Christmas and good health may not seem to go together particularly well, so you need to pay extra attention, if you want to stay illness-free this December. Here are 5 tips for staying healthy this Christmas.
1. Reduce stress
Stress is one of the biggest health worries at this time of the year as you try to juggle your finances and plan a feast for your family.
Try to plan your budget and work out what you can afford.
If it’s a bit tight, don’t feel pressured to overspend on anything and tell your friends and family that you’re cutting back this year. They’ll understand, they may even feel relieved!
2. Get some exercise
We know winter is dark and gloomy, but getting even the smallest amount of exercise will make you feel so much better. It’s a brilliant way of relieving stress and boosting your energy, which means you will be mentally and physically prepared for when the relatives arrive!
A brisk walk is the easiest way, but if you prefer indoor exercise, why not spend 30 minutes swimming up and down your local pool – it works your whole body and is very low-impact, meaning it’s less likely to put strain on your joints.
Of course, you may well be going to a Christmas party which is actually a great place to get some exercise. When the DJ sticks on Abba’s Dancing Queen, make an effort to dance – it’s a surprisingly easy way to get some exercise (and all the time you’re dancing, you’re not drinking!)
Oh, and as it’s Christmas, remember, even shopping is exercise (as long as you’re not sitting in front of a computer doing it!).
3. Down a smoothie
This is the time of the year, when many of us feel stretched pretty thin. When you’re too busy or frazzled from the night before to eat properly, or even need a quick pick-me-up, then a smoothie is the quickest and healthiest way to get goodness inside you.
Try an Innocent Superfoods Detox smoothie (1l, £4 approx) – it’s packed with potassium, which helps lower blood pressure and reduce strokes, and Vitamin E, which fights heart disease and bad cholesterol. A 250ml glass will give you the same amount of immune-boosting antioxidants as are in five portions of fruit and veg.
4. Help your hangover
No-one enjoys a hangover. They’re nature’s way of telling you what a great time you’ve had, but they also tell you how many essential vitamins your body has lost.
Surprisingly, even though it’s the last thing many of us want to eat with a fuzzy head, a Christmas dinner is good to eat, because it’s full of the vitamins needed to cure a hangover.
Turkey is a great source of vitamin B, which is vital for your nervous system and stopping you feeling queasy. Potatoes have more Vitamin C than a glass of orange juice, which is important, because it helps the liver to break down the alcohol. And green veg like broccoli and Brussels sprouts contain Vitamin E which detoxes the body.
If that sounds like too much hard work, gobble down a ripe banana. It contains a natural antacid to help your stomach, magnesium to ease your headache and sugar to top up your liver’s natural sugar stores and lose that light-headed feeling.
5. Get some sleep
We know Christmas is all about having fun, eating and drinking, but research has shown that missing out on sleep could lead to a cold or other seasonal snuffle.
Your body and brain recharge when you’re under the covers and also fight off infections. Try drinking a warm, milky drink before bed, and, if you’ve been up or out partying, make sure you give yourself time to wind down and switch off before jumping into bed.