Conscious enjoyment: How to get through the Christmas season healthy
Sweets, mulled wine, punch, festive roast: there is often plenty to feast on during Advent and Christmas. The treats usually not only ensure that you gain weight over the holidays, but also strain the liver. Health experts therefore give some tips for consciously enjoying Christmas.
More and more fatty liver diseases
According to health experts, more than a third of Germans suffer from fatty liver. The alcohol-related fatty liver arises from excessive alcohol consumption. Non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD), on the other hand, mostly occurs in people who exercise far too little, suffer from excessive weight or have a wrong diet. According to the German Liver Foundation, the number of patients with NAFLD has risen dramatically: one in four Germans over the age of 40 has already been affected, and the vital organ has also become more and more pathologically altered in many children. The liver is often very stressed, especially in the Christmas season. The German Liver Foundation therefore gives tips for a "happy Christmas".
Advent calendars often contain enormous amounts of calories
You don't necessarily have to gain weight during Christmas, but it takes a lot of discipline.
The Christmas delicacies are not only sold months before the festival, but are also getting bigger and bigger.
The German Liver Foundation points out the example of the advent calendar in a message.
The classic chocolate advent calendar with a content of 80 grams is therefore a discontinued model. The trend for advent calendars is: bigger, fuller, more expensive.
Calorie-rich chocolate bars, hollow figures or canned chips are increasingly waiting behind the 24 doors.
There is not only a nutritious surprise for children every day: calendars for adults are stocked with beer, schnapps or even sausage. And the "calorie calendar" is just the daily start to the Christmas gourmet finale.
Conscious enjoyment during Advent and Christmas
With reference to the increase in non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD) in adults and children, the German Liver Foundation advises conscious enjoyment in the Advent and Christmas season, in which the liver also remains "happy".
"The alarming figures for the non-alcoholic fatty liver hepatitis disease show that there is obviously a need for clarification," said Professor Dr. Michael P. Manns, Chairman of the Board of the German Liver Foundation.
"Especially in the weeks leading up to Christmas and on the holidays, many adults and children combine a plentiful supply of unhealthy food with little physical exercise," said the expert.
"This combination can lead to the so-called metabolic syndrome over a longer period of time, a combination of various risky aspects such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, which also have a very negative effect on the liver."
Lack of exercise and poor nutrition
"Of course, the occasional consumption of a domino or a gingerbread is not the cause of a disease," said Manns.
"It is the western sedentary lifestyle with improper nutrition, according to which many people live their lives all year round. Increased fat deposition in the liver cells can result in fatty liver that can catch fire, ”explained the CEO.
"Chronic liver inflammation can lead to liver fibrosis, which can lead to cirrhosis and liver cell cancer."
However, many people have not noticed their pathological liver for a long time. Because the organ suffers dumb and only when the liver is greatly enlarged does symptoms such as a feeling of pressure in the upper abdomen, fatigue and loss of appetite appear.
In order for a damaged liver to be discovered at an early stage of the disease and to be healed through a changed lifestyle, it is important to test the liver blood values. As a rule, this is not part of routine examinations.
Overweight people and patients with diabetes mellitus in particular should discuss and clarify a possible liver disease when visiting a doctor.
Long walks with the family
The German Liver Foundation advises consumers to pay attention to the "ingredient lists" and "nutritional information" regarding the sugar, salt and fat content when shopping.
For the Advent and Christmas season, Professor Manns advises: "Always keep your measure of greasy dishes such as roast goose, enjoy small portions slowly and consciously."
And further: “Light soups and fresh salads are recommended as starters. And be sure to move between meals - preferably in the fresh air, ”says the expert.
"Especially the time with family or friends at Christmas can be wonderfully used for joint activities such as a long walk."
And elsewhere, Christmas can be “happy”: you can fill the colorful plate with mandarins, walnuts and almonds instead of chocolate and marzipan. And offer stollen or gingerbread in small pieces.
However, this recommendation also applies to the time after Christmas, as Professor Manns emphasizes: "All year round, a moderate diet in combination with exercise is important to keep the liver and the whole body healthy." (Ad)