Cenegenics Carolinas Offers Top Tips For A Healthier Holiday Season

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Age Management Physicians from Cenegenics Carolinas, a preventive health and age management medical facility, today released their top tips for staying healthy over the 2011 holiday season.

Age Management Physicians from Cenegenics Carolinas, a preventive health and age management medical facility, today released their top tips for staying healthy over the 2011 holiday season.

Exercise (Cenegenics exercise program)
Regular exercise does a lot more than help control weight. It is also great for combating health conditions and diseases such as diabetes and depression, reducing stress, improving mood, promoting better sleep, preventing colds and boosting energy. But between the holiday parties, shopping and general stress of the holiday season, staying active can prove to be a tough challenge.

Tip: The holidays can have people stressed for time, so try spacing workouts throughout the day. Exercise for 10 minutes three times a day – morning, noon and late afternoon/evening. A great 10-minute workout can include walking up and down stairs, jumping jacks, squats, pushups, sit-ups and/or jumping rope.

Drink Plenty of Water
The number one cause of daytime fatigue is dehydration, which is a major problem over the holidays. Salty foods, caffeine, lots of sugar and alcohol can worsen dehydration.

Tip: Keep water on hand at all times and drink it before you are thirsty. When traveling, drink eight ounces of water for every hour of airplane travel. Aim for one-half of your body weight in ounces each day. Add a glass of water for every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage consumed. Consume foods and beverages high in water like soups and leafy greens.

Monitor Alcohol Consumption
Where there’s good food, there are usually good drinks too, and it can get quite out of hand during the holidays if people aren’t prepared. Alcoholic drinks are loaded with calories and most come with little or no nutritional value.

Tip: Moderation and smart beverage choices are key to alcohol consumption during the holidays. Avoid beverages like eggnog and rum and coke, which can pack more than 300 calories per drink. Instead, opt for a wine spritzer, light beer or vodka mixed with sparkling water and lime or lemon. Pinot noir is also a good option since it has a low glycemic index. Cut alcohol calories in half by alternating water or seltzer between alcoholic beverages.

Get Enough Sleep
With the stress of the holidays, falling asleep and staying asleep at night can be a challenge.

If people are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep try out these tips:

  •     Caffeine can cause sleep problems up to twelve hours after drinking it. Avoid foods and drinks that contain caffeine, including chocolate, tea and coffee after 2 p.m.
  •     Make sure the room temperature is set between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures above 75 or below about 54 can disrupt sleep.
  •     Try not to go to bed hungry, but avoid heavy meals or hard to digest foods at least four hours before going to bed.
  •     Limit alcohol consumption at least three hours before bed.
  •     Milk contains tryptophan, which is a sleep-promoting substance. Other foods that may help promote sleep include pumpkin, artichokes, avocados, almonds, tart cherries, eggs, peaches, walnuts, apricots, oats, asparagus, potatoes, and bananas.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast
A breakfast that includes both protein and healthy fats is key to keeping people mentally and physically alert during the holidays. Some quick and healthy breakfast choices include: an egg white omelet with spinach, goat cheese and mushrooms; protein shake; turkey, egg and hummus wrap; or spinach frittata. Don’t skip breakfast to “save room” for a feast later in the day. This can make balancing meals difficult and lead to overeating.

Avoid the Afternoon Lull
To beat the mid-afternoon crash, it’s best to start the day with the proper nourishment. Instead of a donut for breakfast, opt for one of the options listed above. It’s also wise to avoid lunches that are heavy in fat. They take longer to digest and sit in your stomach, making you feel sluggish and heavy. If in need of an energy boost, try drinking a glass of water, taking a brisk walk or eating a piece of fruit or crackers and cheese.

Conquer Temptation
Holiday celebrations offer temptation for partygoers to abandon healthy nutrition habits. Avoid falling victim to temptation by eating a small meal before going to a party. Planning for temptation is also wise. Studies show that when people plan out exactly what they’ll do when temptation arises (e.g., I will have no more than three cookies), they are two to three times more likely to achieve their dietary goals. It’s also smart to keep a bottle of water and healthy snack nearby to keep full between meals.

Dealing with Holiday Stress
As our cortisol (stress hormone) rises, it compromises the production of other important hormones such as DHEA, pregnenolone and progesterone. People usually need to increase these hormone supplements during stressful times, such as the holidays.

Prevent Colds
Nothing’s worse than getting a cold during the “most wonderful time of the year.” Take precautions to prevent the illness that will plague others this holiday season by eating plenty of immune-boosting foods such as coconut oil, berries, nuts and seeds, cooked or lightly steamed mushrooms, greens and red bell peppers, which have three times the Vitamin C of an orange.

Since exposure to sunshine is generally limited in winter months, people tend to become deficient in vitamin D-3, which is directly associated with immune system function. Get plenty of sunshine, have vitamin D-3 levels measured or empirically increase your vitamin D-3 supplement. Take a complete multi-vitamin. This should be done throughout the year, and definitely during the holidays top maintain optimal health. Stress is also a major cause of that run-down feeling which can make a person more susceptible to the illnesses that are common around the holiday season. Lastly, celebrate with caution. Heavy alcohol consumption doesn't do the immune system any good, and also dehydrates the body.

Spice up the Holidays
Several studies show that adding certain spices to food (or eating more naturally spicy foods, such as peppers) can help boost metabolism. It is suggested that spices such as cayenne pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, paprika, black pepper and other hot peppers cause the metabolic rate to rise, giving you an additional fat-burning ability. Paprika not only boosts metabolism, but it may also help reduce appetite and lower blood pressure. Black pepper has several benefits including the ability to improve digestion and promote absorption of nutrients in tissues all over the body.

“The holidays are filled with parties, family gatherings and lots and lots of food,” said Michale Barber, CEO of Cenegenics Carolinas. “While it can be difficult to stick to the healthy habits you’ve worked so hard to follow all year long, practicing some of these healthy tips will help you fight the stress, stay energized and healthy this holiday season.”

About Cenegenics Carolinas
Cenegenics Carolinas is a Charleston-based medical institute that helps patients manage the aging process through a customized regimen of exercise, nutrition and hormone optimization to improve their quality of life and help them feel healthy and years younger than their age. CEO Mickey Barber, MD, a board-certified anesthesiologist, former assistant professor at Tulane University and leading healthy aging physician in the Carolinas, heads Cenegenics Carolinas, the first Cenegenics center in the country. For more information about Cenegenics Carolinas, call (843) 724-7272 or visit http://www.cenegenicscarolinas.com.


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