Staying Healthy Over the Holidays - 10 Tips to Get You Through the Season!
Staying healthy over the holidays may not be at the top of your list of 'things to do' but maybe it should be! Heck for most of us, just making it through the season in one piece is tough enough. Who has time to worry about other stuff?
However, the actions that you take today affect the health you’ll have tomorrow, so taking even a short break from taking care of yourself may not be very wise!
The simple truth is that 'making merry' can make you feel down right miserable! In fact, most people gain between 7 to 12 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is a lot of extra baggage. This doesn’t even account for the lasting effects that a holiday lifestyle can have on your overall health.
Drinking (excess) spirits with friends, shopping till you drop, and stuffing your face may set you up for heartburn, bloating, hangover, headache, weight gain, raised insulin levels, and heart problems. The best way to deal with all the excesses is to counterbalance them by making smarter choices. Staying healthy doesn't have to be hard though!
Here are some tips for staying healthy during the holidays, so you don’t fall prey to all the negative side-effects of the season.
10 Tips for Staying Healthy Over the Holidays
Before the Christmas frenzy, make a large pot of homemade soup, then divide it up into containers you can place in your freezer. After a long day of shopping, it’s good to come home and dive into something that’s easy to heat up and healthy for you. Be sure to include lots of healthy veggies and legumes. Homemade soup sure beats the heck out of making a meal out of pretzels when you're exhausted.
Just as soup is good for you, drinking hot tea is another way to squelch your desires for cookies and cakes. Hot GREEN tea is even better because it has far more health benefits. Staying healthy couldn’t be easier!
Green tea is good for:
Your weight - Contains polyphenols that increase fat oxidation, which helps your body burn more calories.
Heart Health - Relaxes the lining of blood vessels, so they’re better equipped to handle changes in blood pressure.
Cholesterol - Improves the ratio of good to bad cholesterol by reducing bad cholesterol.
Cancer - Thought to kill cancer cells without damaging healthy cells.
Diabetes - Helps regulate glucose levels by slowing the spike in blood sugar after meals.
If you suffer from heartburn or indigestion after a heavy meal and you want to nap, be sure to lie down on your left side. Reason?
Your liver is located on the right side of your body and your stomach is located on your left side. When you lean to the left, your liver moves over your stomach, warming it up. This added warmth helps you digest the food you’ve eaten more efficiently. After food is digested, laying on the right side allows your stomach to rest, which permits food waste to descend into the intestinal tract.
Sleeping on the left side also keeps the union between the esophagus and stomach above the gastric acid level. Right side sleeping calms the lower esophageal sphincter between the esophagus and stomach.
So for staying healthy and having better digestion, start out sleeping on your left side, and then sometime during the night, switch over to the right side.
Take one tablespoon (or two) of organic apple cider vinegar mixed with water to stop bloating after heavy meals. You can take it before, during, or after snacking at holiday parties or having a big meal.
Cleanse your liver regularly during the holidays! Your liver is your lifeline when it comes to toxins. Here's why:
When you eat lots of processed, high-calorie foods, you increase the amount of toxins your body has to handle. When toxins are introduced into the body, your liver converts them into a water-soluble form that can be easily eliminated and excreted. When toxins are overabundant, your liver prevents them from circulating into the bloodstream and stores them in fat cells. When a fat cell loses it’s ability to increase its size, additional fat cells are created and form new sites for fat storage.
If your liver is still overwhelmed by excess toxins, circulating toxins can be re-deposited just about anywhere. They may settle in joints, along intestinal or arterial walls, in fatty areas of the brain, or in lymph fluids. The breasts, pancreas, and prostate are other sites where toxins can be stored.
When too many high calorie foods are consumed over time, the liver itself may become a site for fat storage and the development of what's called a 'fatty liver'.
Too much sugar (or refined carbohydrates) raises insulin levels and is the main culprit for fat accumulation in the liver. An overloaded liver that never gets a chance to rest may no longer be able to deal with detoxification. Staying healthy means creating a balance of healthy fats to protein to plant nutrients, and reducing your consumption of processed foods.
Fill up your shopping cart with lots of unrefined produce and whole foods, along with your holiday goodies. Staying healthy is all about creating a balance!
When it’s cold outside, bundle up! You may feel like walking out of the house without a heavy coat during the holidays but cold air on bare skin does leave you more susceptible to colds and flu viruses. Reason?
When temperatures drop outside, the humidity drops and the air becomes very dry. It’s also drier indoors because heated air is also very arid. This makes it easier for germs to pass from person to person. It’s not necessarily the cold temperatures that make you sick, but the dry air that makes it easier for viruses to spread.
For the ladies - Those skimpy holiday dresses may look fantastic and be festive, but dry skin can also leave your skin even more susceptible to viruses.
Even though cold and flu viruses only last a few minutes on your skin, most people touch their hands to their face many times during the coarse of a day or night.
Those few minutes are more than enough time to cause an infection. Since viruses have a harder time penetrating moisturized skin, it’s a good idea to slather on lotion before attending holiday gigs.
Vitamin B & C are an effective way to prevent hangovers or help deal with hangovers after the fact.
Running around to keep up with the hustle and bustle of the season may undoubtedly reduce your water intake. Be sure to carry water with you as you shop. Believe it or not, a lot of sweating goes on during heavy shopping. You need to replace lost moisture so you don’t get dehydrated, then lightheaded.
In 2008 in the US alone, about 75 billion texts were sent in June; an average of 2.5 billion messages a day. Current text messages are sent at the staggering rate of around 15,000,000 per minute. Staying healthy during the holidays should include (at the very least) a couple of hours of being 'unplugged'. The constant buzz of messages, texts, images, and updates, compromises your mind, body, and spirit. Every once in a while, its good to disconnect, just so you have a chance to unwind.
Staying healthy ensures that you're ready for the new year and all the challenges that lie ahead. Remember that you can’t be all things to all people so don’t wear yourself out trying to be. Prioritize your schedule so you have at least some time to concentrate on yourself. You can’t take care of others if you're hung up sick in bed.
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