Christmas is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated seasons across the globe. People from all walks of life celebrate it.
In Ghana, Christmas is one of the occasions where individuals, friends and families gather in churches, restaurants, pubs, etc to celebrate and create new memories. We are all over excited about the festive season, but it’s still important to make your health a priority.
Yes! during this time all kinds of meals are prepared and we all love to taste new delicacies and try beverages at the expense of our health. We forget our allergies and choose to follow the crowd and this in a way exposes us to new diseases and worsens our existing health conditions.
In this article, I discuss five(5) main ways to keep healthy during the Christmas festivity.
1. Be active and exercise regularly
During this season the weather is colder and feels uncomfortable to go about the normal daily activities. Despite this, you need to get self-motivated to go about your normal activities.
Try as much as possible to stay active regardless of the weather. As this will help you avoid excessive weight gain and in turn help boost your immune system.
It could feel very challenging and you may even struggle to hit the gym, but there are several alternatives to help you keep up. For instance, you can follow workout programs on YouTube or on TV right in the comfort of your room. You can also involve yourself in aerobic exercises such as jogging, brisk walking, or you can consider stretching out regularly.
2. Watch your alcohol intake (if you drink)
While it’s enjoyable to drink during the Christmas season, you need to be mindful how much of it you consume.
Excessive alcohol consumption can be very detrimental to your health and cause serious health problems, including liver diseases, kidney complications, heart diseases just to mention a few.
Also, alcohol serves as a risk factor for several diseases and may also complicate or exacerbate pre-existing conditions that you may have.
Alcohol is addictive and may require more willpower and self determination to abstain from once you start taking it. Make sure if you will even take some, it should be occasional and not something you will regularly go after.
Men and women are advised not to exceed 14 units of alcohol within a week and are supposed to spread their drinking over 3 or more days.
Excess calories from Alcohol consumed can lead to unpredictable weight gain which in turn results in serious health implications.
3. Regularly drink water to stay hydrated
Your body depends on water to distribute essential substances/nutrients within you. Every component of your body i.e. cell, tissue, and organ needs fluids (water) to function normally.
For instance, the body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, and lubricate your joints. Indeed, water is essential for overall good health and if you want to remain healthy, you need to stay hydrated always.
It is recommended that you take about 8 glasses of water per day but in seasons during Christmas where we experience harmattan in Ghana, your body is likely to need more due to the dry air which constantly causes dehydration.
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is around 3.7 liters of fluids a day for men (about 7 and half sachets of 500mL water) and about 2.7 liters of fluids a day for women (about 5 and half sachets of 500mL water) including liquid foods.
Another important point to note is that water helps in the prevention of diseases in your body. Taking in the recommended amount of water daily is known to reduce the risk of colon cancer and bladder cancer and sometimes help in ‘water therapy’ for weight loss.
In the dehydrated state, that is when your body lacks water or you are short of the required amounts of water, the waste substances in the body end up accumulating in the body. The accumulation of such waste substances can cause several diseases.
Thus, to ensure that you avoid any of such diseases especially during this festive season, drink lots of water on a regular basis.
4. Wash your hands regularly
It Is common to meet different people from different places as people from all over travel around to celebrate the season. Also, since personal contact is considered as a form of appreciation in our part of the world, you are likely to come into contact with people.
Considering the fact that we are in a period where infectious diseases are on the rise, it is very important to frequently wash hands with soap under running water.
Washing your hands is one of the effective ways known to help stop the spread of various infections and germs. Try to make washing of hands a habit and it will go a long way to save you and protect others from various diseases.
It is also advisable to avoid touching surfaces at public places, such as on public transport (Trotro) and marketplaces, and also do carry a hand sanitiser to help you sanitize your hands when necessary. Moreso, try and avoid unnecessary handshakes, hugs and other forms of body contacts in public.
5. Enjoy a healthier Christmas meal
We all like to overload our plates with food on Christmas Day, and this is why we need to be cautious of what meal we prepare during Christmas and the New Year.
Consider these tips;
- Avoid adding too much salt and spices in your foods during cooking.
- Watch the oil or fat you use to prepare your meals during this time. Too much of it is known to be the cause of several chronic diseases.
- Make sure you have a lot of vegetables (salad) available for your meals and ensure a balanced diet as well.
- Eat slowly and consciously to avoid choking.
- Go local; try to prepare our local Ghanaian dishes
- Try not to drink too much
In conclusion, do well to celebrate the festive season in good health and be conscious of your health throughout the celebrations. Beware that without good health, there is nothing you can enjoy on this earth.
Let the new year meet you in the best state in terms of health and share the good news about keeping healthy with your friends and family. Have a blissful and disease-free Christmas celebration.