Almost 700,000 people in the United States die from heart disease annually, making up one in every five deaths. It’s no surprise that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the US and nationwide. As we try to combat these startling numbers with daily exercise, a better diet and keeping our stress levels low, we find we indulge the most throughout the winter months. Below we share several heart-healthy habits and tips so you don’t have to compromise on your goals this holiday season.
Heart Healthy Tips and Habits to Keep You Healthy Over the Holidays
Did you know cardiac mortality is higher around Christmas and New Years than at any other time? It’s crucial to follow these heart-healthy tips to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Be aware of portions.
Using a plate helps you keep track of what you’re eating and helps you avoid mindless munching. If you need to indulge in the mac ‘n cheese and buttery mashed potatoes remember—everything in moderation! Eat slowly, really tasting all the flavors and don’t forget to enjoy yourself.
It’s the holidays and we understand everyone is busy, but it’s not the time to skimp on exercise. Whether you’re taking a walk around the neighborhood looking at the festive lights or choosing to take the stairs at work, maintaining your regular workout schedule will not only help you burn off extra calories but it will also boost dopamine levels which is a great way to reduce stress.
Watch your alcohol intake.
Excessive drinking can raise your blood pressure which can ultimately lead to a heart attack or stroke. Try having an alcoholic drink with dinner or to toast with family and friends, then switch to water. It’s also important to note that many holiday beverages like cider, eggnog and punch are high in calories and should be avoided or consumed in moderation.
Strengthen your immune system while you sleep! One of the best ways to boost your immune system and avoid the dreaded flu or seasonal colds is to prioritize quality sleep. Infection and fever put an extra strain on your heart, so try to get at least eight hours of sleep each night.
Eat heart-healthy recipes.
Many holiday foods have heart health benefits. As you’re assembling your plate, look for healthier holiday favorites like sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables and turkey. If you’re hosting a gathering or tasked with bringing along something to eat, reimage holiday food favorites with alternative ingredients that are just as delicious but significantly more healthy.
Eat breakfast and don’t forget to snack throughout the day.
Many believe skipping breakfast and snacks throughout the day on a holiday will save them the extra calories they’ll consume at dinnertime. Quite the opposite is true; skipping meals often leads to overeating. Plan to eat breakfast in the morning and opt for a healthy snack mid-afternoon to help prevent overindulging during the holiday celebration. \
Heart Healthy Tips from AMS Cardiology
No matter what the season, always aim for balance in your lifestyle choices to stay focused on your goals. If you need help this holiday season, our cardiologists specialize in preventive cardiology to help reduce risk factors of heart disease and prevent symptoms from worsening. Contact us at 215-517-1000 to schedule an appointment.