Oh, however it's spelled, hope you're having a delightful one...
Now that the "turkey makes you sleepy" Thanksgiving myth as been debunked (turkey contains no more tryptophan than any other animal...it's how much you eat that does it...particularly all those simple carbs...), we're doing you the same favor when it comes to Christmas: separating fact from fiction.
Holiday eating causes weight gain...
Many people do gain weight over the six-week holiday period from Thanksgiving through New Year. But maybe not as much as you think. One recent study reports an average weight gain of a little less than two pounds, and even if the scale doesn’t change, you may put on more body fat.
Primary culprits are eating more than your usual 3 times per day, and skipping meals like breakfast; also not eating prior to a party to "save up calories" for the feast will actually cause you to eat more when you get there.
While not particularly common, falls from ladders and roofs do go up over the holidays (string some lights, anyone?!). So please be extra careful hanging those outdoor lights, stringing the tree as you get to the top, and when taking down all the lights.
Fires from candles also spike—December is the peak time of the year for home fires caused by candles. Make sure you keep candles at least a foot from anything that could catch fire—and make sure you blow them all out completely before bedtime.
This is particularly germane for we Boomers given our higher rate of risks factors (heart disease, high BP, and obesity).
First, heart attacks are more common in winter than summer, in part because cold weather can increase blood pressure and other risk factors in people with heart conditions.
Then there’s something about Christmas week that’s especially dangerous. Even in mild Los Angeles & Florida, heart attack deaths start rising after Thanksgiving, climb through Christmas, and peak around New Year’s Day—and then fall again in January and February.
So if you or someone you know has heart disease or significant risk factors, pay special attention to eating right, getting exercise, getting enough sleep, and keeping stress low. Big meals high in fat and salt can pose risks. Pay attention to side effects, too, since what may feel like heartburn or indigestion could be signs of a heart attack.
“You’ve heard you have to be really careful, especially around children and pets, but the truth is poinsettias aren’t linked to any significant problems,” says Rachel Vreeman, MD, MS, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine and co-author of Don’t Swallow Your Gum: Myths, Half Truths, and Downright Lies About Your Body and Health.
One review of 23,000 cases in which people called the Poison Control Center found no deaths and no significant poisoning. Studies show a child of 50 pounds would have to eat 500 leaves or so to get really sick.
Similarly, mistletoe berries, while not really edible, aren’t particularly toxic to people, according to the New York Times. Both plants also have low toxicity for children and animals.
In truth, the suicide rate in December is the lowest of any month of the year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “People actually have more emotional and social support during this time of year, and there are fewer psychiatric visits and fewer suicide attempts,” says Dr. Vreeman.
It’s true around the world, too. “We don’t see suicide peaks in the cold, dark winter months—in fact, the rates peak in the warmer months.” Perhaps T.S. Eliot was right about April being the cruelest month…
“Sugar has been studied better than many drugs. There are at least 12 randomized controlled studies, and in study after study, whether they look at juice or natural sugar or candy or chocolate, there is no effect on kids’ behavior.”However, research does show that if parents think their kids have had sugar, they’ll rate their children’s behavior as worse. They did so even with kids who were given sugar-free beverages. But, when strangers were shown videotapes of the kids, they didn’t notice any behavioral changes in the sugar eaters.
So why do kids eat sweets and act crazy? “It’s not the sweets, it's the party atmosphere; there are other kids around, the rules have changed, there may be different bedtimes...” says Dr. Vreeman. But because these happen to be the occasions at which kids also eat sugary foods, the sugar gets the blame....erroneously.
Actually, the most dangerous days of the year for fatal car crashes are July 4th, Memorial Day and Labor Day; in some years Thanksgiving has surpassed New Year's eve as well.
Still, it is riskier to drive on New Year’s than on other days of the year, so it’s a good day to stay home if you can. And there are plenty of car crashes in the days leading up to Christmas, so be extra careful while doing all that extra driving for gift hunting.
Nope...That includes artichokes, aspirin, bananas, Vegemite, various drugs and herbs, and many, many things.
There is a bit of evidence that the cysteine in eggs - an amino acid - might help the body clear out toxic alcohol metabolites, though. “An egg sandwich might be a good way to go when you have a hangover, but it’s still a stretch,” says Dr. Vreeman.
As for dropping a raw egg yolk into that mysterious tonic your brother recommends for the day after, skip it: Raw eggs can carry salmonella. And getting food poisoning is the last thing you want right now.
The only cure for a hangover is to not consume mass quantities of alcohol so you don't get one in the first place.
You have been officially alerted....