Heart-Healthy Holidays: 3 Tips to Remember This Holiday Season

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156727916From office parties to social gatherings to festive celebrations, the holidays are one of the best times of year. However, the season can present some risky situations for your heart. Many people are faced with the additional stress of longer to-do lists, family get-togethers and overindulgence. Let’s look at three ways you can keep your heart healthy during the holidays.

1. Stay Away from Family Stress

Tensions can run high when family members get together, and emotional outbursts are not uncommon. These social stressors are bad for the heart and can drive up blood pressure or even cause a heart attack. If things get too heated at a family event, don’t get involved. Excuse yourself to another room away from the drama.

2. Say No to Seconds

Whether it’s eggnog, yule log or some other confection, everyone has their favorite seasonal treat. Food is at the center of most holiday functions and it’s only natural to indulge during this time of year. But heightened consumption of fatty and sugary foods can harm the heart. Fatty foods can raise cholesterol and cause arteries to harden. Sugary treats can increase blood pressure and contribute to heart disease.

To stay heart healthy, don’t overdo it on foods high in fat or sugar. Make your portions smaller. That way you can enjoy your favorite foods without straining your heart.

3. Limit Alcohol Intake

Most people drink more alcoholic beverages during the holidays, but too many cups of cheer can spell trouble for the cardiovascular system. Excess alcohol can lead to high blood pressure and weaken the heart, putting you at risk for heart attack or stroke. If you decide to drink, the heart healthy solution is to drink in moderation. No more than two drinks a day is ideal. Try alternating an alcoholic beverage with a non-alcoholic drink.