Holiday Food And Fun Can Be Hazardous To Health
Ease maladies like indigestion and hangovers with natural medicine. I’ve think it would be interesting to take a poll to see what month of the year people are most frequently ill. If I had to guess, December would be my top choice, with January a close second. The holiday season can take its toll on your health for a number of reasons, including time-consuming holiday preparations, anxiety and stress about family interactions (mother-in law is coming over) and finances (let’s put it on the card & pay next year), worry about finding the right gifts for people and a whole host of other causes. And, for those without close family ties or a strong support system, the holidays can be a lonely, alienating time. Depression, grief and insomnia are common complaints as well.
Common health complaints over the silly season include : indigestion, “tummy bugs”, headaches, hangovers, burns from BBQ’s and the sun as well as fatigue.
Why the Holidays Are Hard on Your Health
Besides emotional stress, many of us subject our bodies to some substantial physical abuse during the holidays. Between the parties and family get-togethers, mid-November through early January can become one big food orgy, especially for those in office settings. Let’s not forget the increased consumption of alcohol, holiday travel and the many exercise programs that go by the wayside during the holidays. Traveling brings about its own array of potential problems. Airline travel can be hazardous to your health because of poor air quality and high bacterial counts reported inside commercial jets, fatigue and jet lag can further compound the problem. Long drives and bored kids can amount to stress for parents.
Many people, when they get busy and stressed look for a “quick fix,” such as sugar or caffeine or something sweet for energy. In the long run, however, this may leave you more fatigued and vulnerable to illness because sugar and caffeine place extra stress on your adrenal glands. This potentially dire scenario, however, need not lead to holiday-related health problems. You can take several simple measures to ensure a healthy holiday season, including using the following natural therapies.
Digestive enzymes taken with your meal, are a good way to prevent indigestion, an upset stomach or that bloated, “too-full” feeling.
Dosage:Take 1 to 2 capsules of a combination product that contains hydrochloric acid (HCl) (to help digest protein) and pancreatin (to help digest fats, carbohydrates and protein) with meals. If you have a history of stomach problems, such as ulcers or gastritis, avoid the HCl, and consult your Naturopath before taking pancreatic enzymes.
Charcoal Tablets, taken with your meal, are a good way to help you overcome food poisoning, they help to remove toxic substances from your bloodstream,
Dosage:Take 3 to 5 tablets at the first signs of illness, and again 4 to 6 hours later. Try to take separately from other medicines, herbs or supplements.
Multivitamin/Mineral supplements are important throughout the year, but especially so during the holidays. When you overindulge in sweets, alcohol or simply too much food, nutrients, including B vitamins, chromium, vanadium and zinc, are important because they help your body metabolize sugars. You will feel much better, and can cope better with stress as well.
Dosage: Take a quality multivitamin/mineral formula—a good one generally requires roughly six capsules daily, particularly over the holiday season, not one per day.
Milk thistle and Dandelion are two great herbs to take when you’ve had too much to drink or have overloaded the liver with too much food. Milk thistle and dandelion help to support the liver so it doesn’t have to work as hard to metabolise fats, sugars and alcohol. Inositol and choline are nutrients which facilitate the metabolism of fats, and Globe artichoke is a herb which greatly assists the gallbladder. When drinking, pace yourself by drinking one glass of water for every alcoholic drink consumed. Especially red wine and spirits! I have a supplement I recommend in my clinic called Livdetox, which contains all these ingredients and more. It is an excellent product to take during or after the holidays to get you liver back into great shape. It will also keep the weight down, because the liver is the big fat-burner.
Dosage: Take 1 capsule of each herb twice daily for three or four days before a holiday party; then double this amount the day of the party and the following day. Dandelion can also be consumed as a tea or a roasted coffee—the root benefits the liver while the leaves work on the kidneys, as a natural diuretic. I personally enjoy Symmington’s brand Dandelion root coffee. (health food shop)
Get a Handle On Your Hang-Over
This one works well to avoid that washed out morning-after feeling.
Sri Lankan Soother
· 2 1/2 cups grapefruit juice
· 2 teaspoons lime juice
· 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
Stir ingredients together, and drink, preferably before and after drinking alcohol. Makes two to three servings.
While the holidays are intrinsically a threat to your health, a few simple preventive measures can help you to enjoy the holidays and get through them relatively unscathed.