I love the holidays and all the wonderful warmth, cheer and homey scents that go along with it. But did you know those wonderful smells can help enhance our mood and potentially our health?
So if you are hosting party guests this holiday season set the mood with holiday aromas to kick things off.
According to WellnessWatchersMD.com, “Our sense of smell (called olfaction) is intimately connected to the part of the brain that triggers emotional memory. Before you even have a chance to figure out what the smell is, you have an immediate emotional response.”
The site says that if you want to get happy and into the holiday spirit, start with the Christmas tree.
“In studies by Dr. Alan Hirsch, a psychiatrist and neurological director at The Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, the smell of fresh pine 'evoked feelings of nostalgia,' he says, 'and 84 per cent of the time, these feelings were associated with a positive mood.'"
Researchers also suggest that the scent of cinnamon has a positive effect on your blood flow, saying the aroma can “actually bring blood from the centre of the body toward the skin. This action disperses blood throughout the body more evenly, which may decrease blood pressure.”
Let's move on from scents to taste.
We should make sure we sample a few treats and not overindulge. When you’re hosting, it is easy to pick while preparing, especially if we are stressed out about getting everything done.
CDC.com offers these tips to help manage stress:
“Don't overcommit yourself and prevent holiday anxiety and pressure. Get enough sleep.”
You also want to delegate and if someone offers to help or bring something, take them up on it.
I like to be the host, so I can get others what they need and stay busy and socialize, rather than spend my time hovering around the buffet.
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has these holiday suggestions:
“Eat healthy, and get moving. Eat fruits and vegetables. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt and sugar. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.”
On party day I take the time to exercise, so I will be less stressed. Doing this also sets a good example for the rest of the family.
According to Southbeachdiet.com, “ When you exercise, your body releases feel-good hormones called endorphins, which help relieve tension and keep your blood-sugar levels stable so that you don't get cravings.”
But all work and no downtime is not much fun when hosting. The site also suggests a relaxing glass of wine instead of beer or sugary mixed drinks.
“If you like wine, have a glass once you've had an hors d'oeuvre or later during the meal. Making sure you have food in your system when you drink slows the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream and helps keep your blood-sugar levels steady.”
When the party's over send your guests home with a platter. My personal strategy for avoiding temptation is to give it away, store it away in the freezer and if it has been sitting out too long, to throw it away. This way, you will get right back on track the next day!
“Holiday Scents That Can Help Your Health – WellnessWatchersMD.com.” Wellness Watchers. Web. 11 Dec. 2012.
“Twelve Health and Safety Tips for the Holidays – CDC.Gov.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Web. 11. Dec. 2012.
“ South Beach Diet Party Guidelines – SouthBeachDiet.com.” The South Beach Diet. Web. 11 Dec. 2012.
Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training.
Joanne's fitness plans and recipes are available globally on her website www.fitnessanswer.com/ She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband and son, where she runs her personal training business, Fitness Answer, LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith