There are benefits of Dry January to your health. Dry January is a term used for ditching alcohol in the first month of the new year. Many people celebrate as an annual tradition and mini-detox from the overindulgence during the holidays. Whatever reason you’re taking part in “Dry January” the benefits are great for your health. There's absolutely nothing wrong with abstaining from or limiting your alcohol intake. Excessive drinking and binge drinking can lead to several negative health effects, including weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and can put you at risk for other health risks. Taking one month off from drinking may not turn back the clock, but it will help you learn where your body is in relation to alcohol and can help your overall health and wellbeing. If you’re starting your Dry January alcohol hiatus, consider taking a look at how much you actually consume when not abstaining and how it can positively affect your health. If you're having several drinks a week, one of the main benefits of dry January could be a decrease in your overall calories, since a standard drink typically has around 150 calories. If you're trying to lose weight, cutting alcohol is one way to do it without compromising any of the fuel and nutrients your body needs. Alcohol contributes calories but doesn't make us feel more satisfied—it often amps up hunger. Also, since alcohol has a dehydrating effect, it can also contribute to bloating, judgement impairment,and could lead you to make poor food choices contributing to weight gain. If you’re feeling the need to clear your mind, focus and improve your sleep and digestion, avoiding alcohol can help you feel more energetic and stay motivated. It can help you get your workouts in and stick to overall healthy eating habits. And the fact that you're not going to the bar can lead to sleeping more, getting up at a decent hour and skipping fewer workouts. Your immune system can also improve with the absence of alcohol. When it comes to your immune system, positive health habits may be more influential than just abstaining from alcohol. Too much alcohol can acutely suppress immune function making you more vulnerable to pathogens, while chronic drinking can lead to inflammatory reactions throughout the body. Additionally, while there isn't data to suggest that ditching booze can protect you from the flu, it's reasonable to assume that drinking less, sleeping more and exercising more can all have a positive influence on your immune system. Dry January will give your liver a break, decreasing the metabolic stress that alcohol puts on the liver. Approximately half of all liver disease deaths are from alcoholic liver disease. As long as you don't use Dry January as an excuse to drink however much you want the other 11 months of the year, it will have positive impacts on most parts of your life and can help improve your health for months to come. Check in with yourself before your first February toast and see if you can keep the momentum for the remainder of 2019.
Holiday Health & Safety Tips It’s the holidays! A time to relax and celebrate with friends and family. Unfortunately, the holidays do not come hazard free and we’re here to make you aware of hazards so you can have a happy and healthy holiday. The endless string of parties, cooking new recipes in your home, even shopping can be hazardous to your wellbeing. The following tips will help you stay risk free this holiday. Avoid Flammable Christmas Trees More than 400 residential fires involve Christmas trees every year. These fires result in as many as 40 deaths and 100 injuries during the holidays. Though Christmas trees cause the fewest holiday-related fires, they account for the greatest percentage of deaths, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Avoid Deep Fried Turkey Fires Deep-frying your turkey is a delicious way to cook your bird, but deep frying can be so dangerous most companies that produce deep fryers refuse to stamp any fryers on the market with its iconic UL logo. From 1998 to 2007, there were at least 138 incidents involving turkey fryers that caused 36 injuries and more than $7.8 million in property loss. Avoid Gift Opening Hazards In addition to the troublesome questions about the safety of the toys themselves, did you know each year about 6,000 people in the United States visit the ER with wounds from trying to pry, slice, or stab open gifts encased in hard plastic containers or held down with a thousand metal twist ties? Crazy, right? Be conscious of what you’re opening and how you’re opening it to avoid this holiday hazard. Avoid Decoration Disasters Did you know more than 5,000 people are injured in decorating-related falls each holiday season? To make sure you're not a statistic this year try the following when stringing lights or hanging mistletoe.
- Check that the ladder is on secure and level ground
- Don't step on the top two rungs of the ladder
- Space the ladder 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet high it reaches
- Stay centered between rails and do not overreach
- For roof access, extend the ladder at least 3 feet above the roof
- Keep the top and the bottom of the ladder clear of obstacles
- Make sure the ladder is locked open
Healthy eating tips more holiday cheer! Have you thought about how to holiday proof your dietary plans this holiday season for healthy eating? Here are a few items that will keep you on track, but still allow you to eat the holiday food you deserve. You may not be able to control what food you’re served, and you’re bound to see other people eating a lot of tempting treats, but follow these tips to help. Holiday Hacks
- Have pumpkin pie instead of pecan pie. Even with a dollop of whipped cream, you’ll cut calories and sugar by at least a third.
- Break physical activity up into smaller chunks so it fits into your schedule, like walking 10 minutes several times a day.
- Schedule some “me” time every day—a nap, dog walk, or hot bath to get your energy back for the next celebration.
- Have a small plate of the foods you like best and then move away from the buffet table.
- Start with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite.
- Eat slowly. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full.
- Avoid or limit alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food. Alcohol can lower blood sugar and interact with diabetes medicines.
- No food is on the naughty list. Choose the dishes you really love and can’t get any other time of year, like Aunt Edna’s pumpkin pie. Slow down and savor a small serving, and make sure to count it in your meal plan.
You’ve got a lot on your plate this time of year, and physical activity can get crowded out. But being active is your secret holiday weapon; it can help make up for eating more than usual and reduce stress during this most stressful time of year. Get moving with friends and family, such as taking a walk after a holiday meal.
Going out more and staying out later often means cutting back on sleep. Sleep loss can make it harder to control your blood sugar, and when you’re sleep deprived you’ll tend to eat more and prefer high-fat, high-sugar food. Aim for 7 to 8 hours per night to guard against mindless eating.
Whew. Heartburn. The holiday meal you just ate was so amazing, but why do you feel so bad after eating it. Heartburn is the culprit. Here is a quick tip to help you avoid the holiday heartburn. Holiday Party Help: Rich, fatty foods, creamy dips, cookies, candies, and decadent desserts are often the holiday party heartburn culprits. Avoid peppermint! Peppermint is a holiday favorite but for heartburn sufferers it is anything but soothing for the belly. Peppermint, mint flavorings, and rich meals can relax the sphincter muscle and allow stomach acids to flow into the esophagus. Tip: Eat five or six smaller meals, instead of larger meals. This can minimize heartburn because smaller amounts of food minimize abdominal pressure. Have fun at holiday parties, avoid your personal trigger foods and drinks, and go lightly when filling your plate. New Year’s Tips: Kick up your heals but try to not have too many cocktails. And if you happen to over due it, you may be paying for it during the first few hours of January. Alcohol, particularly red wine, is one of the biggest heartburn offenders. Tip: Alternate alcoholic beverages with “mocktails” (non-alcoholic drinks). Choosing nonalcoholic drinks is the trifecta of good health: stay well hydrated, avoid that dreaded hangover -- and minimize heartburn.