Christmas may not be a time you naturally associate with health benefits, however there are some real up sides to this time of feasting and celebration. Christmas is a time when we gather together and connect with others close to us like family, and we connect more socially in the wider community, in our work places, with our friends and neighbours.
Surprisingly people who lack close relationships carry the same risk to their health as smokers and obese people. Loneliness is literally a killer. The benefits of spending time together and connecting with our loved ones are massive for our mental and physical well-being. Good strong relationships in the community and with close friends and family has been shown to give your immune system a boost and also to guard against the onset of age-related dementia and cardiovascular disease. So, enjoy all those parties and get-togethers, and improve your health as you party.
Another plus we can take from Christmas is that it is also a time of reflection. We tend to look back on our year and our health and our wealth and take stock of where we are and where we want to be. We often start the process of forming our New Year’s resolutions or at least making some plans. As we reflect, if we take a certain attitude, we can also benefit our spirit.
That attitude is gratitude! Counting our blessings, as we say. The habit of being thankful increases our happiness levels right there and then. All we need to do is pause and list for ourselves what we are grateful for in our lives. Doing this at a set time or keeping a gratitude diary helps establish the habit. Talking about the good in our lives with loved ones has the added benefit of increasing our closeness and connection, as well as our happiness.
Wishing you a happy, connected Christmas and a life full of blessings to count.
What are probiotics, and can they help us in our search for good health?
Probiotics are microbe-rich foods or supplements that help our digestion by encouraging the growth of "good" bacteria. We have millions of bacteria living in our large intestine and throughout our gut, and these microbes play an important role in processing the nutrients from our food.
Each person has a unique "biome" or microbial environment in their gut. Our biome is genetic and is also affected by diet, certain illnesses and medicines. When we have taken antibiotics or had a stomach bug the healthy balance of bacteria is lost and our immune and digestive systems are compromised.
Too much sugar and highly processed food in the diet favours certain unhealthy, yeast forming types of "bad" bacteria. These food choices are now known to have a detrimental effect on our ability to digest well and fight infections because of their effect on our biome.
Eating probiotic foods like sour dough bread, sauerkraut and kefir (a kind of yogurt drink) provides a rich source of "good" bacteria and including them in our diet will benefit our healthy biome. Taking probiotic supplements is recommended after a course of antibiotics or after having a stomach bug to restore balance to the gut flora.
The research around the biome is very exciting and may hold the key to whole new ways to fight infection and even control weight gain.
Sue shares her 25 years of experience as a professional chore-ographer and 15 years teaching Pilates, helping people to improve their physical health and fitness, correct faulty and painful movement patterns, achieve good posture, grow real core strength and increase their well-being.
Ph 09 816 8825
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