Health and Wellness

5 Tips to Keep the Holidays Heart-Healthy

The holidays can be a time of immense joy and merriment, but research shows it can also be a time of heightened heart attack susceptibility. Check out our top five tips for keeping dangerous cardiovascular events at bay and ensuring a happy, heart-healthy holiday season.

Snack in Advance

To put seasonal over-eating into perspective, a standard Christmas feast can end up being over 5,000 calories. If you’re at risk for heart disease, a meal like this could put you in immediate danger. Eating a high-protein snack (for example: beef jerky, string cheese) in advance can aid in curbing hunger, reducing the desire to stack your plate at holiday meals.

Eat Slowly

As the old adage goes, everything is good in moderation. Instead of eliminating holiday favorites from your plate, take smaller portions. Be mindful of each bite, giving yourself the opportunity to fully savor the flavors of the season. Take sips of water between each bite to cleanse the palate and extend the experience. Not only will you feel full faster, you’ll enjoy your meal more.

Space Out Alcoholic Beverages

Another common area of overindulgence during the holidays is alcohol. Binge drinking can trigger an irregular heartbeat, leading to poor blood flow and opening the door for heart complications. Avoid prompting an episode by tapering your alcohol consumption with a glass of sparkling water between adult beverages. To maintain a fun and festive feel, add a splash of cranberry or pomegranate juice to create a simple, heart-friendly “mocktail.”

Take Time to be Active

With jam-packed schedules, grand meals and increased travel time, the holidays are a notorious routine-buster and can quickly become overly-sedentary. When laying out your holiday schedule, plan time for exercise. If full workouts seem unachievable, seek to squeeze a few short walks in. Keeping the body active promotes healthy blood flow – and, it just might burn off some of those extra holiday meal calories.

Listen to Your Body

Studies have revealed that Americans who experience symptoms of heart issues (for example: chest pain) during the holidays tend to ignore them, so as not to cause social disruption. Unfortunately, cardiovascular events can be life-threatening if not treated immediately. If you or a family member experience any warning signs of heart failure, do not postpone seeking help until after the holidays. Call 911 for emergency assistance.

Keep this year’s holiday season merry and bright by putting your heart first. For more tips on staying healthy during the holidays, reach out to your personal doctor. To find a personal doctor near you, contact your health insurance provider.