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Watch how you eat this festive season

 Watch your health this festive season (Photo: iStock)

The year's last and most festive month (for many) has already begun. Festivities are usually intertwined with excesses, not least eating and drinking habits, all compounded by short-term behavioural changes.

Obviously, such habits can have a negative impact on your health, thereby necessitating a cautionary approach to what you might be doing during the festive season.

Let's start with food. What you eat has a direct correlation with your overall health. Festivities tend to be laden with foods rich in carbohydrates, animal proteins and lots of processed junk foods.

All of these predispose you to metabolic conditions, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Even short-term indulgence in such foods isn't healthy either. You should substitute your foods with healthier choices, which are mostly plant-based and freshly made.

You must also watch what you will be drinking. The tendency to wash off all that festive food with soft and sugary drinks is tempting.

That only adds up to more metabolic health risks. Alcohol is in a class of its own in terms of health risks, especially when taken in excessive amounts. What you need is plain old water, and you can be liberal with this.

The odd toasting with fancy drinks is unlikely to be harmful in the long run, but resist the temptation to go beyond the toasting.

Some may feel obliged to try new habits whilst in a celebratory mode. Think of smoking, vaping, drugs and other related activities.

The negative health effects of all that are common sense, don't do it. Others may want to hop back and forth between competing parties.

Only drive to other venues if you will be staying completely sober. Driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs must be a no-no.

Too many avoidable deaths already occur on our roads. Adding onto that more carnage due to reckless driving is inexcusable. You may be taking a break from work for most of this festive month.

The temptation to idle about, eat and drink plenty will be overriding. But that wouldn't be too healthy. Being too sedentary is linked with all sorts of health problems.

You need to be doing some sort of physical activity, whatever you might fancy. Walking, running, bicycling, gardening or whatever else should be part of your routine.

This will keep your cardiovascular, metabolic and musculoskeletal systems in good check. And feed onto your ongoing health if you maintain such habits long term.

Festivities are also about socialising. Do plenty of this, and keep it going even beyond the merry season.

Those who maintain active social circles appear to maintain better physical and mental health, and they also live longer. Be choosy this festive season, and keep mostly on the healthier pathway.

Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynaecologist and Fertility Specialist. [email protected]

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