5 Ways to Stay Healthy Through the Holiday Season (and still have fun!)
At this time of year, the focus is on enjoying all the festivities rather than on health. But all the rich foods, cocktails, late nights and stress can lead to weight gain, low immunity, and exhaustion. Here are five ideas to help you stay healthy while still having a great time.
Stay well-hydrated - Alcohol and caffeine are both very dehydrating. So to prevent the morning after headache by drinking one large glass of water between each glass of wine or cocktail (likewise for the coffee). Keep in mind too, that drinking one large glass of water 20 minutes before a meal (but not during a meal as this dilutes stomach acid and enzymes thus weakening digestion) has the added benefit of helping you feel full faster so that you don’t overeat.
Choose nutrient-rich food - when you face a giant spread of food, avoid the deep-fried, processed, and packaged foods that are full of saturated fat, salt, and sugar. Instead, choose homemade foods, high quality protein sources, colourful vegetables and fresh fruits that contain nutrients to nourish your body, thus giving you enough energy to enjoy the party.
Breathe - Take 5 minutes first thing in the morning and throughout the day (in the car to the next gathering) to be mindful your breathing. This exercise promotes physiological relaxation that can protect your body from the harmful effects of too much stress. An easy breathing exercise is taking a deep breath down to your navel to a slow count of four, holding the breath for a count of four and exhaling slowly to a count of four.
Schedule unstructured time - Set aside some time every week that you do not have any planned activities or goals to accomplish. It is this time that you can putter around the house, take a leisurely stroll, or do anything you enjoy so that you take an emotional and mental break.
Get active - Physical exercise (preferably outdoors) normalizes levels of stress hormones in our bodies and puts more oxygen into your brain. Make plans with your friends and families to go skating or hiking together.
I hope you have a happy and healthy holiday with your friends and families. See you in the New Year!
Allergic reactions occur when your immune system becomes overactive and attacks harmless substances such as certain foods or inhaled particles. This reaction is caused by the release of two antibodies, which cause histamine and leukotrienes to be released into your bloodstream, inflaming nasal passages, sinuses, eyelids and producing other symptoms such as sneezing.
You are likely experiencing allergies if you have:
Itching of the nose, eyes or mouth
Sinus congestion, leading to frontal headaches or sinusitis
Coughing or wheezing
Hives or eczema
Dark circles under the eyes
Chronic digestive complaints
Seasonal allergies are caused by tree pollens (e.g. oak, elm, maple, alder, birch, juniper, olive) in the spring; grass pollens (e.g. Bermuda, timothy, sweet vernal, orchard, Johnson) and weed pollens (e.g. Russian thistle, English plantain) in the summer; and other weed pollens (e.g. ragweed) in the autumn.
Perennial allergies are caused by year-round exposure to indoor inhaled allergens (e.g. dust mites, cockroaches, animal dander, mould), or by strong reactivity to plant pollens from the previous season.
It is important to realize that food intolerances are entwined with seasonal allergies. By eliminating foods that provoke a mild sensitivity, such as occasional hives or even stomach upset, you can lighten the burden on your immune system, which in turn may help reduce the impact of seasonal allergic reactions.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Allergies
Suzanne offers several tests to determine allergies, and will help you manage your allergies, both seasonal and perennial, using clinical nutrition, supplements, herbal medicine, homeopathy and acupuncture, depending on your symptoms. The following is a brief description of some treatments:
Homeopathic treatment -- Instead of simply addressing physical complaints with drugs, homeopathy uses minute amounts of plants, minerals or animal substances to cure a variety of ailments by promoting inner healing - called the vital force. Remedies are diluted so no side effects occur but healing does.
The more common allergy remedies are Allium cepa (best for watery eyes and lots of clear, acrid nasal discharge), Euphrasia (watery, irritated eyes and dripping nasal discharge), and Sabadilla (sneezing fits with red eyes).
Herbal medicine -- Many studies find that herbal medicines can control allergy symptoms without the traditional side-affects. For example, a group of Swiss researchers showed that just one tablet of European herb butterbur (Petasites hybridus) four times daily was as effective as a popular antihistamine drug in controlling symptoms of hayfever -- without the drowsiness that sometimes occurs.
Nutritional medicine -- In addition to herbs, certain nutrients can be helpful in quieting seasonal symptoms. Among the most popular are grapeseed extract and a flavonoid compound known as quercetin. Although both occur naturally in many foods, when used in supplement form they can be extremely helpful in reducing allergy symptoms when used in conjunction with vitamin C. There is evidence that quercetin may control the release of histamine and other chemicals that help initiate the allergic response.
Hot and spicy foods may also help to clear nasal passages by thinning mucous
secretions. Among the most frequently recommended spices for this purpose are cayenne pepper, hot ginger, and fenugreek, as well as onion and garlic.
Allergies can affect your life profoundly. Suzanne can help you manage them and reduce the symptoms that you are experiencing. Please call her at 416.993.5059 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment.