Nutritional Tips To Help You Stay Healthy This Festive Season
Every Christmas and consequently the new year period, there is usually a lot of celebrations and merry-making. These celebrations are often accompanied by food, drinks as well as gift-giving. It is also one of the periods when one has to be mindful of what you eat.
The incidence of malnutrition – especially obesity is on the rise worldwide with over one billion people being overweight in 2016. This is largely due to lifestyle choices, including the type of food we eat (energy-dense and fatty meals) and our activity levels.
During this period, the allure of indulging yourself a little or go on a health break and eat whatever you want is high, with more people reporting an increase in food and alcohol intake at this time, as well as losing self-control and overeating. Now is the time to take a break from all of those and focus on eating healthily.
A healthy meal is necessary for good health and our general well-being. It is important to eat well at all times as food provides the necessary nutrients and energy to carry out the activities of the day, as well as providing necessary nutrients to protect us from developing communicable and noncommunicable diseases. A healthy diet also keeps one at a healthy weight, fuels the body to carry on the activities of the day, delivers all the nourishment needed for replenishing old and dying cells. Simply put, a healthy diet maximises our overall quality of life.
A healthy diet consists of carbohydrates, proteins, fruits and vegetables, oils and water. It is imperative to include one or more of these food types in meals and to ensure a steady and adequate amount of water is ingested daily (two to three litres).
Apply these tips for healthy nutrition at this time and always:
Wash your hands before and after eating. It is very necessary to practice good personal hygiene at all times but it is more important during this period when there will be a lot of contact with others especially for those still in the festive mood.
Infections such as hepatitis A, typhoid and rotavirus are transmitted via contaminated food handled by infected people who practice poor hygiene. Wash your hands thoroughly and often, especially after contact with farm animals, pets, after changing a diaper, or using the toilet, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
Eat properly cooked foods. Avoid raw milk and milk products, sparsely cooked meals and uncooked vegetables. Some microorganisms can survive the low temperatures of uncooked and undercooked meals and may cause you to become ill. Do not skip breakfast!
Choose fruits and vegetables. These are natural reserves of important vitamins, minerals, and fibre. They are also rich in antioxidants and lower the risk of developing obesity, stroke and some types of cancer. Limit intake of vegetables served with butter or mayonnaise.
Limit sugar and salt intake. Processed sugars in beverages and other food items increase the risks of tooth decay and unhealthy weight gain. It may be difficult to avoid in this period but do your best to opt-out of sugary treats. A high intake of salt and salted food items increases your chances of developing hypertension, heart disease and stroke. Additionally, limit alcohol intake at this time.
Drink plenty of water. Whenever you feel thirsty, choose water always. It helps keep you hydrated and allows your kidneys to function without any fuss by helping remove toxins. It also makes you feel full and stops you from overeating. Drink safe bottled water to avoid waterborne diseases.
Take time before filling up on seconds or an extra serving. It may take a while for your stomach to inform your brain that you are at capacity but taking time off to relax gives you the necessary.
Keep up activity levels as much as possible. After all, the positives of eating and enjoying yourself, staying sharp and fit are important for your health. Take a few minutes to exercise over the holiday period. You may go for a walk, a swim or dancing if you want.