9 Holiday Hacks For Heart Healthy Diet

heart healthy diet
Source – The House Of Wellness

You might have a difficult time getting through the Christmas season without eating much. And, although all of these classic family favourites are delectable, they come at a significant price in terms of salt, sugar, and, of course, fat – none of which are beneficial to heart health.


9 Holiday Hacks For Heart Healthy Diet

Turkey and ham are included. Potatoes mashed with gravy. Stuffing made by your mother and tuna casserole made by your aunt, not to mention the potato salad.

You’ll have a difficult time getting through the Christmas season without eating much. And, although all of these classic family favourites are delectable, they come at a significant price in terms of salt, sugar, and, of course, fat – none of which are beneficial to heart health.

Given the festive nature of the holiday food fest, the American Heart Association has published a list of healthy heart hacks for holiday dishes, which includes suggestions such as substituting herbs and spices for salt and baking with unsweetened applesauce instead of butter.

Excessive Turkey Consumption And Stuffing May Lead To Heart Disease

Dr Nicole Weinberg, a cardiologist at California’s Providence Saint John’s Health Center, tells Healthline that she does believe that holiday overindulgence has implications. She said that beginning with Thanksgiving, there is an upsurge in emergency department visits for congestive heart failure, which she refers to as “the saltiest meal of the year.

Increased blood pressure and heart attacks may also occur due to fatty, salty meals and holiday stress.

It kind of kicks off over Thanksgiving, and I do think the hospital admissions go up during the holiday time,” Weinberg said.

Despite the threat, changing Christmas rituals may seem difficult.

I think it’s a good concept to not necessarily throw off your game [simply] because it’s the holidays,” said Weinberg. “I kind of admire the quest. I just feel like it’s the hardest one of the year.” 

Dr. Ethan A. Yalvac, a cardiologist at Hoag Hospital in California tells Healthline that overeating is not a necessary part of our holiday customs.

We have this unfortunate cultural acceptance of weight gain and indulgence — this idea that we will let diet and exercise fall by the wayside in November and December, and then fight our way back to health in January,” Yalvac said. “This is a fallacy.

According to Jessica Bennett, RD, clinical dietician at Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center, most Christmas dishes call for huge quantities of butter, which are not a heart healthy diet. Other dishes use vegetables with high-fat meals such as meat and cheese.

Vegetable casseroles are typically loaded with cheese and butter as well,” Bennett said. “There tends to be more sugar consumption from sweets or added to recipes like sauces. Alcohol tends to be consumed more frequently, and some find it hard to moderate.

However, following AHA-recommended meal changes may help lower the risk of heart problem flare-ups throughout the season.

Holiday Tips For A Heart Healthy Diet

  • Before Christmas parties, refuel with nutritious snacks. “Plan out your concept, so you’re not just starving yourself all day and then go to a party and gorge yourself silly,” Weinberg said.
  • White rice should be tossed. Bennett suggested substituting brown rice or quinoa for white rice in meals.
  • Increase your vegetable intake without adding fat or starch. Bennett suggests substituting zucchini or squash instead of spaghetti and cauliflower for potatoes in your heart healthy diet.
  • While you cook, chew. “Chew sugar-free gum or chew on veggies while cooking to avoid eating a meal’s worth of calories while cooking,” Bennett said. 
  • Reduce your stress. “Stress plays a role during the holidays, too,” Bennett said. “Set a time limit on visitors. Take a walk. Enjoy a holiday movie or book, [or a] holiday colouring book. Light a comforting-smelling candle. Name three things you are grateful for. Holiday-themed puzzles are fun for the entire family.
  • Make the most of leftovers. “Share leftovers with family and friends,” Bennett added. “Use leftovers to jazz up a salad or make a soup and add more veggies. Lettuce wraps make great leftover tacos.”
  • Use pineapple for baking. “The AHA article mentioned using unsweetened applesauce in baking,” Yalvac mentions. “I would add the ‘hack’ of substituting sugar in baking with pureed fresh pineapple. The pineapple is a natural source of sweetness — and the secret ingredient to the carrot cake my wife and I make every year.
  • Weigh yourself daily. “It is amazing what this one trick can do,” Yalvac said. “If you go for four days of partying and drinking and eating, you could end the weekend with 5 to 10 extra pounds. By weighing yourself every day, you establish a feedback loop between the food and drinks you consume and your weight by weighing yourself every day. If you overdo it on Thanksgiving, and you get on the scale Friday morning to find you’ve gained 3 pounds, you’re going to hold back on that piece of pie Friday night.
  • After supper, take a stroll. “Be sure to maintain exercise however you can get it in,” Yalvac said.Just because you’re going to parties doesn’t mean you can’t keep moving and taking care of yourself.”

Sources

Source: Healthline

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