No one ever wants to be sick, but it’s even worse to be down and out during the holidays. But since a lot of our festivities include food and drinks, we have to be more careful to avoid germs while we’re eating and drinking. The authors of the new book “Did You Just Eat That?” learned through germ-covered experiments that these are the situations to avoid this holiday season to help stay healthy.
- Eating birthday cake - Before you say yes to a slice of your bestie’s holiday birthday cake, consider that their studies show blowing out birthday candles can transfer oral bacteria to the cake surface. So unless you want a bunch of bacteria with your cake, you may want to politely decline.
- Using hand air dryers - Some think these are cleaner than paper towel dispensers, but hand air dryers blow bacteria around along with warm air. This study found an average of more than 18,000 bacteria on restroom hand air dryers in grocery stores, more than 2,000 in gas stations and on a college campus. So pass on these, please.
- Requesting ice and lemons - Do you know how clean the hands of the person touching your ice and lemons for your drink are? Of course not, but research shows hands with E. coli on them transferred to 100% of the wet lemons or ice they touched, so do you really need ice and lemons in your water at the restaurant?
- Sharing food - Sharing food also means sharing oral microbes, so taking a bite of someone’s dinner means you’re transferring more bacteria and raising your risk of getting sick.
- Movie theater popcorn - It’s a good snack while you’re watching a holiday blockbuster, but those seats and armrests you touch before grabbing a handful of popcorn have been touched by lots of other hands and they’re probably contaminated with fecal bacteria. If you touch them and then eat more popcorn, you could get those germs on your snack.
- Handling a menu - Restaurant menus are handled by staffers and customers many times a day and are probably not cleaned often. That means before you even order, you’re touching a menu that’s probably covered in bacteria and then you’re going to eat with those hands, so you might want to wash up first.
Source: Washington Post
All the Christmas cookies and festive holiday cocktails may help make this the most wonderful time of the year, but the holidays definitely aren’t the healthiest time. No one wants to be a Grinch by saying no, but adding in a few healthy holiday traditions like these can help balance things out.
- Try a fun run - Holiday fun runs have fun names like turkey trot or Hanukkah hot chocolate run. You can probably find a 5K one happening near you that supports a good cause and turn training for and participating in it an annual affair.
- Start a family fitness tradition - Establish a yearly post-present hike or even just a walk around the neighborhood after your holiday dinner. Anything that gets you and your loved ones off the couch and moving will work.
- Add a healthy recipe to your repertoire - You’ve already perfected the art of the sugar cookie, so try becoming the Salad Master or the Quinoa Queen by using your cooking prowess on a good-for-you dish.
- Give back - Mental health is important to holiday wellbeing too, so give yours a boost by helping others this season. Make volunteering an annual commitment and give time to a food pantry, a shelter, or visiting a nursing home.
- Keep a holiday gratitude journal - Just because Thanksgiving has passed doesn’t mean you should stop counting your blessings. Jot down a few things you’re thankful for every day and you’ll have a record of all the lovely things you appreciate in your life right now.
- Take a social media break - We know you want to post your cutest holiday party photos on Instagram, but lots of research shows that our social media habits are actually bad for our mental health. Comparing ourselves to everyone we see on Instagram and Facebook can make us feel inadequate and anxious, so taking a holiday break can help us focus on our own holiday fun, not everyone else’s.
- Host a healthy New Year’s brunch - Ring in the New Year right by starting with a healthy meal on January 1st. This tradition could even help you and your nearest and dearest stick to your resolutions to stay healthy all year long.
Source: Brit + Co