FOOD

Knowing These 9 Health Threats Might Save You This Holiday Season

by Angel Chang
Angel is a writer on the Original Content team at LittleThings. Check out her articles about crucial tips on female and doggie health. She loves to take long walks, volunteer with kids, try new food, browse through burger recipes, and code in her spare time. Feel free to let her know what you'd like to see her write up next.

Just because the joyous holiday season has begun, does not mean we should let our guard down when it comes to health threats.

Many health concerns this time of year have lethal consequences, and can wreak havoc on the otherwise pleasant time spent with family and friends.

Before taking steps to ensure that you’ll celebrate a happy and stress-free holiday season, first pay attention to ways you can stave of basic dangers in your home and your body.

In an exclusive guide below, we’ll talk about some of the sneakiest threats to your health this holiday season.

From properly preparing your food, to choosing who you sit with at the dinner table, to knowing which plants to keep around the fireplace, these tips can save your life this Christmas.

Scroll further to see the subtle dangers that you should be avoiding this holiday season — and please SHARE with friends and family!

Threat #1: Winter Bulk

Unknown holiday health threats
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

We all love munching on delicious treats during the Christmas season — but it’s important not to over-indulge.

However, you don’t have to completely pass on all those yummy holiday treats to stay healthy!

To shave off unwanted calories and fat, go easy on adding nuts, creamy sauces, butter, gravy, cheese, and whipped cream. These toppings don’t seem like much, according to WebMD, but it all does add up.

To remedy this, be conscious of what you put on your plate, and leave the party feeling full, but not stuffed.

Threat #2: Well-Disguised Holiday Drinks

Unknown holiday health threats
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

Go ahead and sip on that hot chocolate, and even drink a glass of wine or two — but be wary of rich alcoholic drinks!

They’re loaded with sneaky calories, and their flavor can disguise the taste of alcohol — which might make you a little “jollier” than you were intending!

David Katz, M.D., author of The Flavor Point Diet, suggests that you spend the evening alternating between alcoholic drinks and water or seltzer to keep yourself hydrated and healthy.

Threat #3: Large Groups At The Dinner Table

Unknown holiday health threats
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

It’s no secret that we can  be influenced by the choices our family and friends make.

To better keep track of what you put on your plate, and how often you go back for seconds, try to eat more often with smaller groups.

Research done by Real Simple showed that eating together with six or more people can make you eat up to 76% more than you usually do, because the meal can last so much longer.

Threat #4: Foreign Allergies

Unknown holiday health threats
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

You’re probably already aware of the food allergies and intolerances you have, but the holiday season is the scariest time for unknown, new allergies to attack.

Because there is a ton of food ready to be plated at dinners during the holidays, we may be left clueless about the individual ingredients or makeup of the food that we eat, according to BetterHealthUSA.

To avoid a disaster, try taking food allergy tests to identify any foods or ingredients that you should avoid during holiday parties.

Threat #5: Family Stress

Unknown holiday health threats
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

There’s always going to be that one family member or friend who puts you slightly on edge.

This holiday season, prepare yourself mentally before spending time in close quarters with everyone. What pressures or irritates you? Who would you like to spend more quality time with?

Answering these simple questions will help you better manage the stress that comes with the holidays.

Threat #6: Choking Hazards

Unknown holiday health threats
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

Close to 3,000 people in the country die from choking each year, according to the National Safety Council.

Choking becomes even more of a natural threat when we’re gorging down plate after plate of delicious food during the holidays.

To avoid choking, chew on smaller bites, inspect what you eat before putting it in your mouth, and definitely try not to talk while you eat, according to Health.com.

Threat #7: Poisonous Plants

Unknown holiday health threats
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

Vibrant, festive plants are an integral part of the holiday season. However, it’s important to note that many of them can turn out to be highly toxic.

If you’ll be hosting small children or pets for the holidays, be sure to monitor where you put the holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia, which all contain traces of toxins. Some can even prove to be fatal, if ingested in large amounts.

Even simple plants like pine cones and berries can easily be choking hazards, according to Health.com.

Threat #8: Food Poisoning

Unknown holiday health threats
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

Each year, more than 48 million people are hospitalized because they have suffered from food-related diseases, according to the CDCP.

The holidays are the perfect time for bacteria and parasites to come out and play. The greatest dangers lie in careless food preparation.

Jennifer Caudle, D.O., a family physician, suggests using separate cutting boards to contain bacteria; cooking meats at the proper temperature; and never leaving dishes sitting out for long periods of time.

Threat #9: Flammable Christmas Trees

Unknown holiday health threats
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

Ever year, more than 400 fires in homes have something to do with Christmas trees.

More than 40 deaths and 100 injuries result from these accidental fires, according to the CDCP.

To be safe, go with a a Christmas tree that is flame-resistant and artificial.

If you would rather place a real tree in your home, look for one with bright green needles that are hard to pluck and break, according to the American Christmas Tree Association.

Please SHARE these crucial health risk tips with friends and family over the holidays!