As the long-awaited summer festival season kicks into gear, you're probably daydreaming about the sun-soaked days filled with music, dance, and festival fun. But alongside the excitement, it's also essential to consider the physical demands that these high-energy events can place on your body. That's where good nutrition comes into play.
In this blog, we're going to delve into how you can make the most out of your summer festival experience, not just by having a blast, but also by keeping your body fuelled, hydrated, and feeling great. From maintaining energy levels and endurance for dancing to effective recovery strategies post-festival, this guide covers it all. We will also explore how certain nutrients can support liver detoxification after indulgence and provide sleep support to ensure you're well-rested despite the late-night activities.
Backed by scientific studies, we aim to provide practical and easy-to-follow tips to ensure that your summer festival experience is not only fun, but also healthy. So, let's dive in and equip ourselves to thrive at summer festivals!
Nutrition for Energy and Stamina
During a high-energy event like a summer festival, keeping your body fuelled with the right foods and nutrients is crucial. Dancing and moving around all day can significantly drain your energy, and to maintain your stamina, your body requires a steady supply of balanced macronutrients – proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Micronutrients including the B vitamins, vitamin C, iron and magnesium are all essential when it comes to energy metabolism too.
Macronutrients for Energy
It’s important to eat balanced snacks when at a festival, to provide you with the benefits from consuming each of the macronutrients. For example, carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy. When consumed, they break down into glucose, which your muscles use for fuel (1). Whole grain foods, such as oat-based nut bars or whole wheat crackers, provide slow-release energy to keep you going throughout the day. Protein is essential for repairing and building tissues, including muscles that are working hard as you dance and move around. Nuts and seeds, like almonds or sunflower seeds, are protein-rich snacks that are easy to carry and consume during a festival (2). Healthy fats, particularly omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, support sustained energy and brain function. Snacks like trail mix, with a combination of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, can offer a balance of all three essential macronutrients.
Micronutrients for Energy
Vitamins and minerals, such as the B vitamins, iron, and magnesium, play crucial roles in energy production and muscle function, here’s how:
B vitamins - They are involved in the process of converting food into energy that our cells can use. For instance, vitamin B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and B5 (pantothenic acid) help break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into glucose, which is used for energy (3). Additionally, vitamin B6 is crucial for the metabolism of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, supporting muscle repair and growth. The B vitamins can be found in dark green leafy veg, pulses, seeds, eggs, dairy, fish and seafood and meat.
Iron – this mineral is integral to the production of haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen to our muscles. When iron levels are adequate, muscles get the oxygen they need to function optimally, hence helping to maintain energy levels (4). Iron rich foods include beef, lamb, spinach, pulses, and seeds.
Magnesium – this plays a vital role in muscle function, acting as a natural calcium blocker to help muscles relax. It also aids in the production of ATP, the main source of energy in cells, and supports protein synthesis, crucial for muscle repair and recovery (5), making it an essential festival micronutrient! Magnesium can be found in wholegrains, dark green leafy veg, beans and legumes and nuts.
We recommend eating a varied diet rich in these micronutrients, which includes dark green leafy veg, wholegrains, pulses, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy, fish, seafood, meat. As mentioned, snacks are the easiest way to cover yourself with some of these nutrients during the festival. Easy to transport fresh and dried fruits, like bananas or apricots, nuts and seeds, crackers or oat bars are all great options as these can provide many of these necessary macro and micronutrients. Remember, balancing macronutrients and micronutrients throughout your day can help maintain steady energy levels and endurance. So, do pack a variety of snacks, and keep fuelling your body regularly to keep the festival fun going!
Oat & Nut Energy Bars Recipe
These energy bars are packed with protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, providing you with sustained energy throughout the day. Plus, they're easy to carry and don't require refrigeration, making them the perfect snack for a festival!
- 2 cups of rolled oats
- 1 cup of your favourite mixed nuts, roughly chopped (e.g., almonds, walnuts, cashews)
- 1/2 cup of seeds (e.g., pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)
- 1/2 cup of dried fruit (e.g., raisins, cranberries, chopped dates)
- 1 cup of your favourite protein powder (e.g., whey, pea, or hemp protein)
- 1/2 cup of honey or maple syrup
- 1/2 cup of nut butter (e.g., almond butter, peanut butter)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking dish with parchment paper.
- Spread the oats, nuts, and seeds on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes until they are lightly browned.
- In a large bowl, mix together the toasted oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, protein powder, and salt.
- In a small saucepan, heat the honey (or maple syrup) and nut butter over medium heat. Stir until they are well combined and become a smooth mixture. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Pour this liquid mixture over the dry ingredients. Mix well until everything is well coated.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Press it down firmly to make it flat and compact.
- Allow it to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting into bars.
Hydration is absolutely crucial when it comes to attending summer festivals. Dancing under the sun and indulging in various activities can cause you to sweat more, leading to a rapid loss of water and electrolytes from your body. This can result in dehydration, leaving you feeling fatigued, lightheaded, or even causing heatstroke in severe cases. Water is, of course, your best friend when it comes to hydration. Aim to drink plenty throughout the day, not just when you feel thirsty, aiming for around 3L per day. However, hydration isn't just about water; it's about electrolytes too. These are minerals, including sodium, potassium, and magnesium, that are essential for many of our body's functions. Sweating depletes these electrolytes, so it's crucial to replenish them. Sports drinks can help, but they often come with high sugar levels. A healthier alternative is coconut water, which is naturally rich in electrolytes. Finally, remember that alcohol can dehydrate you. If you're consuming alcohol, alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water or an electrolyte drink to stay hydrated. Happy hydrating!
Attending a festival can take a toll on the body. Here we provide nutrition strategies for post-festival recovery, including nutrient-rich foods, beneficial nutrients and foods that aid in liver detoxification.
B Vitamins: These play a significant role in the metabolism of alcohol and can help speed up its elimination from the body (6). Foods rich in B vitamins include whole grains, beans, peas, and lentils. Wellness Formula contains optimal levels of the B vitamins including B1, B2, B3, and B6.
Vitamin C – It’s well-known for its role in supporting the immune system, but this antioxidant can also aid in alcohol metabolism, protecting the liver against oxidative stress caused by alcohol. Citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli are excellent sources of Vitamin C. Whilst vitamin C is abundant in many foods, we have got you covered too - all Formula’s contain this antioxidant, helping to support your immune system and to provide the cells with some protection from oxidative damage.
Milk Thistle - This herb contains a compound called silymarin, which is noted for its liver-protective effects and may help in liver detoxification (7). Each of our hormone balancing Formula’s including Lean, Beauty, Wellness and Menopause contain 250mg milk thistle and 80% silymarin, providing you with the optimal levels of this liver detox hero.
Choline - This is a vital nutrient that plays a key role in liver function, and detoxification. It also has antioxidant properties, helping to protect the liver cells from damage (8). Therefore, consuming adequate choline - found in foods such as eggs, beef liver, wheat germ, and soybeans - can support liver health and detoxification, especially after periods of indulgence such as a festival. Due to the important role choline plays in liver detoxification, we felt it was important that all our Formula’s contain this nutrient.
Spirulina – This is a type of blue-green algae, which is rich in essential nutrients, antioxidants, and possesses anti-inflammatory properties, all of which can contribute to enhanced liver function. One of Spirulina's key components is C-phycocyanin, a pigment with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It has been shown to help protect liver cells from damage, especially oxidative damage that can occur during detoxification processes (9). We have included at least 250mg of organic spirulina in all our Formula’s (aside from Pregnancy) to help aid the liver in its detoxification processes.
Water and Electrolytes – As mentioned, it’s important to consume enough during the festival but proper hydration and electrolyte balance are essential for detoxification processes and can help alleviate symptoms of hangovers too (10). Drinking plenty of water (around 2.5L per day) and consuming electrolyte-rich foods like bananas and spinach can really help.
Fibre - High-fibre foods can aid in eliminating toxins from your body by promoting regular bowel movements. Foods like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits can boost your fibre intake for post festival recovery. So getting back on track with a nutritious and colourful diet post festival is key.
While these nutrients can aid recovery and detoxification, it's important to remember that the best way to support your liver is to consume alcohol responsibly, if you choose to drink at all.
Sleep can often be compromised during festivals due to late-night activities and potentially uncomfortable sleeping arrangements. Sleep is especially crucial for recovery after strenuous activities, such as attending a festival. Here are some nutritional and lifestyle strategies that can promote better sleep and recovery:
Nutrition for Sleep:
Certain nutrients can contribute to better sleep quality and may help aid your festival recovery. For instance, tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, eggs, and cheese, serves as a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in sleep (11). Magnesium, found in foods like spinach, almonds, and black beans, also promotes better sleep by helping to regulate melatonin, a hormone that governs our sleep-wake cycle (12). Drinking tart cherry juice can increase levels of melatonin and enhance sleep quality (13). Likewise, consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like fatty fish, can improve sleep duration and quality (14). Why not try increasing some of these foods post festival to help aid better sleep and therefore, recovery.
Lifestyle Tips for Sleep:
Post festival, re-establishing a consistent sleep schedule, helps regulate your body's internal clock and so that you may fall asleep and stay asleep for the night (15). Physical activity can also promote better sleep, but timing matters. We also wouldn’t recommend you exercise until you are fully recovered. Once you return to your exercise regime post festival, do try to finish moderate to vigorous workouts at least 3 hours before bedtime so that it doesn’t interfere with sleep (16). Finally, avoiding caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime can also improve sleep quality. While alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, studies highlight that it interferes with the quality of your sleep (17). Why not aid your festival recovery and sleep further by avoiding these stimulants completely for at least a few days post festival.
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