7 Tips for Heart Health Holidays

The holiday season is upon us. It’s a time filled with family, friends, and enjoying our favorite foods. It is also a very easy time to over-indulge. For those with heart conditions or a family history of heart disease, the season also can add extra stress to their heart. 

Here are 7 tips for having a heart healthy holiday:

  1. Add more fruits and vegetables. While your favorite foods may be sweets or carbs, fruits and vegetables will be better at filling you up and providing important nutrients for your body.  
  2. Enjoy your favorites, but watch your portions. Striving for a perfect diet this time of year is a recipe for failure. Instead, be mindful of how much you are eating, and resist the temptation to eat excessively. 
  3. Never arrive hungry. Avoiding overindulgence can be as simple as eating something nutritious before leaving your house. It’s easier to be mindful of what you’re eating in the moment if you’re not ravenous going into a holiday meal.
  4. Watch the sodium levels. When you are cooking, use herbs and spices to add flavor, and cut back on the salt. Choose low sodium versions of prepackaged food when possible.
  5. Get moving! Schedule a walk with your family before or after a meal, or round the family up for a game of basketball. Find ways to include movement during your family time for a gentle boost to everyone’s health.
  6. Lower your stress. This is a fun season but can also be a stressful one. Reducing stress is a key factor in improving heart health. Consider what you may be able to delegate and schedule in some relaxation time as well.
  7. Get your sleep. Sleep is an important part of resting and de-stressing. Don’t skip out on sleep this season.

Protecting your heart this holiday season doesn’t have to be complicated. Your heart will thank you for taking the time to make a few small changes. Whether it’s cutting back on how much party food you eat or enjoying an extra stroll around the block with family, it’s worth the extra effort to support your heart health.