More cardiac deaths occur on December 25 than on any other day of the year; the second largest number of cardiac deaths occurs on December 26, and the third largest number occurs on January 1 (Circulation).
The holiday season is notorious for a rise in dangerous heart related issues such as congestive heart failure or stroke as well as the appropriately named Holiday Heart Syndrome. Overindulgence in sugary foods, binge drinking of alcoholic beverages and high salt intake combined with a lack of exercise and disruption to normal routine can leave your heart feeling the stress. Unfortunately, many people put their well-being on the back burner over the holidays. Small increases in body weight, from over indulging during the holidays can escalate blood pressure and cholesterol making one more susceptible to risk of heart attack.
For a safe and healthy holiday season, keep these tips in mind:
- Follow the 3/4 rule: Fill 3/4 of your plate with healthy items like veggies, nuts and fruit and fill the other 1/4 with whatever you like. This will help you consume fewer calories without having to count them.
- It’s easy to go to holiday gatherings and fill up on alcohol, eggnog and the like, but drinks have hidden calories that can really add up and excessive alcohol consumption can contribute towards heart disease or stroke. Opt for a healthier alternative and swap some of those sugary and alcoholic beverages with low-calorie options like cranberry mint-infused water or a fruit spritzer.
- Do your best to stick to a regular bedtime schedule during the holidays to prevent carbohydrate cravings.
Following some simple guidelines ensures you can enjoy the festivities without the regrettable consequences that leave you feeling tired and putting unnecessary strain on your heart.