(health) Why too much turkey is actually GOOD for you: Seven health benefits of embracing the Christmas holidays

Feeling like you've OD'd on the festivities?

Don't sweat it.

In fact, you can feel perfectly virtuous, because according to the health and wellness experts Christmas and New Year celebrations are actually good for us.

Here are seven reasons why...

1. Turkey makes you happy

Turkey is one of the healthiest meats and is also a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid often used for helping with mood. Shona Wilkinson, Nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com explains: "It is converted in the body to a substance known as serotonin and serotonin is known as the happy hormone.

"Turkey is also almost pure protein and therefore a great way of obtaining your protein intake without having to worry about fat intake as well. Eating turkey will also help to balance blood sugar levels, so will assist in giving you a steady release of energy throughout the day and avoiding slumps in energy, " says Wilkinson.

Jessica Alba is a turkey fan pic: instagram/cashwarren

Jessica Alba is a turkey fan

pic: instagram/cashwarren

2. Game on

Playing games like Monopoly, Twister and charades are great for challenging and stimulating your brain as well as improving memory. Games also encourage you to have a laugh, which is one of the best remedies for stress as it triggers healthy changes in our body.

Leading nutritionist and author of The Natural Health Bible for Women Dr Marilyn Glenville says:  “Many studies show that laughter boosts our energy, decreases stress hormones, improves immunity and diminishes pain. But what’s very important for anyone who is stressed, is that laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the natural feel-good chemicals that make us happier and relaxed."

Author Dr Marilyn Glenville says that games are great because "Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the natural feel-good chemicals that make us happier and relaxed."

Author Dr Marilyn Glenville says that games are great because "Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the natural feel-good chemicals that make us happier and relaxed."

3. EATING AT THE TABLE

Over Christmas many of us dedicate more time to sitting together at a table over meal times, which as well as improving feelings of connection actually works wonders for our health. “Sitting at a table is much better for your digestion, than being slumped on the sofa watching TV. Also, by sitting together at a table you usually take longer to eat your meal, which also helps,” explains nutritionist Wilkinson.

4. Looking to the future

With the end of the year on the horizon, this is often the time we start making ‘healthy’ resolutions, which are beneficial in lots of ways, even if made over a mulled wine.

Katie Booth, CEO and Co-Founder of social fitness app Fitssi says: "Christmas is the perfect time to switch off from work and stress and look towards family, friends and reflect on life. Use it as a rare time to start forming your goals for the year to come."

And including other people in those goals can work as an extra motivation. Booth adds: "Trying something sociable is fun and you also get like-minded people motivating each other."

Katie Booth, CEO and Co-Founder of social fitness app Fitssi says including other people in your fitness goals can work as an extra motivation

Katie Booth, CEO and Co-Founder of social fitness app Fitssi says including other people in your fitness goals can work as an extra motivation

5. STOCKING UP ON SPROUTS

Sprouts are packed full of nutrients, so fill your plate up with as many Brussels as you can. Wilkinson says: "Try to keep those nutrients by just cooking them lightly. Grate over some nutmeg for added flavour. They should be crunchy to the bite, so don’t over cook them!"

And if you can’t face eating your sprouts, but still want to join in with tradition why not try adding them to a smoothie? Nutritionist Cassandra Barns suggests blending with Natures Plus Ultra Juice Green Powder for an extra healthy boost packed full of detoxing goodness including chlorella, fennel seeds and spirulina.

Sprout smoothie anyone? Nutritionist Cassandra Barns suggests blending the greens with Natures Plus Ultra Juice Green Powder for an extra healthy boost packed full of detoxing goodness including chlorella, fennel seeds and spirulina

Sprout smoothie anyone? Nutritionist Cassandra Barns suggests blending the greens with Natures Plus Ultra Juice Green Powder for an extra healthy boost packed full of detoxing goodness including chlorella, fennel seeds and spirulina

6. SMOKED SALMON = GREAT SKIN

Smoked salmon is the perfect starter at Christmas, and beyond: “As well as being necessary for our heart, brain and eye health, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play an essential role in the structure and appearance of the skin. They are incorporated into cell membranes in the epidermis (the top layer of skin) and form a matrix around the cells, helping to maintain the skin’s barrier function and prevent moisture loss,” says Wilkinson.

7. CONSCIOUS CLUBBING 

With most of us getting at least a bit of a break at Christmas it’s an opportunity to have some ‘me’ time, and this year's trend for 'healthonism' is a great opportunity to turn traditional partying sessions into a sneaky bit of self-development AND ditch the morning-after horrors.

Fitssi founder Booth, who is behind sober NYE party 'Rave and Behave', a chance to start the new year with goody bags and a new workout buddy instead of a hangover, says: "Boost your ‘happy hormone’ dopamine with some exercise that doesn't feel like exercise."

"Working out with others means you can have a laugh, spend quality time with friends or meet likeminded people, but instead of sharing a drink at the pub you can be getting fitter and healthier."

Sober New Year Party 'Rave and Behave' will bring together like-minded Londoners for some fitness-based fun

Sober New Year Party 'Rave and Behave' will bring together like-minded Londoners for some fitness-based fun


DETAILS

Rave and Behave is a social fitness event in East London offering workouts, prosecco reception, banging beats and post-workout shakes with fitness guru Bradley Simmonds and top fitness bloggers Healthy Fit Fran, Define By Yeater and Wild Cat Fit.

Tickets £20 at eventbrite.co.uk