At 5:30 pm on Sunday, February 5, 2017, more than 112 million casual and serious football fans – on 72 percent of all of the U.S. televisions sets – will be glued to the big screen awaiting the kickoff for the 51stSuper Bowl. This event has become an excuse for fans to spout arcane NFL statistics, place friendly wagers, eat and drink vast quantities and get together with a few dozen friends for the annual Super Bowl party.
Unfortunately for some of these fans, medical research has shown that the Super Bowl party might be hazardous to their health.
For several years, epidemiologists have noted the obvious. When a few dozen people get together for a party in the middle of winter, especially if their favorite/home team is playing in the Super Bowl, many of them will catch a cold or flu from other attendees. Others (who have recently resolved to lose weight in the New Year) will merely gain a few unhealthy pounds from eating and drinking too much.
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“The Super Bowl is played at the height of the cold and flu season and many people, who are sick, just can’t stay away from the party,” the founder of EVEXIAS Medical Centers, Terri DeNeui, DNP, ACNP, APRN-BC noted in a recent interview. “It’s actually a little rude when you think of it.
“You have 10 or 20 people, inside in a small space and if one of them is sneezing or exhibiting symptoms of a cold, he or she can wreak havoc on the other party-goers. One sneeze can send germs out in a radius of two to four feet around them. Or, perhaps this sick person rubs their nose and then picks up a spoon at the food table. When the next person picks it up, the germs are spread, and this process continues for the five hours of the game!”
Avoiding Colds and Flu of Super Bowl Parties
Terri has some advice for the hosts and the guests of these parties. While they involve common sense, many fans lose perspective when the biggest game of the year is involved.
“If you’re the host of one of these parties, you should diplomatically tell your guests to please stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms of a cold or flu. While this may seem a little harsh, most guests will appreciate you keeping germs away from their guacamole,” she laughed.
“If you are a guest at one of these parties the best strategy for avoiding colds and the flu is rigorous and multiple handwashing. Plus, increase your antioxidants and your intake of vitamins; vitamin C, vitamin D, and iodine are all good “preventers” of viruses. Another good tactic is to increase your intake of zinc which is a natural anti-viral supplement.
Healthy Eating is Possible at a Super Bowl Party
There’s something about Super Bowl parties that encourages the consumption of rich, high calorie foods and drinks. How can someone enjoy the party and not have the bulk of an offensive lineman when the game is over? Health and wellness “coach,” Terri DeNeui has a game plan.
“The best way to stay on your diet, in spite of the temptations of a Super Bowl party, is to bring your own side dish consisting of healthy food you have committed to,” she said. “If you have decided to lower your carbs or avoid any other food groups, this gives you an alternative to the empty calorie dishes.
“There are other ‘workarounds’ for enjoying the food at these parties. For example, if your hosts are serving burgers, just eat the meat and the lettuce and tomatoes but not the bun. Stay away from the empty calorie foods such as chips and popcorn. Even chili – a longtime staple of Super Bowl parties – can be healthy if you stay away from the other high-calorie foods such as chips, crackers or sour cream that often accompany it.
“For the hosts of these parties, do your guests a favor,” she said. “Offer healthy alternatives. For example, if you’re serving hot dogs, use grass-fed hotdogs which are nitrate-free and don’t have all the preservatives in them.
Exercises for Couch Potatoes
There’s no rule that states a person must stay glued to the television screen for the entire five hour Super Bowl event. Coach DeNeui offers some alternatives to the couch potato position.
“Rather than sitting in one place for the entire game, get up a move around some,” she said. “Plus, during the hour long halftime show, don’t just sit there and watch Lady Gaga act outrageously, go outside and throw the football around. This will get the blood flowing and you’ll burn a few calories.”
Who Will Win the Super Bowl?
After all this good advice about healthy strategies for a Super Bowl party, Terri was asked to weigh-in on the team she liked to win it all. There was no hesitation in her response.
“Since my Cowboys came up short, I don’t really have a favorite to win it all,” she said. “However, I’ve always heard that ‘defense’ wins championships. So, if someone is planning on attending a Super Bowl party, my advice is to think ‘defensively’ and follow these suggestions to avoid those colds and weight gains,” she smiled.
If you would like to get your own game plan from health & wellness coach Terri DeNeui, contact us and let’s talk about a personalized strategy to fit your lifestyle.
Speaker, Author, and Board-Certified Nurse Practitioner, Dr. Terri DeNeui, DNP, ACNP, APRN-BC, has extensive training in her field. She earned her B.A in Nursing from Texas Women’s University and her Master’s and Doctoral degrees at UT Arlington. In addition to her training in acute and emergency medicine, she has extended her education to include certifications in Preventative Wellness Medicine, Functional Medicine and Hormone Replacement Therapy.