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Surviving a Christmas week of excesses

This Christmas one half of Treemendus Health took part in the Rapha Festive500 cycling challenge while both parties indulged in a week of excess turkey, plum pudding and Christmas cake. Needless to say, both our bodies were put under stress as they coped with this week of excesses.

  • The Rapha Festive500 challenges people to cycle 500km’s in the 8 days between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. Tough gig – even tougher when Andrew achieved the 500km’s in 4 days around work and social commitments. Check out Strava for upcoming cycling or running challenges but a word of caution, cycling is addictive – Andrew was still adding to his score hours before the countdown to 2019.

  • Christmas trimmings… For many, the annual Christmas get-together is a day of love and laughs while for some it may be a stressful day of food prepping, managing family quibbles or self-imposed judgement for eating and drinking all the wrong foods. However, eating that carb loaded desert prepared lovingly by Grandma is not all bad, occasionally, as the social connections it brings with it is fuel for the soul.

My key mineral to survive this week of excesses is Magnesium:

  • Magnesium is required in over 300 cellular functions within the body, in particular energy production (who doesn’t need more energy at this time of year), muscle contraction, nerve conduction, protein synthesis and blood pressure regulation.


  • Calms the nervous system

  • Magnesium regulates cortisol, the stress hormone. Note cortisol increases in response to high intensity exercise.

  • Aids muscle contraction and relaxation – hence the reason Magnesium is often used to relieve muscle cramps.

  • Helps regulate blood sugar levels. Note as blood sugar levels increase, more magnesium is excreted through urine.

Depleted by:

  • Alcohol: Consider bumping up your magnesium intake next time you have a tipple or two as magnesium excretion increases with alcohol intake.

  • An increase in sweat during exercise results in increased magnesium loss. Magnesium is excreted both through sweat and urine.

  • Other factors such as diet rich in processed foods high in salt, soft drinks, caffeine, pharmaceutical drugs such as diuretics.

Bump up these magnesium rich foods to support your body especially in times of excesses:

  • leafy greens, avocado, almonds, figs, bananas, beans, legumes, cocoa, nuts and seeds

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