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Select healthier foods this Christmas

We are on the final countdown to Christmas next week. The holidays mean different things to different people. But there are some unifying factors. Nothing to do with religious beliefs, it’s all about food and drink. Plenty will get consumed, and most of it will be unhealthy.

Yes, we wait for a whole year to get to the Christmas festivities. You might argue that there is therefore some justification for excessive indulgence. You wouldn’t really be wrong, so long as you watch what goes down your throat. There will be lots of roasts, calories-laden carbs and, cool fizzling and alcoholic drinks to wash everything down. But there will be other choices too. Salads, greens, lots of vegetables and fruits will be aplenty. And so too will be freshly pressed juices and the plain old water. You will be spoilt for choice.

Whatever you choose to indulge in will inevitably have some health consequences. It will be difficult to get away from the sizzling roasts and refined carbohydrate dishes. They so tempt our taste buds, and once you start, you can’t stop till your belly fills up. But they are ridden with all the bad fats that will end up clogging our systems. In the longer run, we’ll end up with higher risks of diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.

This will be more so if we continue with similar eating habits well beyond the festive season.

What about the drinks? Fizzy caloric-laden drinks with disproportionate amounts of sugar tend to be a choice for many, especially kids. They will put you at similar health risks as bad foods. Many adults will go for some alcoholic beverages. Some measured drinking within recommended limits will not do much harm. But how many will stop at such limits? Binge drinking is not uncommon with all the Christmas partying.

But beware, you might end up with acute intoxication which could get you onto a hospital bed, or at worst dead before the festivities are done. If you are the type that caps their drinking with a good smoke, you will just be amplifying your health risks.

Don’t get me wrong, am not proposing some boring menus on your Christmas party. Healthier menus are as tasty. That means lots of fresh plant stuff. Fill up most of your plate with greens, vegetables, salads, nuts and whatever else is non-refined carbs. When you go to the drinks, select fresh juices and water. All these will give you good nutrients, and keep your system free of undesirable toxins from processed junk.

Aim for some balanced wining and dining this Christmas. A bit of measured indulgence is acceptable. Counter this with some physical activities, this will burn out some of your excesses. And make it your duty to eat healthier well beyond the festivities. Have a merry Christmas.

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