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The Christmas season is here! As you look forward to the next few weeks of holiday cheer, here are 10 simple tips for staying healthy:

1. Eat dark chocolate. According to well-known health experts Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen, dark chocolate contains flavonoids that can boost energy and immunity. It can also suppress cravings and make you feel happier.

2. Exercise! A little exercise goes a long way to help boost your energy, metabolism and immune system. Who doesn’t want that during the Christmas season?

3. Wash your hands. Studies continue to show that washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs and viruses. This may seem like a long time, but it’s a small price to pay to keep from being sick for days or weeks. As an additional tip, try washing with lukewarm or cold water. They’re just as effective as hot water, but won’t dry your skin out. If you’re traveling and don’t have access to water and soap, the next best thing is an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol content or more.

4. Smile
According to a study done at the University of Kansas in 2012, the act of smiling can reduce stress and improve your attitude. Talk about an easy fix!

5. Take a little break from media. Online surfing, watching TV and gaming can be fun, but they can also turn you into a couch potato. Stay fit by taking a daily break and going for a 15-20 minute walk.

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6. Pamper yourself. Giving to others is wonderful, but it’s OK to take care of yourself, too. Getting a massage or taking an aromatic bath will help rejuvenate you.

7. Go gift shopping. A fun-filled, gift-shopping adventure is a great way to improve health. According to research mentioned in Men’s Health, the anticipation of highly rewarding events (such as giving gifts) can release dopamine in the brain. Dopamine helps the body recover from stress and is associated with feelings of happiness and motivation. So get out and have fun searching for the perfect gifts!

8. Serve others. Serving others can lower stress levels and promote an overall feeling of well-being. Try going to a local nursing home to cheer someone up or look into local service opportunities.

9. Eat mindfully. To avoid unhealthy weight gain, listen to your body and let it tell you when it’s full. When in doubt, try eating a little less rather than eating too much. Over time, you’ll find a happy balance.

10. Don’t forget your fruits and veggies. Whole fruits and vegetables are irreplaceable. Eating at least a few servings of each per day will arm your body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally and battle colds.

May this Christmas season be merry and bright as you yourself the gift of health by trying out these easy-and-easy health tips!

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Sources:

ABC News. 2013 Feb 5. Soaps and Hand Sanitizers: What Works Best Against Germs? http://abcnews.go.com/Health/germs-hands-best-hand-sanitizer-bacteria/story?id=18412092

McGonigal, Kelly. 2012 Aug 1. Smile your way out of stress? http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-willpower/201208/smile-your-way-out-stress

O’Connor Anahad. 2009 Oct 12. The Claim: Always Wash Your Hands With Hot Water, Not Cold http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/13/health/13real.html

Roizen, Michael., & Oz, Mehment, M.D. (2008) You Being Beautiful. New York, NY: First Free Press.

Schultz, Rachael. 2014 May 06. What are you looking forward to? http://www.menshealth.com/best-life/anticipation

UnitedHealth Group. 2013. Doing good is good for you. http://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/Newsroom/Articles/Feed/UnitedHealth%20Group/2013/0619StudyHealthVolunteering.aspx

 

jon.brimhall

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