Although visions of sugar plum fairies (and cookies) may be dancing in your head, not all holiday foods are high in fat. In fact, many snacks associated with Christmas actually boast important nutrients and vitamins. Why don't you leave the cookies for Santa and instead load your plate with these important holiday super foods?
- Cinnamon spice: There may be a silver lining to your overindulgence of gingerbread lattes, especially if you garnish these treats with cinnamon. According to recent research, both cinnamon and nutmeg can help lower your cholesterol and maintain insulin levels in your bloodstream.
- Poultry: Chances are your holiday feast will consist of some sort of poultry. Did you know that a serving of turkey provides our bodies with nearly half of the recommended daily dose of folic acid and is also an excellent source of vitamin B, zinc and potassium? These beneficial nutrients can lower your cholesterol, decrease your risk of developing cancer and give your immune system a boost.
- Sweet potatoes: "Sweet potatoes are among the healthiest vegetables around — so long as they don't get doused with butter, marshmallows, or some other high-calorie holiday sabotage," reports Fitness Magazine. "If roasted — which keeps the flavor very intense without adding fat — sweet potatoes burst with fiber, vitamin A, potassium, and phytochemicals, which stave off aging, cancer, and arthritis." Since sweet potatoes are also high in fiber, they will help keep you full and make you less likely to indulge in high-calorie snacks.
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The practice of yoga has been around since ancient times and is known for its physical and mental healing properties. Nowadays, both celebrities and non-famous yogis alike are turning to the exercise to help them ease pain. In fact, a review of 20 years worth of studies, conducted by researchers at Duke University Medical Center, shows that yoga can help alleviate chronic pain resulting from carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.
"Performed correctly, yoga's fluid movements allow swollen or otherwise painful joints to glide smoothly over one another, increasing mobility and strength without excess wear and tear," reports Prevention Magazine.
The great thing about yoga is that, unlike other forms of exercise, it is not strenuous on your body and can actually promote healing. You can modify your practice depending on your specific pain points. Take a look at some yoga poses that are shown to ease the aches in various parts of your body:
- Butterfly: This simple pose is known to relieve hip pain, and is also a great position to meditate in. Simply sit on your mat with your heels pressed together. Gently push your knees to the ground so that you feel a gentle stretch throughout your hips.
- Warrior: This pose is especially beneficial if you have knee pain. To get into this position, stand tall and place your hands against a wall at shoulder height. Act as if you're trying to push the wall away, stepping your right foot forward and your left foot behind you by one to three feet.
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Have you ever been so tired throughout the day, but when it comes time to hit the hay you can't fall asleep? Sleepless nights can be a result of many things, ranging from stress to sleep apnea. Recently, Dr. Oz spelled out some important tips to try if you're suffering from insomnia. Take back the night with these helpful suggestions:
- Eat a well-balanced dinner: There's a scientific reason why your Thanksgiving dinner can lull you to sleep. You don't want hunger pains to keep you awake at night. "A small study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adding food high on the glycemic index, like rice and potatoes, to your evening meal roughly four hours before bed could help you fall asleep 49 percent faster than a low-GI meal," states Dr. Oz. "High-GI foods increase the body's levels of the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan."
- Get your daily exercise: According to a 2013 National Sleep Foundation poll, those who work out regularly reported better sleeping patterns than those who don't consistently exercise. Just make sure you're not exercising too close to bedtime, because this may have the reverse effect.
- Use aromatherapy: Lavender can decrease heart rate and blood pressure through its sedative properties. During a study at Wesleyan University, women who sniffed lavender oil before bed time experience 22 percent more restorative slow-wave sleep. Light a lavender candle as you're getting ready for bed, soak in a warm bath with lavender scented salt or purchase lavender-scented diffusers.
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