The holidays are here and with all of the parties and family gatherings, we tend to overeat. But overindulging can do more than increase your waistline. It can be a major health risk for people with chronic medical conditions.
One of the joys of the holiday season is eating and drinking with family and friends.
But it’s important to know when to step away from the table
Overeating can lead to heart attacks or strokes, especially in people who have heart disease or high cholesterol. In fact, a Swedish study shows Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Day are peak times for heart attacks.
Sure, there are other factors that contribute to holiday health risks, such as cold weather, snow shoveling, and stress. However, too much food and alcohol can trigger some serious medical problems.
A typical Christmas dinner contains as much as 5-thousand calories
So, if you have coronary heart disease, this meal alone greatly increases your chances of having a heart attack. That’s because your triglyceride levels, or blood fat, rise significantly, causing inflammation.
And, too much alcohol can lead to the abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation. This can cause a stroke, heart failure or other heart problems.
So, how can YOU control your holiday eating and drinking? Here are my prescriptions:
- First of all, don’t go to the party hungry. Eat a high-protein snack, such as cheese, before you arrive. Then you’re not as tempted to stuff yourself.
- Be mindful of what you’re eating. Choose vegetables and fruits over fried appetizers.
- Eat slowly. Swallow each mouthful before you take the next bite. Slow eaters consume less food.
- And finally, keep tabs on how much you’re drinking. Change up and drink sparkling water with a splash of cranberry juice between alcoholic drinks.
A couple of other tips – don’t stand or sit by the buffet table. You’ll be less likely to overeat. And, leave the stress behind. You make poor eating choices when you’re stressed out. Here’s to a healthy and safe holiday season!