12 Ways to have a Healthy Holiday
Research-based, natural tips to help you enjoy a healthy holiday.
Author: Millennia Tea’s own "Official Science Steeper", Nutritional Scientist Allison Tannis MSc RHN.
Stress, bloating, or even the common cold can dampen your holiday spirit, so let’s keep it joyous with these research-based tips on how to enjoy a healthy holiday. Yes, you can enjoy the holiday festivities without struggling to sleep, or fit into your pants! Researchers have noted a number of proven ways to naturally ward off the most common holiday woes. Try adding in one, or two, of these 12 ways to have a healthy holiday – make it a new tradition, and help you and your loved ones avoid those miserable, humbug feelings during the holiday season.
12 Ways to have a Healthy Holiday
- Spread Cheer – Go outside and enjoy some outdoor holiday activities. Exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle. A walk to admire the holiday decorations around the neighbourhood is a truly healthy holiday tradition worth starting. If you have snow where you are, grab the sled – it’s always a great way to get everyone giggling.
- Skip the Bubbly – If you struggle with bloating, skip the carbonated drinks. They contain bubbles that can exacerbate bloating. Reach for something more soothing instead, like a hot cup of tea made with fresh, tea leaves. Tea leaves have a calming effect, thanks to the theanine they contain. Remember there is naturally-occurring caffeine in tea: approximately half of what you’d get in a cup of coffee. Thus, if maximum relaxation is your goal, after you brew your fresh tea leaves, set that first cup aside for when you need an energy assist and, then re-brew the leaves to enjoy the continued soothing effects of theanine without the caffeine. (Yes, you can re-steep your Millennia fresh tea leaves up to a handful of times!)
- Give a Little – There is something magical about the feeling of giving. Giving to others causes a chemical reaction in the body: it stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone that brings about a feeling of comfort and joy. Giving isn’t just gifts: give to a local food bank, bring food to a neighbour in need, donate to a charity you’re passionate about. Give a little - it feels good!
- Sit Tall – Avoid reclining after eating if you tend to struggle with bloating or heart burn. Studies show remaining more upright, either standing or sitting properly in a chair, after a meal can help reduce symptoms of bloating, and avoid extra acid reflux that can cause heart burn.
- Get More Plants – Energizing and nutritious, plants can help you stay jolly over the holidays. Eating vegetables is associated with lower rates of depression in research studies. Plus, for those of us trying to avoid having to wear our fat-pants, eating more plants is filling, making it easier to resist the many holiday treats.
- Indulge a Little – Pick your favourite treat and enjoy it! Savour that treat’s texture and flavour. The tradition many of us follow is to eat too many indulgent treats which leaves us with digestive distress, and pants that feel too snug. Feel merry and bright instead: pick your favourite dish, enjoy some of it, and then eat healthy foods.
Smile over a Sip – Put the kettle on, and pour yourself a cup of fresh leaf green tea. Green tea contains polyphenols which scientists have found are associated with lower rates of depressive feelings. Maybe spread the cheer by pouring a cup for someone feeling stressed in your family. Take a moment together, and share a smile over a sip of tea.
- Be Merry Together – Get your dinner mates on board with eating healthier foods this year. You may be surprised at how keen the others in your group are about eating a healthier meal. It can be as simple as swamping out less healthy dish, for a healthier option.
- Avoid High-Fat Foods - Eating high-fat foods can be hard for your digestive system to process, leading to digestive distress, such as bloating, constipation or diarrhea this year. For some people, digestive stress can cause a bad mood – the brain-gut axis delivers messages from the digestive system to the brain, effecting mood. (Maybe the Grinch’s bad mood was caused by eating foods that weren’t easy for him to digest?)
Try Ginger – Many nutrition experts use ginger to support digestive wellness. Ginger has a long history of medical use to relieve abdominal discomfort, and that’s been supported by current research studies. Fresh ginger is delicious, and creates a crowd-pleasing salad dressing to brighten you your holiday feast. Or, add a slice of fresh ginger to your cup of green tea for a zippy flavour that soothes your tummy.
Toast Your Health – Studies show alcohol turns on hunger signals in the brain which can motivate us to eat more food than we need too. Alcohol can also drive us to crave foods, commonly unhealthy foods (e.g. chips, cookies, ice cream). Fill your glass with non-alcoholic alternatives, and toast your health! Crowd favourites are water with lemons and limes, sparkling mineral water tinted a festive red, or warm mugs of tea.
Reach Out – Humans need other humans to be healthy and happy. Enjoy a healthy holiday by reaching out to those in your life that make you merry. Whether you are near or far from the ones you love, reach out as good connections have health benefits, advises Harvard experts.
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