Taking Care of Your Heart During the Holidays

Feb 24, 2023

The holiday season is a time of joy, cheer, and celebration. The festivities come with family gatherings, food, and drinks, which makes it easy to indulge and lose track of healthy habits. This indulgence can take a toll on our health, especially our hearts.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The holiday season can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, all of which increase the risk of heart disease. Therefore, it is essential to take care of your heart during the holidays. For aged people, undergoing a regular heart check-up, such as an EKG, is the best way to know what they are dealing with before they go into the holiday season.

Here are some things that you can be mindful of to keep your heart healthy -

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Many tempting goodies are available throughout the holidays, but the majority of them are rich in calories, saturated fats, and sugar. Therefore, watching what you eat is one of the best strategies to protect your heart. These foods can increase cholesterol levels and cause weight gain. As a result, it is crucial to pay attention to what you consume and choose healthy alternatives.

Include fresh produce and fruits in your meals. Due to their high fiber content, they may help lower cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. Avoid red meat and choose instead for lean proteins like fish, chicken, and turkey. Include whole grains like quinoa and brown rice in your diet since they contain more minerals and fiber than processed grains.

Keep Yourself Hydrated

Drinking water is crucial to keep your body hydrated and your heart healthy. It is easy to forget to drink enough water, especially when there are plenty of other beverages available during the holiday. Sugary drinks, such as soda and juice, can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease as they tend to be heavier.

Stay Active

Regular exercise is essential for a healthy heart, and the holidays are no exception. Maintaining an active lifestyle can lower blood pressure, help you maintain a healthy weight, and lessen your chance of developing heart disease. It can be difficult to find time to exercise over the holidays, but it is crucial to do so.

Make an effort to include exercise in your everyday routine. After meals, go for a walk, engage in holiday activities that require activity, such as dancing or playing games outside and take the stairs rather than the elevator. If you can't fit in a complete workout, try doing some yoga or stretching every day for a few minutes.

Reduce Stress

Stress can have a significant impact on your heart health. During the holidays, stress levels can increase due to travel, family gatherings, and financial pressures. High levels of stress can lead to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease.

Take breaks and make time for yourself to lessen your stress. Engage in things that you enjoy, such as reading, taking a bath, or practicing mindfulness. Get enough sleep because not getting enough sleep can make you more stressed. Speak to a friend or your family members if you're feeling anxious, or get help from a professional.

Monitor Alcohol Intake

Alcohol can be a significant contributor to heart disease. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and increases the risk of heart disease. During the holiday season, it is easy to indulge in alcohol, but it is essential to monitor your intake. Avoid binge drinking and limit your intake to one or two drinks per day. Opting for low-calorie drinks, such as wine or light beer is also considered a better option. As tempting as the holidays make it seem, avoid sugary cocktails, especially when it comes to taking care of your health.

It is natural to loosen the reins a little during this time but it is also important to keep track of what you are up to. If you are prone to heart disease, it is best to consult with a primary care physician beforehand and work out a routine that works best for you.