, provides antioxidants and promotes glycemic and insulinemic calm, that is, it prevents blood sugar and insulin from rising too high after a meal with carbohydrates”, recommends the endocrinologist and diabetologist Serena Missori, author together with Alessandro Gelli of the book “Thyroid-intestine axis” (Lswr Editions). To prepare two portions of this salad you will need 200 g of long radicchio (or lettuce), 1 medium carrot, 2 sticks of celery with leaves, 1 organic red apple (or 1 peach), 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of vinegar unpasteurized apple vinegar (or wine vinegar).

“Vinegar – explains Missori – contains acetic acid, which temporarily blocks the alpha-amylase enzyme which breaks down carbohydrates, thus reducing absorption. Radicchio is a bitter plant, purifying for the liver and draining, while lettuce is soothing for the intestine. Celery has a mild laxative effect. Carrots provide vitamins and fibre. The red apple, rich in antioxidants, provides pectin which induces satiety. The apple or peach can be omitted for an effect on blood sugar and l ‘insulin even more marked”.

Burn calories with movement

But weight loss doesn’t just happen at the table: it also depends on how much we move. “In reality – explains Scognamiglio – we must remember that the term diet refers to a lifestyle or a balanced diet, combined with an active lifestyle, which includes the daily practice of physical activity”. In short, various attempts at pre- and post-Christmas diets are useless if not included in a change in lifestyle habits. “It is important to think about doing more physical exercise and it can be a stimulus to have an idea of ​​the time needed to work off the calories of some typical dishes of the Christmas period. For example, to burn the 506 kilocalories that we consume with 100 grams of tortellini in broth we would have to walk at a fast pace for two hours and ten minutes, while to work off a slice of pandoro we would have to cycle for an hour and ten minutes”.

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