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20th Dec 2023

12 Health Tips For The 12 Days of Christmas!

Posted by Melanie Winter

1. Mindful eating for joyful feasting

Prioritize mindful eating during holiday meals. Savour each bite, chew slowly and engage with the flavours. This practice encourages better digestion and allows you to enjoy every moment of the feast.

Experiment using traditional holiday spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in dishes. These spices not only add flavour but also offer various health benefits.

Cinnamon- is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and can help regulate blood sugar levels

Nutmeg- antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and may improve libido

Cloves- are also antioxidant and contain the mineral manganese and vitamin K

2. Move and groove

Sneak in exercise by organising fun activities like holiday-themed dance-offs or setting up a festive obstacle course in the backyard. Encourage family and friends to join in for a joyful workout session.

Take walks to explore Christmas decorations and lights in the neighbourhood. It's a simple way to stay active while enjoying the seasonal ambience.

3. Peaceful pauses

Incorporate brief meditation or deep breathing exercises into your day to alleviate stress. A few minutes of mindfulness can offer immense mental clarity during the holiday chaos.

Practice setting boundaries and making time for self-care. Sometimes, you don’t need to say yes to every invitation and could suggest a catch-up a few weeks into the New Year.

4. Spread love and kindness

Focus on the spirit of giving and how acts of kindness will spread love to friends and family. Creating handmade gifts by baking or making something with a handwritten note can feel extra special.

Donate toys to a wishing tree while shopping; some local shopping centres and department stores have them.

5. Hydration during celebration

Christmas time is synonymous with drinking, not often with lots of water. The classic Australian stereotype of having a beer or wine outdoors throughout the holidays can catch people off guard, and they end up dehydrated.

Being 60% water ourselves, we need to replenish and hydrate ourselves constantly, and water is the best drink for this. Alcohol is also a diuretic, so it makes you pee more, and you need extra water to balance your hydration.

6. Mocktail magic

Make a Christmas mimosa mocktail!

Start with soda water and ice, then add a splash of cranberry juice and ginger ale or kombucha. Top with a slice of lime and a cherry. This festive drink is good for the whole family and will quench your thirst!

7. Revitalise with seasonal fruits rich in nutrients

Some of the fruits available in summer are perfect for providing many antioxidants and have a relatively low Glycaemic Index (GI). The lower GI fruits will keep our blood sugars more balanced and can be a refreshing alternative to Christmas pudding pavlovas or other rich desserts. Examples include blueberries, cherries, passionfruit, plums, peaches, and raspberries.

8. Digestive support with fermented foods

Fermented foodshave been part of the human diet for around 10,000 years, and the process of fermenting foods causes probiotic cultures to develop, which are considered crucial to optimal gut health. These probiotic cultures help to feed and colonise the good bacteria in our gut, resulting in better food digestion and absorption, and can also decrease symptoms like constipation, bloating and diarrhoea.

Examples of fermented foods good for gut health include yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut. So, think of ways you can incorporate these foods into your diet over the holiday season.

9. Herbal teas, yes please!

Even in the supermarket these days, you can find a wide range of herbal teas to please various tastes and concerns. Some of the main easy ones to find are listed below. But you may find more variety at weekend markets, specialty shops or health food stores.

Peppermint tea eases bloating and indigestion, caffeine-free.

Chamomile and spearmint good for digestion, eases headaches and insomnia, are refreshing and calming, and are caffeine-free.

Sleepy teas various brands do sleepy teas, which may have chamomile, spearmint, lemongrass, or other herbs for relaxation, caffeine-free.

Detox teas will also be combinations of herbs for detox, which may have herbs that support digestion, the liver or the lymphatic system. Herbs could include fennel, juniper, liquorice root, marigold (calendula), dandelion, milk thistle, caffeine-free.

10. Nature bathe

At this time of year, it can be helpful to do catch-ups that are away from the bright lights and hustle and bustle of the holidays. Sometimes, a walk on the beach with a friend or a bushwalk can be very soothing to the soul. Or visit some gardens for a picnic in the shade and breathe in the fresh scents of nature.

11. Love your liver

Certain foods and drinks can play a role in maintaining liver health. Many foods can contain compounds that can decrease inflammation, help improve liver enzymes and protect against fat buildup.

Coffee can have many benefits for liver health; it can lower the risk of cirrhosis and prevent fat buildup.

Green tea has been shown in a review of studies to reduce the levels of liver enzymes in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Blueberries and cranberries contain anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that give berries their distinctive colours. They’ve also been linked to many health benefits in people with fatty liver.

Beetroot juice or powder consumed for 12 weeks can improve liver enzymes and lipid profiles

12. Peace on earth

Embracing peace on earth and fostering a "let it go" vibe during the holidays, especially when dealing with family stress, requires a blend of mindfulness, empathy, and effective communication. Here are some strategies to promote harmony and reduce stress during Christmas gatherings with family:

Set realistic expectations : Acknowledge that every family has its quirks and tensions. Embrace imperfections and accept that not everything will go perfectly. Allow room for spontaneity and unforeseen circumstances.

Practice empathy and understanding : Understand that everyone experiences stress differently. Be mindful of other family members' emotions and the challenges they might be facing during the holiday season.

Communicate openly and clearly : Encourage open communication by creating a safe space for everyone to express their feelings and opinions. Active listening without judgment fosters understanding and helps prevent misunderstandings.

Forgive and let go : Embrace the spirit of forgiveness and let go of grudges or past conflicts. Christmas can be an opportunity to start anew and focus on building positive relationships moving forward.

Redirect conversations : Redirect conversations to neutral or positive topics if discussions become tense or uncomfortable. Encourage storytelling, reminiscing about joyful moments, or discussing shared interests to create a lighter atmosphere.

Lead by example: Show patience, understanding, and kindness. Your behaviour can influence the overall mood of the get-together. Lead by example in promoting a harmonious and stress-free environment.

Well, that wraps up our health tips for Christmas, and we hope you have a stress-free and healthier holiday period. We hope you found something useful in this blog to help you enjoy the festive season. 

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