Wellness

Dr. Oz shares his five rules for a healthier holiday

Follow Dr. Oz’s easy tricks to indulge without the bulge (we will!) — and feel your absolute best this festive season.

Rosemary herbs

Add rosemary to your healthy holiday arsenal (Photo Masterfile).

1. Get a handle on true hunger
We gain an average of one pound each winter, and while that may not seem like a lot, consider this: The average person never loses that extra weight. (Over 10 years, it adds up to almost 10 unwanted pounds!) One way to ward off seasonal weight gain is to eat only when you’re truly hungry. How do you know? Start by checking the time. If less than three hours has passed since you last ate something, try drinking water before grabbing a bite. Next, learn to recognize the signs of real hunger — like physical pangs, headache or feelings of weakness. By eating only when you’re truly hungry, you reduce the total calories you take in, improve blood sugar levels and help lower insulin resistance (all of which help prevent type 2 diabetes).

2. Ease up on the alcohol
Don’t worry about ruling out booze altogether. In moderation, a drink can be good for your heart. That means 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor. Choose your glass wisely: One study found people using short, wide glasses were more likely to over-pour, but when they switched to tall thin glasses, they poured about 20 percent less. And be sure to cut yourself off well before bedtime. While a nightcap may cause you to doze off temporarily, alcohol ultimately disrupts nightly shut-eye by decreasing REM sleep and causing more night-time awakenings.

3. Eat smart to boost immunity
Ward off seasonal colds with fruits like cranberries and clementines. These holiday faves are bursting with antioxidants to keep your heart and blood vessels happy. Thanks to vitamins A and C, they also pack a punch for your immune system. Tart cranberries offer antibacterial benefits, which are known to lower the risk of urinary-tract infections. For the biggest boost, eat your cranberries fresh, not dried.

4. Stamp out heartburn
Often an unpleasant side effect of the fattening foods and fancy drinks we load up on at this time of year, heartburn occurs when stomach acid splashes up into your esophagus. Avoid that uncomfortable burning sensation by leaving the tight-fitting clothes in your closet, especially those LBDs that cinch your waist. And plan big meals early enough that you won’t have to lie down or bend over for three hours after. For a natural remedy, sip some licorice root tea.

5. Use scents to de-stress
Scents of the season are just what you need to boost mood and fight the blues. For an energizing lift, sniff some rosemary. This refreshing smell has a stimulatory effect on the brain to help you power through whatever energy crisis the holidays throw your way. I like to arm myself with a simple spritz, made by adding a sprig of rosemary to water. And to soothe stress, look (or smell) no further than lively peppermint. Dab a bit on your temples or forehead to ease frayed nerves and revive your holiday spirit.

For more health tips from Dr. Oz click here.