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Knowing that there are aspects of Christmas that are good for our health adds even more sparkle to this festive time of year.
Christmas often gets a lot of negative press when it comes to health due to the overindulgence of rich food and a few too many glasses of wine consumed. Although Christmas can be a tempting time of year packed full of treats that are no good for our waistlines, there are many positive health benefits that the festive season brings which makes the most wonderful time of the year - even more wonderful!
Christmas dinner is often referred to as the best meal of the year and is jam-packed full of a variety of vegetables. Vegetables, in general, provide a source of many nutrients including important vitamins A, E and C. The fibre found in many vegetables helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart disease. Whether you love them or hate them, without brussels sprouts, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas. Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of iron, potassium and the vitamins K and B.
Whether used in baking, sprinkled over the top of hot, seasonal beverages or filling our homes with the smell of Christmas, spices are everywhere during the festive period. Spices which have been an integral part of our diets for many centuries and provide a wide range of health benefits. Cinnamon which is often seen as the champion spice of Christmas has antibacterial properties and is loaded with protective antioxidants. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties while nutmeg contains the compound myristicin, which can have a protective effect on the liver.
Although for the majority of us it may feel like we spend endless hours on the sofa on Christmas day, there are opportunities to be active throughout the festive period. Throughout December whether it’s running around the shops, dancing the night away at Christmas parties or going on long winter walks with family and friends, the exercise is great for our health. Regular exercise encourages the development of the muscles and bones as well as the heart and lungs. By burning fat, exercising is a great way to maintain a healthy body weight.
Christmas is the perfect time of the year to spend time with those around us those we love. This boosts the happy hormone serotonin and lowers the stress hormone cortisol which can have adverse health effects in the body. Laughter increases the intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulating the heart and lungs as well as increasing endorphins released by the brain.
Many of us at this time of year are thinking about resolutions we would like to make for the new year. Often these include eating a little healthier and exercising more. By planning how we are going to fulfil these goals in small, manageable steps it can increase motivation and enthusiasm for the new year. Making healthy changes to our diet and exercising more are excellent ways to improve health and fitness.
In case you needed any other reason to get excited about the festive season, knowing there are aspects of Christmas that are good for your health makes the day even more magical!