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10 tips to stay healthy during the holidays (and beyond)

This time of year consists of reuniting with loved ones at festive parties that last into the late hours of the night (with endless supplies of deliciously rich meals and sweets that are always at your fingertips). We got to chat with Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, Melissa Cugliari and she gave us the scoop on how to stay healthy this holiday season.

"Although many of us love to revel in all of these things as much as humanly possible during the month of December (and beyond, obviously), they can take their toll. Frequent colds and flus, letting up on physical activity and exercise routines, skin imbalances (breakouts, dryness), weight gain, and just pure exhaustion are a few complaints I see frequently around this time of year. Here are a few tips to maintaining optimal health while still enjoying this holiday season to its fullest:

1. Sleep

Sleep is when we heal and restore the body. Adequate sleep improves hormone balance, stress response, immune health, and  the body’s ability to detoxify. Aim for 8 hours of sleep per night.

2. Hydrate

Consume approximately 2L+ of filtered water per day to help maintain hydration, flush the system of toxins and to re-energize. I also recommend beginning the day with a cup of warm water with ¼ lemon juice and consuming herbal teas throughout the day. 

3. Self-care

Increased stress is a common complaint associated with this busy time of year and self-care is a great way to mitigate stress. Take some time every day to do something relaxing and grounding for yourself; this can look like taking a bubble bath, meditating for 15 minutes, getting a manicure, cleaning your home, listening to music, going for a massage. Whatever nurtures you, do it! Treat yourself! 

4. Don’t skimp on exercise

Exercise does not necessarily mean over-exertion, but rather simple movements. Take the stairs instead of the elevator; walk to the grocery store; do basic stretches and take breaks while at work. To maintain cardiovascular health, raise your heart rate for a minimum of 30 minutes, three times per week. Stick to your regular gym routine as much as possible during the holidays to set yourself up for success in the new year.

5. Maintain vegetable intake

Always make sure that you balance the delicious holiday treats by maintaining adequate vegetable intake. Each day, we should aim for at least eight servings of vegetables (one serving is the size of your palm); a great way to tackle this is to ensure that at every meal, half of your plate consists of vegetables and ensure you are getting at least one cup of steamed greens (spinach, kale, broccoli, collards, swiss chard) per day. 

6. Choose indulgences wisely

Although the holidays are a time where there are more then enough rich foods and delectable treats to go around, choose wisely and not over-indulge. Eat healthy during the week and indulge only at special events or parties. Opt for clear alcohols mixed with soda and lime or mint instead of those sugar-rich signature holiday cocktails. Instead of consuming all the desserts, choose only your favourite and savour it. 

7. Support the immune system

Avoid the common cold and flus that run rampant during the winter season by sleeping, drinking water, and eating vegetables, as mentioned above. Another great tip is to ensure that you are consuming enough vitamin C through diet (citrus fruits, vegetables) and supplementation. Supplement with 500mg of vitamin C 1-3 times per day as a preventative measure or if you feel a cold coming on. Herbs like Echinacea and Andrographis can also be very helpful. (Note: always consult a healthcare provider before supplementing)

8. Stay warm 

Bundle up on those cold, winter days to maintain optimal body temperature and immune function. Always ensure that your neck is covered with a cozy scarf or turtle neck and drink fresh ginger tea to keep warm. 

9. Wash hands frequently 

This one goes without saying; washing your hands is one of the best ways to avoid colds and flus and to stay healthy during the holidays and beyond.

10. Don’t wait until the new year

Take the month of December to reflect on the previous years: the ups and downs, what worked and what did not, what you have accomplished, what you have learned. Then, take the time to envision what you would like the upcoming year to look like. Set goals; start working on and achieving them now. Instead of starting the new year with a holiday-hangover, enter 2017 already on the right path! 
For more ways to optimize your health, contact Doctor Cugliari at mcugliari.nd@gmail.com 
See you beauties next Monday, and remember stay healthy!
Xo