You’ve heard it all before: “Christmas is expensive, stressful, fattening”…
But we’re here to tell you there are hidden health BENEFITS of the festive season!
Here are some reasons to enjoy your celebrations guilt-free:
The centrepiece of most traditional Christmas dinners and it’s good for you! Turkey is high in protein, low in fat and rich in tryptophan,1https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-tryptophan a protein needed to produce serotonin (your happy hormone).
A smile isn’t the only reaction that comes from gift-giving – research has found that people who spend money on others report higher levels of happiness2https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15964 and have lower blood pressure!3https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26867038/
A 2018 study shows that gift-giving can also reduce your levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), helping you to feel less anxious and overwhelmed.4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6228389/
A study published in Frontiers in Psychology monitored the vital signs of singers during several joint singing tasks and found that choral singing increased the amount by which a person’s heart rate varied. And that’s good news, since low variability in heart rate may be linked to high blood pressure.5https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00334/full So, get out and carol-sing to your heart’s content!
Eating as a family
Fewer than 50% of families sit down at the dinner table together at mealtimes and 14% never do.6https://www.fmi.org/docs/default-source/familymeals/fmi-power-of-family-meals-whitepaper-for-web.pdf?sfvrsn=13d87f6e_2 Thankfully, sitting down to Christmas dinner is one tradition 88% of families maintain in the UK.
Spending mealtimes together can improve your child’s nutrition, reduce their risk of childhood obesity, and help encourage healthy eating habits.7https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article-abstract/127/6/e1565/30112/Is-Frequency-of-Shared-Family-Meals-Related-to-the?redirectedFrom=fulltext
Studies show that daytime napping may be good for your cognition8https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28475689/ and can lower your risk of a heart attack.9https://heart.bmj.com/content/105/23/1793 Just in case you needed the extra motivation to enjoy an afternoon snooze this Christmas!
Studies show several short-term health benefits of laughter, including, reduced feelings of stress and stimulation of the heart, lungs and muscles.10https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456
In the long-term, laughing can improve your immune system and relieve pain.11https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456
So, do what it takes to bring plenty of joy and laughter – Christmas cracker jokes, cheesy movies and a festive tipple…or two.
Prepare for the big day by working through a Christmas wish list of polyphenols – what are they and what can they do for you? Find out here.
Feel free to get in touch with our Nutritional Therapists via live chat on weekdays, 8am to 8pm, to have your questions answered!