How To Enjoy Christmas Treats And Stay Healthy
The holidays are coming, and that means the occasional dip into Christmas indulgence is on the cards. While you probably know better than to totally sacrifice your general health for the sake of Christmas, there are ways and means of doing both. You can enjoy Christmas, indulge yourself a little bit and still maintain – or even improve! – your health.
Don’t believe me? Perhaps it sounds a little too good to be true. And to an extent, there’s something in that. There is no way sitting and eating your way through a mountain of chocolate coins is going to make you healthier – sorry! However, so long as done in moderation, many things we associate with the Christmas season have health benefits.
Rather than trying to convince you further, let’s just launch right on in and look at some of the possibilities I am referring to. Seeing is, after all, supposed to be believing. So let’s sprinkle a little magic and make your Christmas future a little bit brighter.
I’m not about to backtrack on the whole “mountain of chocolate = bad” discussion, but chocolate can have health benefits. It’s mainly just with dark chocolate, but if you use this in place of milk or white chocolate then you’re off to a flying start. It’s suggested dark chocolate can be good for your heart and your mental well-being. There are even studies to back this up, so see it as a guilt-free holiday treat.
Oranges are a constant around Christmas. They are tied with ribbons and turned into decorations whole, or sliced and dried to make tree ornaments. The mere fragrance also plays a significant role in the season. Go and look for any fragrance blend aimed at the Christmas market, and it’s almost certain orange oil will be there.
That’s a good thing, too – orange when used in aromatherapy has a range of benefits. It’s best to use as a diffuser rather than burning it in candles, but it can increase energy levels and brighten your mood.
Then there’s eating oranges themselves. Not only are they rich in vital Vitamin C, but there’s a whole other host of health benefits found beneath the peel. The same goes for the fruits in the same family, such as satsumas and nectarines. If you find one of these in your stocking, then it’s a blessing.
Cinnamon is the partner-in-crime of oranges during the festive season. It often features as part of essential oil blends. Cinnamon is a soothing fragrance, so add it into your aromatherapy for a relaxing result.
Furthermore, eating cinnamon – such as sprinkled on hot chocolate – is good for you in a variety of ways. This is a powerful, tasty spice that you can feature in both sweet and savory dishes. If you want to know more about the health benefits of cinnamon, you can read it at The Alternative Daily for a full rundown.
Cinnamon is naturally sweet, so it’s far better for you than white cane sugar. Try using it in drinks for a festive twist that is also going to benefit your health in other ways.
- Christmas Carols
Even if you don’t know all the words, a little festive singalong can give you a mood boost. Music increases dopamine – the happy hormone – in our brains, so just listening to your favorite Christmas songs is good for you.
If you then opt to sing along at the top of your lungs, then that can heighten your mood and help lower anxiety. So don’t be shy, let rip with your best diva impression.
- Feast of the Seven Fishes
If you have an Italian heritage – or just fancy doing something different – then the Feast of the Seven Fishes is another boost. Traditionally served on Christmas Eve, the meal is – as the name suggests – rich in fish and seafood. There are plenty of nutrients you can fill yourself with, especially if you opt for oily fish such as tuna or salmon.
This one depends on your family and the different ways we celebrate holidays. If you prefer to forgo a second round of turkey so soon after Thanksgiving, then there’s plenty of good reasons to choose ham or beef instead.
If you do decide for a second bite of the turkey cherry (so to speak), then it’s good news if you are prone to the winter blues. Turkey contains L-tryptophan, an amino acid we all need. You may have heard that L-tryptophan is the reason you feel sleepy after Thanksgiving/Christmas lunch, but that’s not the case. What it can actually do is increase your serotonin levels. As lacking serotonin is a major contributor to depression, this can give you a much-needed mood boost in the depths of winter.
- Sledding (and other Christmas activities)
Depending on which part of the country you’re from, obviously! Even if you’ve not got snow, there are plenty of other physical activities that occur around this time. Even rushing from store to store is going to help get your heart rate up, which makes it cardio. If you decide to take advantage of going caroling (as I’ve already mentioned as a good thing), then you can grab some exercise that way.
Even a gentle stroll for a mile around the neighborhood admiring decorations is good for you. The general rule is around 100 calories burned for every mile walked.
As for sledding, if you do have the weather, grab the chance to do it. It’s high-impact and requires plenty of effort, so if you do it right then you’ll be burning off your Christmas dinner in no time.
So while Christmas is a time for indulgence, why not change the meaning up this year? You can indulge a few health benefits while still being able to enjoy the season. There’s no mandated reason that you have to damage your health over the holidays. A little off day here and there is no harm, but at least by going for the above options, there’s some health mixed in there too!