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Health tips for the holiday season

WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- It’s the most wonderful time of the year, unless you’re not taking care of yourself properly.

Doctors say health risks sky rocket during the holiday season, but we have some tips on how you can stay merry and healthy throughout Christmas time.

People are making their favorite holiday desserts and knocking gifts off their Christmas lists, yet somehow through the mix they often forget to take care of themselves. Medical experts are reminding us all to keep an eye out for our health.

Some say Christmas time is like a stocking filled with sugary goodness.

“I like to eat things that I don’t make all year, probably stollen, it’s like a German cake,” says Shirley Knade of Williamsport.

Yet too much sugar could send you on a downward spiral.

“Especially processed foods, increased fatty foods, etc. can lead to people getting increased blockages in their blood vessels, and you’re not getting blood flow to your brain, and that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease and different types of dementia,” says Dr. Jason Dinko, MD at Geisinger Family Medicine.

Dr. Dinko says a piece of pie here and there is not going to kill you, but if you are going to fill up on the sweets, try to go with the least sugar ones.

“Dark chocolate is a purer form of chocolate and it sometimes can be healthier,” he said.

“Everybody should know that dark chocolate is the perfect food,” says Bonnie Katz, owner of Le Chocolat.

Katz says when she’s not refilling the dark chocolates in the store, she’s working on stocking up other items.

“The only thing that stresses me out is making sure we have enough product in the store to make our customers happy,” says Katz.

Stress, whether at work or home, is something doctors especially advise to try and stay clear of.

“Lack of sleep, overstress, or things like that can even make the most common issues worse,” says Dr. Dinko. “It can make people’s pain worse, it can make people’s blood pressure go up.”

“Stressing me out is not enough time,” says Knade.

Dr. Dinko says to avoid stress you should head to the stores early to get your shopping done before the heavy crowds get in. This way you’re also getting outside where sunlight provides Vitamin D, which helps with seasonal depression.

“People are staying inside, they’re staying bundled up, they’re not out in the sun as much, and low levels of Vitamin D can lead to a whole bunch of problems,” says Dr. Dinko.

He says it’s important to still enjoy the holidays, just make sure you’re not going crazy and overboard with them.

An individuals weight increases, on average, about one and a third pound during the Christmas-New Years season.

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