The holiday season is just around the corner. For most of us, this is the best part of the year especially with dinners and drinks with loved ones. Some of these holiday favourites like fried chicken with macaroni and cheese have been known to increase chances of cardiovascular problems. We understand that asking you to give up on these homemade delicacies is a really tall order. And honestly, you shouldn’t have to. Instead, use these five ways to enjoy your favourite foods and still keep your cardiovascular risks at bay.
1. Reduce your intake of salty foods and snacks
All year round, you have been watching what you eat and take necessary precautions so that you can avoid health-related complications. Now that it’s finally at the end of the year, and with the holiday around the corner, you decide to treat yourself.
It’s tempting to give yourself multiple free passes when it comes to indulging in food. However, the fact remains that salty snacks can increase your chances of developing cardiovascular problems. According to the American Heart Association, consuming a high quantity of sodium is known to increase blood pressure. This translates to additional pressure on the heart and makes it difficult for it to do its job. Treats are great and you don’t have to give them up. Instead, regulate the number of salty foods that you eat or mix it up with fresh produce and vegetables. Remember, it’s not about cutting our your favourites, but having them in proportions.
2. Keep your weight in check
Did you know that your weight might just be increasing your chances of developing cardiovascular complications? Although the festive season is a period for many to eat and enjoy yourselves, you should try to keep your weight in check. An increase in weight is known to cause hypertension, diabetes, and other heart complications. So this holidays, spend some quality time before family dinners with your loved ones walking or engaging in sports. Make it fun by getting the whole family involved. This can be as simple as competing for the most number of steps taken each day where the winner gets a prize. The best part? It helps you to hit your daily 10k steps goal – maybe you can even try and hit a new high of 15k steps.
3. Ensure that you keep warm all throughout the holiday season
Did you know that a higher number of heart attacks are reported during the festive period? In fact, there are many factors which tend to trigger cardiovascular complications like heart attacks. One of the common triggers is a low temperature. During the festive season, the weather is known to drop and when the temperature drops, our body blood vessels tend to constrict. This increases the occurrence of blood clotting and elevates blood pressure. So if you’re travelling somewhere cold or live in a country with winter, stay warm and snuggly with your loved ones this holidays.
4. Regulate your alcohol intake
For most people, the festive season is a time of making merry and drinking as much as possible. However, if you don’t moderate your alcohol intake, it increases your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. The trick is to take note of how much you’re drinking the holiday season.
If you tend to drink more, reduce the alcohol content in your drinks by switching out hard liquor for beer. Alternatively, stick to the recommended guidelines above so that you are drinking in moderation. That way, you get to enjoy your drink and still stay heart healthy!
5. Sleep more and relieve stress
It has been quite a year and by now you might be feeling worn out. Maybe it’s the boss who has whose been on your neck. Perhaps, it could be your business that’s been stressing you. Or maybe, its classes and assignments that are weighing you down. No matter the case, if you’re feeling burnt out, then give yourself the best gift you can this festive season – the gift of sleep. When you start treating your body right and giving it sufficient rest, it helps to reduce your stress levels and mitigate cardiovascular risks. It lowers blood pressure and allows your body to heal itself amongst other benefits.
As we round out the year, take this moment to take care of yourself and your heart. Giving yourself the opportunity to catch a breath and enjoy the festivities with friends and family is a great start. And the best part? You can do it all while treating your heart right.
Interested in getting into shape after all the celebratory food this festive season?
Get your head start on being healthy now.