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December holiday indulgences that can cause serious health problems

Health
 December holiday indulgences that can cause serious health problems (Photo: iStock)

By pure coincidence, this week’s article comes at the very start of the last calendar month of the year, December. This is only true accepting the adoption of the Gregorian calendar as the default universal reference.

Mostly by design, December is linked to key celebrations associated with Christianity. Also, by design, December is a key holiday month for families and individuals, businesses and governmental agencies. All these factors open December to all sorts of merry-making.

Festivities tend to come with lots of indulgences, which if left unchecked can be a recipe for ill health. There tend to be lots of foods, some of the healthy type, and some plainly unhealthy. There are those who will easily get lame excuses to drink in excessive amounts. Others will not only smoke but will also use other toxic illicit drugs. Those who end up with various levels of intoxication may end up getting into risky behaviour, such as driving under the influence or having unprotected casual sex.

It is pretty obvious that festive events in December can have an impact on your health. If you are the sensible type and do everything in moderation, your health will remain intact, or become even better. But if you end up being carefree, the impact on your health could be disastrous. You may end up with an acute illness.

Or you may just predispose yourself to chronic conditions that will require long-term medical interventions. At the extreme end, you may feast and dine yourself to an early endpoint, read that as premature death.

Let’s look at how your health can be impacted negatively in December. Lots of refined carbs predispose you to metabolic conditions. Even though this happens mostly with longer-term habits, there’s always a starting point. This is more so if you wash it all down with sugary fizzy drinks. Better go for complex unrefined carbohydrates, mixed with plenty of veggies and fruits. In other words, mostly plant-based and fresh foods should be your default, and well beyond the last month of the year. Watch your alcoholic drinks. The science about alcohol and health is undisputed. There are no real safe drinking levels. Those who drink in excess are predisposed to many chronic conditions, including higher risks of certain cancers.

Those binge drinking during the festivities open themselves up to acute alcohol intoxication. This can leave you with multiple organ damage, at worst it could kill you instantly. Drink driving is a no-brainer, just don’t do it this December. And if you think about it, there are endless things you could do this December that are potentially harmful. Conversely, there’s so much you can do to remain on the healthier side, both in the short and the long term. As they say, the choice is yours.

Dr Alfred Murage, Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility Specialist.

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