You spend your time at home getting into a routine and developing good habits, only to let them slide for a few weeks a year as you head off on holiday. Research has found that the various ‘naughty’ habits that we get into on holiday could actually be good for our health, in moderation of course. How? Let’s take a look.
Coffee in Piazza Venezia
One of the most enjoyable holiday activities is taking time out of your day to relax with a coffee, perhaps whilst you people watch in the square, such as the Piazza Venezia in Rome. Coffee contains antioxidant properties in the form of chlorogenic acid and caffeine acid- these two properties may reduce inflammation and help to protect you against chronic disease, according to one nutritional therapist. However, it’s important to balance this with the negative effects of too much caffeine, so stick to a basic blend and drop to a smaller cup size.
Beer at Bora Bora Beach Club
Drinking too much alcohol is not great, but we’ve all done it. However, daily consumption of one 330ml bottle of lager is believed by nutritionists to increase the presence of antioxidant activity in the bloodstream, which in turn helps the immune system to strengthen. The study found that drinking three 330ml bottles of beer a day had the reverse effect, which could result in tissue damage.
Messy sheets? No problem
Great news for all the lazy people. If you’re one to throw back the duvet and leave it as is, this may actually be healthier than neatly making your bed. A study by Kingston University found that dust mites thrive in warm, damp conditions but dehydrate and die if you leave your bed unmade. Bit worried about the fact that I made my bed this morning now!
We’ve heard for a while now that short 20 minute naps can be good for you, as they leave you refreshed. However, you should avoid sleeping for longer than this as you will enter a deep sleep cycle and wake up feeling a bit groggy. On holiday, avoid the temptation to nap around the pool (even after a heavy night) and head to a cool, quiet spot out of the sun.
Ice cream dreams
Keeping cool with an ice cream on holiday could actually be better for you than you think. Ice cream contains nutrients such as calcium for bone strengthening, phosphorus for energy and potassium for lowering blood pressure. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should dive head first into a tub of cookie dough, much as we’d like, due to the high fat and sugar content but a small scoop is fine.
Feel the sun on your skin
Everyone knows the danger of too much sun, with sunburn and skin cancer. However, a little bit is good for you. It’s the best source of Vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones. You should try to get 10 minutes of sun exposure on your skin, without sun cream, but make sure not to burn. It’s best to avoid the middle of the day when the sun is strongest.
Dream a little dream
According to a psychotherapist, daydreaming is an important form of resting. It works in a similar way to meditation in giving the brain a little break from everyday stresses. Daydreaming has also been proven to help us when we perform complex tasks and boost intelligence, as it wakes up important parts of the brain.
Not having enough sleep can lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, so that’s one reason to make sure you get plenty of shut-eye.
Hit the breakfast buffet
Indulging in the hotel buffet every breakfast time is something that we all do on holiday. Research from the University of Missouri has found that women who eat a higher protein breakfast (such as sausage and egg) were fuller for a longer period of time than people who ate a breakfast made of less protein but the same amount of fibre and fat. This meant that they were less likely to snack or overeat at lunchtime.
So, there’s how your “bad” holiday habits can actually be good for you. Next time you go on holiday, lay on that sun lounger daydreaming, take that afternoon nap back in the room, enjoy that ice cold San Miguel and take full advantage of the hotel restaurant! Relax, you’re on holiday.