The holidays can spell trouble for your health. Heavy food, extra salt, stress, and travel can make sticking to healthy habits challenging. Danish research even shows that Christmas can cause a 20% increase in cholesterol levels in their population.
Fatty food, sweet treats, and extra alcohol are only partly to blame. We at Apex Medical Professionals care about our patients in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and want to help you learn how you can stay in control of your health this holiday season. Read on for some healthy holiday tips.
The holidays are a busy time — what with shopping, traveling, cooking, cleaning, and entertaining. Exercise may not be at the top of your to-do list.
Staying active, however, is important in keeping cholesterol levels in check and preventing excessive weight gain. Your workouts may look different than they do the rest of the year as the gym, your home treadmill, or your normal walking path may not be as accessible. Get creative. Do laps around the shopping mall. Get the family together for post-meal football, tag, or hikes. And, if your workouts need to last 20 minutes instead of 45, well that’s OK. Some movement is better than none.
Make healthy choices
You’re bombarded with unhealthy choices. Every time you’re faced with a tasty treat, stop and ask yourself if it’s truly worth it. Is this a stale Christmas cookie or Aunt Norma’s special apple pie she makes just once per year?
At holiday meals and buffets, fill three-quarters of your plate with healthy choices: lean turkey, plain vegetables, salad, and fresh fruit. The last quarter can be reserved for those holiday treats you just love, such as stuffing, mashed potatoes, and sweet rolls.
When you eat between events, stay consistent with healthy eating patterns. Just because you indulged the night before doesn’t mean you have to keep going. Skipping meals to “save up” for the big event isn’t a good strategy either. It just means you’ll be extra hungry when you hit the buffet and may be more likely to consume a greater amount of high-fat food.
Keep your sodium intake and blood sugar in check
Sodium is a proven contributor to high blood pressure levels. Many holiday foods, such as processed meats, snack mixes, gravy, cheese, and bread, are loaded with sodium. Keep your intake as low as possible by keeping these foods to a minimum.
It is the holiday season and lots of special treats tempt you. But, if you have diabetes, keep to your healthy diet as best you can and regularly test your blood sugar levels.
The holidays are a happy time, but can also be a time of great stress. Getting just the right presents, fighting for parking spots, canceled flights, and family drama can cause inflammation as your body is constantly in “fight or flight” mode. Stress can also cause you to make unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking or overeating.
Keep on your medication schedule
With holiday events, late nights, and travel, you may find it hard to stick to your regular schedule. It’s important to take your medications every day as prescribed, whether they’re for hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, or heart disease.
If all the contact with friends and family has you sniffling through the season, let us know. We can direct you to the safest over-the-counter cold and flu medications to take and the ones that won’t interact with your prescribed medications.
At Apex Medical Professionals, we want you to have a happy, healthy holiday season. We’d love NOT to see you during this time, but if you have questions or need extra medical management of a chronic condition, don’t hesitate to call or schedule a consultation online.