December 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm , by Amelia Harnish
The holidays get such a bad rap for being the time of year when overwhelming stress and irresistible, fattening treats lurk around every corner. Yes, it’s stressful and double yes, it’s hard to resist the myriad cookies and candies and cocktails just begging to be consumed. But there are things about the holidays that are good for you—as long as you remember to rein it in and relax.
So we say enjoy! Here are some healthy tidbits about five of our favorite holiday staples.
- Holiday Cocktails
- Family Time
Alcohol in moderation (no more than a drink or two a day) has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and possibly even diabetes. In fact, moderate drinkers live longer than those who don’t drink at all, so you can feel good about imbibing a bit. Just be sure to designate a non-drinking driver!
The stress from packed malls and frantic fellow shoppers is enough to make you want to give up on gift-giving altogether. But remember this as you’re doing that last-minute buying: Exchanging gifts makes you happier by strengthening bonds and evoking gratitude, which studies show makes for a longer, healthier life.
There’s no replacement for fruits and vegetables, but chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is packed with some of the same antioxidants found in plants that protect against heart disease and cancer. Sure, even the darkest chocolate has some sugar and fat, so savor it slowly and you’ll feel satisfied.
Getting together is so much more fun if you can forget about expectations and enjoy your loved ones, quirky as they may be, for who they are. If you feel a conflict coming on, take a few deep breaths and just let go. You’ll find a kind of liberation in compromise and acceptance. You don’t always have to be the peacemaker, either.
When in doubt, reach for the nut bowl—all types of nuts are rich in the monounsaturated or “good” fats that are crucial for heart health. Walnuts in particular are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce your risks for a whole host of health problems, from high cholesterol to arthritis. Nuts are crunchy and loaded with fiber so you’ll feel full on a small handful and maybe even not as tempted by the other goodies.
Happy, healthy holidays to all from your LHJ health editors!
Photo via Fashion&Style
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