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Do not bring us the Figgy Pudding!

Christmas is a notorious time for overindulgence and expanding waistbands. Research suggests that weight gain over the 4 week Christmas period can be as much as 2kg, which is an awful lot of mince pies! Whilst most people do not maintain this level of overindulgence throughout the year (not to mention the New Years resolution to shift those creeping pounds) there are a few festive foods for the health conscious, which are packed with nutrition and can be enjoyed (nearly) guilt free!

1. Clementines– A popular fruit at Christmas, this little gem is packed with vitamin C, thiamin, potassium and dietary fibre. They are naturally high in sugar but swap a few mince pies for these when you crave something sweet, at only 35 calories each they are a saintly snack.

2. Chestnuts – Often overshadowed by their popular counterpart-the Brussels sprout, this nut contains high levels of vitamin C, lower fat content than other types of nut and high levels of minerals, in particular potassium. Potassium is highly rated for helping lower blood pressure (often running high in the stressful Christmas season) and heart rate.

3. Carrots– Rudolph’s preferred mid-present delivery snack. From the taproot family of vegetables, high in vitamins, minerals and beta-carotene. Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A by the body which helps with visual function and frontline bodily defense against infections and diseases. These will help keep away the dreaded ‘Christmas colds’ and other festive spirit-dampening ailments.

4. Turkey– Trussed and carved, the ultimate centrepiece for any Christmas Dinner table. Turkey is a lean meat which is low in saturated fat but high in protein and phosphorus which is essential for bone and teeth growth, not to mention it is a main component of every body cell.

5. Brussels Sprouts – Either love them or hate them, this Christmas dinner Brassica is without doubt full of good things (even if they smell somewhat suspect). Sprouts contain a whole host of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin K can be found in each one of these little green machines, which has been found to help limit neuronal damage and even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s!

6. Parsnips – This taproot is a classic Christmas dinner vegetable. High in fibre( but also natural sugars) this vegetable contains folic acid, vitamin b-6 and pentathenic acid which is known for it’s stress busting properties. Perfect after slaving away in a hot kitchen with hungry mouths to feed!

7. Cranberries – This berry is often sidelined to a table sauce at Christmas, which is high in sugar but the berries themselves are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They contain Manganese, a mineral known for health benefits such as maintaining healthy bones and sugar levels, promoting optimal functioning of the thyroid and for helping the body absorb other key nutrients.

8. Cinnamon – this fragrant spice is full of antioxidants, essential oils and minerals. It has been used for centuries in medicine for its antiseptic, anesthetic and anti-inflammatory qualities. It has the highest anti-oxidant level for all natural foods, combating nasty free-radicals. Cinnamon has also been found to have anti-clotting properties, helping reduce the risk of strokes and coronary disease.

9. Smoked salmon – This cured fish is a popular choice for a celebratory brunch or Christmas Party canapés. High in omega-3, this food can help with brain function, cell function and improved cardiovascular function. Other benefits from Omega-3 include improved joint operation and some research has shown it to help alleviate symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis.

Top 10 tips to relax this Christmas!

Christmas Day is very much upon us, and with just 12 days to go, the Christmas spirit is very much in  full flow. Everyone will start to feel the stress levels increase, and our lives become jam packed with Christmas shopping, seeing family, and meeting end of work deadlines. Amongst all the “busyness” we often forgetting that our bodies and minds need time to stop, unwind and relax.

We touched on this topic lastyear, and the positive feedback from our Twitter followers (@healthyhideout) encouraged us to post an updated version. Why not try a few of the Healthy Hideout’s top 10 ways to unwind this festive month:

Find yourself a little quiet time

Before continuing with anything after arriving home from the office, be sure to spend at least 5 minutes sitting in a quiet place to relax your mind. Close your eyes and breath deeply during this time. It will allow your mind to empty the stress of the working day.

Make the work commute fun!

Enjoy this time by yourself in the car or on the train doing something you enjoy. Why not try taking your favourite novel to work and reading through a few chapters, or perhaps listen to a few of your favourite  musical numbers. You could even throw in a few Christmas classics for good measure!

Try to write everything down

If you have too many things on your mind, or are trying to juggle too many tasks, grab a pen and notepad and start to jot things down. Give yourself a quick time frame for each task, and then work through them one step at a time. There’s simply no point in trying to remember 100 things at once!

Keep your home tidy

Clutter around the house can quickly become overwhelming, and can often make you feel like you’re out of control. Take a few minutes each day to tidy away any mess, and try to keep on top of general cleaning bit by bit.

Leave work, at work

Try to avoid bringing any work from the office to your home. Mixing your working life with the comforts of your home can quickly become stressful. If you must bring work home, try to limit yourself to just a few nights a week.

Drop it at the front door

Get yourself a container or box large enough to hold your work bag or office brief case and place it next to the front door. When you get in from work, put it all in the box and don’t touch it until the next working day.

Take a bath or sauna

The bathroom is often one room in the house with a catch or lock on the door. Run yourself a nice hot bath, lock the door and escape for at least 1 hour. It’ll do wonders for your stress.

Spread your chores

Try not to pack all your “must-do” chores into a single evening. Try doing the laundry one evening, followed by Christmas shopping the next night. Spreading the load makes it easier to handle.

Recognise the ritual

Set yourself a standard “start to the evening” that you’ll look forward to at the end of each day. Even if it’s something as simple as a cup of tea at the dining table. At this point, you know your evening has officially begun.

Play it loud!

Playing enjoyable fun music throughout your home, lifts both you and your families spirits! A few sing-along Christmas carols can’t hurt, so be sure to re inject the Christmas spirit into your home!

With these tips, you’ll find the uncountable stress of Christmas becoming easier to manage. Remember this is the season to be jolly, and Christmas is meant to be enjoyed. How are your Christmas preparations coming along? Many of us at the Healthy Hideout already have our Christmas Trees up!

Top 6 Tips to a Healthy Heart

Many of us believe that in order to maintain a healthy heart, serious action is needed such as the intake of medicines and rigorous diet changes. The truth is, simple short term changes can have lasting long term effects.

Many research studies have shown the healing power of a positive attitude and having a generally good time with life – We only get one after all, so why not make the most of it!

Here are the Healthy Hideout’s top 6 tips towards a healthy heart!

Enjoy life to the fullest! Your heart will thank you for it!

Enjoy life to the fullest! Your heart will thank you for it!

Enjoy Life to the fullest

Studies have shown that people who laugh more and have lives filled with activity are much less likely to fall victim to a heart condition. When we finally decide to fly the nest and leave our parents house after signing a mortgage agreement of our own, adult responsibilities tend to result in the fun coming to a sudden stop. Maintain some childlike fun in your daily lives – Your healthy heart will thank you for it.

Spend time relaxing

The cycle tends to be the same for most of us. As life begins to gather pace, more things need doing, stress levels boom and the risk of heart disease increases.  The world moves along at the fast pace, a pace that you can’t change. You can however change your response to it. Dedicate a time in the day to get away from it all and relax your mind, be it with yoga, reading your favourite book or even walking the dog.

It’s only one glass!

Studies by the British Heart foundation have shown that those who choose to drink a glass of wine with their evening meal may lower their heart disease risk by at least 30 percent.  A small amount of alcohol enjoyed each day may be better than practising abstinence, and is of course better than drinking excessively. Red wine in particular is associated with having a strong healthy heart.

Create your own home haven

Spending time relaxed rather than being stressed can halve your heart disease risk, so why not create your own haven in the comfort of your own home? Plenty of natural light, soothing music and an abundance of fresh flowers are great starting points. Have a dedicated quiet space in the house to ensure you have a place to think without interruption.

Soothe your soul

Belief in yourself helps to to keep you mentally grounded, which can help towards maintaining a clear focus. Research has shown that people who use positive words such as “hope” and “joy” tend to outlive their pessimistic others by a decade. Try to embrace all the good things in your life, rather than focusing on the negatives – It’s obvious, but happiness is better than anger.

Have fun and socialise!

Our hearts are healthier when in the company of others that we know and love. Try not to make excuses by not having enough time, and surround yourself with family and friends! It’ll do wonders for your well being, without you even thinking about it.

So what do you do in your daily lives to help maintain a healthy heart? The Healthy Hideout would love to hear your recommendations.

10 Funny For Sale signs!

Here at the Healthy Hideout, we understand that selling your home is a stressful time. You want the entire process to be over quickly whilst having as few hiccups as possible.

But let’s face it – Not all of us were born to sell. Here are the Healthy Hideout’s top 10 funny for sale signs along with some useful advice:

1. Make an effort – Remember that selling a property often involves a large sum of money exchanging hands. Why not increase your chances by making an effort?

Try and make an effort!

Try and make an effort - It'll increase your selling chances

2. Point out your positives – If you have certain highlights within your property, such as a pool, make sure potential buyers know this.

Got a pool? Make sure you advertise it!

Got a pool? Perhaps a games room? Make sure your buyers know.

3. Avoid confusion – Be clear with what your selling and at what price. Confusion will just lead to wasted time for both parties.

Be clear with what your selling!

Be clear with what your selling!

4. Proof read all selling literature – If you’re utilising external advertising mediums to promote your property, be sure to double check all your spelling and grammar before it’s published.

Promoting your property is key!

Promoting your property is key - The more people that see it the better.

5. Ensure estate agents are working for their fee – Keep tabs on your chosen estate agent or realtor, making sure they’re doing everything they can to help sell your property.

What am I buying here?

What exactly am I buying here?

6. Be Honest – When describing your property to potential buyers, it’s important to try and be as honest as possible. You’ll be saving precious time for both you and any interested onlookers.

Honesty is the best policy!

Honesty is the best policy!

7. Can’t Sell? Explore rental – If you’re having difficulty selling, always explore the option of putting your property up for rent. It’s a great way of keeping your property “lived in” and maintained, whilst providing you with a steady income.

Explore rental if you can't sell!

Explore rental if you can't sell.

8. Sign Placement – Although it may seem obvious be sure to place your sign where it can be seen, preferably in front of your property. This saves confusion and maximises potential.

Placing signage at the front of your property is best!

Placing a sign at the front of your property is best!

9. De-clutter your home – When potential buyers are walking around your property, they’ll constantly be visualising themselves living there to see if it truly works for them. Get rid of clutter and sell on items you don’t need. It’s also a great way to raise some extra funds for your move.

A garage sale can raise extra cash!

A garage sale can raise extra cash!

10. Promote the neighbourhood – Buyers like to know that a neighbourhood is going to be pleasant to live in. If you have friendly neighbours, it may be worth you introducing them to one another for added kudos!

Promote your friendly neighbourhood!

Promote your friendly neighbourhood!