Everything seems to taste fresher and more delicious during the summer months. So make the most of all the good stuff on offer.

Feast then fast

If there’s one time of year that you should indulge in some serious feasting, it’s Christmas. So don’t hold back – you’ve worked hard all year on that rippling physique; it’s time to enjoy the good things in life. A day of eating and drinking to your heart’s content is not going to lead to any massive weight gain, but as insurance, you can always squeeze in a good workout the day before – or even the day of, if you can. Eating fewer calories the day before can also help, with the added bonus of ensuring you’ll be hungry the next day. Then, once you’ve finished pigging out, set a timer and fast for 16 hours. Fasting boosts your human growth hormone and noradrenaline levels and lowers insulin and blood sugar, all of which offer health and weight-control benefits.

Skip the soft drink

While hydrating is essential, quenching that post-workout thirst with a big can of Coke is not the best plan. Research from the American Physiological Society found that drinking sugary, caffeinated soft drinks while exercising in hot weather may increase the risk of kidney disease. They monitored a group of volunteers who completed a four-hour-long exercise cycle, drinking either water or a sugary, caffeinated drink during and after the session. The team found higher levels of creatinine in the blood and a lower glomerular filtration rate – markers for kidney injury – in the soft drink consumers. These participants’ blood levels of vasopressin, an anti-diuretic hormone that raises blood pressure, was also higher and they were mildly dehydrated during and after the trial.

Eat more seafood

Summer is the perfect season for enjoying seafood. And this is not just good because it’s damn delicious – seafood is damn good for you. The omega-3 fatty acids found in many fish can help to reduce the types of inflammation that’s been linked to everything from obesity and dementia to diabetes and heart disease. A study from Harvard Medical School, US, even found that eating one or two small servings of fish each week can reduce your risk of death from heart disease by 36 percent. ■

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