With Diwali full of umpteen delicacies, delicious sweets and salty snacks, we often end up making food choices that are often not the best for us. Mouth-watering as they may be, the rich food can throw your body off balance, leaving it inflamed, bloated and feeling overall unwell.
And because festivities mean food, drinks and desserts approach you from all directions, it is extremely important to take precautions to prevent inflammation during this time.
Between the stress of arranging get-togethers, figuring out the perfect gifts, visiting family or having them over and pre-holiday work you’re trying to finish in time, it’s no surprise that you’re reaching for feel-good desserts, mithais and laddoos to reward yourself.
Apart from food, stress can also be a major factor in causing inflammation in the body. Over-committing yourself can lead to added burnout. If your body reacts negatively to the idea of going out, partying late or eating unhealthy food, it’s okay to choose to not go, especially if you’re managing a health condition at the same time. You have the power of saying no and putting your health first. Let it be a Diwali gift to yourself.
But why does the festive season increase inflammation?
Inflammation is very common and can happen at any time but the festive season is a minefield for this physical response. The end-of-the-year pace can not only cause stress but the festive season can also be a time of sadness and emotional strain for some. Add to it the stress of a global pandemic, and it’s no surprise that many are suffering from inflammation during this time. Staying up late to cook or prep meals, wrap gifts or decorate can rob us of much-needed sleep, leaving the body exhausted.
We’ve put together a great guide on how you can navigate inflammatory festive food and stress and make your body feel good this Diwali.
- Plan in advance
The first thing you can start with when it comes to avoiding inflammation is to look up the menu before going to the event. Reach out to the host to understand the ingredients and make a list of food you can consider eating. This saves you the anxiety of figuring out your healthy food choices, while also trying to mingle and be social.
- Stick to your routine
It is but natural to want to savour every last one of those Diwali delicacies. “Saving up” your appetite for a Diwali dinner to make the most of the delicious preparations is extremely common but many don’t realise how damaging it can be. We tend to eat more than intended when it comes to festive food and this is the main cause of promoting inflammation in the body. Eating your usual meals or sticking to your routine portion size can diffuse the situation of showing up starving to a party and ending up eating quickly and way too much.
- Share your festive spirit
Everything in moderation. If there’s a Diwali dessert that you really want to savour or you’re eyeing a special mithai that you know you won’t get all year long, then by all means enjoy it, but in moderation. Grab a modest serving and invite a few friends to share it with you. This will regulate your consumption as well. And isn’t sharing with your friends the sweetest way to enjoy the festive spirit?
- Homemade is better
Indulging in quality foods, snacks and drinks is one of the best ways to enjoy the festivities. Trust us, your mom’s homemade halwa is way better than the umpteen store-bought cookies and mithais present in your Diwali celebration. Processed or prepared foods are the worst on the inflammation list. This includes oily snacks, fast food and desserts that include preservatives.
- Get a move on
We all know we will eat and drink to our heart’s content during the festive season. So, adding some exercise in the mix is a reasonable balance. Find time to move your body, through walking breaks amidst busy days or a quick trip to the gym between festivities.
- Include anti-inflammatory foods
Where ever you can, contribute to the party with your own preparation or selection of recipes that include anti-inflammatory ingredients. Fruits and vegetables make for one of the best foods for combating pro-inflammatory free radicals, thanks to their phytochemicals.
Opting for plant-based protein is also a great way to indulge in a festive feast. Try and also include healthy fats such as nuts, seeds and olive oil in your recipes with a 3:4 ratio of oil to butter. And yes, you can enjoy umpteen sweets but with a healthy twist. For desserts opt for those with a nutrient-rich addition of dried fruits or some delicious fruits or homemade laddoos instead to finish off the meal.