Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Santa's Christmas List for a Healthy Holidays

Christmas is a time for relaxation, stress, chaos and joy all wrapped into one decorative package. No one, including Santa Claus himself, wants to be feeling less than perfectly healthy this time of year. Given the increased demands on you (er, we mean, Santa) this time of year, you may have to work a little harder to keep yourself merry and bright. Good thing National Nutrition is here to help. No matter what's out to get the better of you this Holiday Season, there is a solution. 

Who Spiked the Christmas Punch?
Dashing, dancing and prancing with your reindeers may seem like a good idea after a few too many eggnogs, but when you wake up feeling as though there are reindeer prancing on your head; you may want to rethink those late night decisions. You've got decorating to do, presents to buy (oops, we mean, make... with the help of your elves), and a crap load of winter driving to tackle (excuse us, we meant flying)! Which means you don't have time for a peppermint martini-induced hangover. So start with some water, a lot of water and add some electrolytes, preferably in the form of coconut water. Look for one that is pure, and with no sugar added. Or you could use an electrolyte supplement, like Endurlyte from Seroyal. Pair that with a B-Complex, as alcohol has an especially negative impact on B vitamins, and you'll be feeling your jolly old self in no time.

Cookie Comma!
Tis the season for Christmas cookies. Sugar coated, ginger flavoured, decorated with sprinkles and chocolate. And you cant forget about your Mother's famous tarts, that piece of homemade christmas pudding, or the second helping of turkey with stuffing! Rich foods, excess sugar, and salt, with an overall  change in diet around the holidays, causes your digestion to be a little, shall we say, out of whack. Bloating, heartburn, after eating fatigue, and... excess gas, can be uncomfortable and embarrassing (there are only so many times you can blame the reindeer!). It might be time to break out the digestive enzymes, for a little help. Our own production and release of pancreatic enzymes can be depleted or dysfunctional for a variety of reasons, including changes in ph, gut inflammation (think IBS), stress, poor diet, and more. Supplementing with pancreatic enzymes can help to make up for our own deficiencies, at least until we get them back on track. After all, you've got a few houses to get to on Christmas Eve, and little Becky is going to be counting on you to finish the WHOLE tray of cookies she's left out. It's the least you can do. Just remember to toss a bottle of enzymes in your own stocking, and you'll make it through the night no problem. 

Pam, Pam,... Can you call my mom?
Santa is a man, and we hate to say it, but this automatically means he is one BIG (round) holiday baby-  when it comes to the common cold. And guess what - it's cold and flu season, folks. This means Kris Kringle, his elves, and even Rudolph all need to take precautions so these nasty bugs don't knock them out for the holiday season. We're going to give a big shout out to Santa's doc, Dr. Oz on this one, and go with his Top 3 Supplements for Fighting off Cold and Flu. His recommendations of echinacea, zinczinc and vitamin D3 are most effective if taken at the first signs of infection, and not when you heat up the candy cane thermometer in bed. Stock up on these cold and flu staples to avoid a stuffy nose, and keep up with all that holiday stocking stuffing. Say that three times fast!

Santa's Heavy Pack Weighing you Down
Christmas is all about family, spreading love, and of course, PRESENTS! “I want a pony!” “I want a trampoline!” “I want a race car!” Kids today, eh? Presents seem to be getting bigger, and HEAVIER, every year. Add that to all the snow that Santa has to shovel every morning just to take the sleigh out for its daily test run, and you've got the makings for a sore back and shoulders. All of which can be very depleting. Sounds like its time to invest in some herbal anti-inflammatories, such as curcumin and boswelia. They are both very effective in decreasing pain due to joint inflammation. Studies have shown that they may outperform a variety of other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID's) while at the same time, avoid subjecting consumers to the gastrointestinal, liver, and kidney related side effects associated with many over the counter pain medications. You can even find them combined together in a variety of joint formulas. The best part? A bottle of these is small enough to stick in your own stocking – and lighter than a hunk of coal.

This ones for you, Mrs. Claus!
With overtime hours racking up in the workshop, your obsession with hanging the Christmas lights around the North Pole and the several daily cups of candy cane flavoured coffee you need just to get you through the day – its no wonder you're beat when you hit the sack. But, remember the good ole days when you and Mrs. Claus used to use the bed for more than just dreaming of sugarplums? The times when you'd get a little naughty, the kind of naughty that keeps you on her nice list; want some of that energy back? Try some Maca. Also called Peruvian ginseng, Maca is great for men and women. It has the potential to increase energy, improve libido and enhance sexual function. Some studies also show that it improves irritability, fatigue and depression associated with menopause. Buy Maca Root powder and add it to your smoothies. No more silent nights for you!

Nothing grinds your gears like going to the store to find that the last can of Who-Hash was taken! Or how about those high-pitched angels singing about peace on earth, when all you really need is some peace and quiet! What do you get when you cross Ebenezer Scrooge with the Grinch? You. One, miserable you. But you're not alone. Research actually shows that depression increases during the holidays, and some stats show that nearly 50% of the population say they 'dread Christmas'. Fortunately, there are natural remedies that can put the happy back in holidays. St. John's Wort is a safe and effective option for those in need of a natural anti-depressant, with research showing that it may be just as effective as many prescription anti-depressant medications. Vitamin D3 can also do wonders for mood issues that seem to be exacerbated during the winter months. Always talk to your Naturopathic doctor before starting any mood -support protocol, as even natural supplements can interact with certain medications.

Feeling like a Tangled Ball of Christmas Lights?
Even Kris Kringle himself gets overwhelmed with his many holiday related tasks. Stress can manifest itself in so many ways, many of which we've talked about here - from a compromised immune system and lack of energy, to irritability, joint pain, and poor digestion. Stress is a serious issue and it needs to be treated as such. Take a minute and step into the holidays in prevention mode, as opposed to charging in full steam ahead. If you feel you need a little extra help, herbs such as Rhodiola can do wonders to help us keep stress in perspective, and combat or prevent many of the symptoms associated with high stress and irregular cortisol levels. In addition to supplementation, don't forget the power of healthy lifestyle habits. Eat a well-balanced diet. Learn to say no and not spread yourself thing when it comes to social obligations. Ask for help (that's what elves are for!) and take time for yourself. Taking a breather and reminding yourself about the true meaning of Christmas (friends, family, love, happiness, joy) may be just the ticket. 

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