The Holiday Season Is Also Heart Attack Season!

Did You Know The Holiday Season is Also Heart Attack Season?

The holidays… family, friends, good food, good drink, gatherings, and the list goes on. While it’s a time to connect and reflect, the holidays are also a time filled with stress over guests, gifts and lack of time.

Stress isn’t the only factor affecting your health. Add in all the feasting and drinking as we happily pile our plates, and arteries, with those tasty high fats, high calorie, high cholesterol, and super high sugar foods and you have a time where heart attacks actually peak. That’s right, Christmas and New Year’s Day are two fo the highest heart attack occurrences of the year.

Your Heart - An Amazing Machine

Your heart is just a little bit bigger than your fist but it manages to pump around 2,000 gallons of blood every single day. During a 70-year lifespan, your heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times.

It is a huge responsibility to do all the work, so your heart needs tender, loving care.

You can place unnecessary burdens on your heart by partaking in unhealthy lifestyle choices such as a poor diet, smoking, stress, or lack of exercise. All of these impedes your heart’s ability to function at top performance.

According to the American Heart Association, An estimated 80% of heart attacks can be avoided by making even the smallest in lifestyle changes. And by keeping in check diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and diabetes, that number goes up even further.

Think Smart When It Comes To Your Heart

Regardless of age or sex, all men and women can be at risk. Most still see heart disease as a “man’s health issue”, but it is now the number one killer of both men AND women in the U.S. This is why it’s important to educate yourself on the risk factors which can lead to heart disease or even a heart attack.

Preparing For A Heart Healthy Holiday

There is a 5% increase in heart-related deaths each holiday season. It’s time to take charge of your heart health this year so you are around next year. These tips are simple and easy to implement during your holidays.

  • Avoid “food comas”
    How many times have you overeaten and gone into a “food coma”? My hand is raised… guilty! Eating a big, high-fat meal diverts blood from the heart to the digestive system and can actually trigger a heart attack, angina or heart-related chest pain. Pace yourself. Try a few items and you can always have leftovers tomorrow.
  • Put healthy food on the menu
    There are so many websites with amazing healthy foods or how to make your favorites healthier by using substitute fats or lower fat and salt recipes. How about a cauliflower mash and colorful roasted or raw vegetable sides?
  • Make it a potluck dinner
    Ask friends and family to bring one of their favorite dishes. Splitting up the work not only helps make everyone feel involved, but it lessens the work for you.
  • Pineapple???
    Pureed fresh pineapple is a great substitute for sugar when you bake. Pineapple is a natural source of sweetness and it’s better for you. The American Heart Association recommends using unsweetened applesauce in baking.
  • Heart-Healthy Supplements
    Vitamins and mineral supplements taken in appropriate doses may aid in lowering your heart disease risk. Of course, natural food should be your main source of nutrients, but research shows many people fall short of recommended intakes, so supplements can shorten that gap. Here are some supplements to help with your heart health:
    • Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in oil from certain types of fish, vegetables, and other plant sources. These fatty acids are not made by the body and must be consumed in the diet or through supplements, often “fish oil.”

      Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids work by lowering the body's production of triglycerides. High levels of triglycerides can lead to coronary artery disease, heart disease, and stroke. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids used together with diet and exercise help lower triglyceride levels in the blood.
    • Magnesium: Research has shown low magnesium levels can be a predictor of heart disease. Low magnesium has been linked with cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, arterial plaque build-up, calcification of soft tissues, cholesterol, and hardening of the arteries.
    • L-Carnitine: L-carnitine is an amino acid needed to transport fats into the mitochondria (the place in the cell where fats are turned into energy). Adequate energy production is essential for normal heart function. People with congestive heart failure have insufficient oxygenation of the heart, which can damage the heart muscle. Such damage may be reduced by taking L-carnitine supplements.
    • Garlic: Garlic is taken orally as a supplement that has been used as an aid in treating high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. I’ve tried HeartLife with 100% stabilized allicin (the main component in garlic with numerous health benefits) powder, flax seeds, sesame seed, L-Arginine (from pumpkin seeds) and cayenne pepper.

      HeartLife has been clinically tested to improve the quality of red blood cells, reduce high blood pressure, significantly reduce heart stress levels, help to remove damaging extra heartbeats and improve the flexibility of your arteries and veins. One doctor said, “I really wasn’t expecting such a fast result. This combination is amazing in what it can do for your heart and cardiovascular system. I have NEVER seen anything like this in all my years in practice. Also,
      Being diagnosed as pre-diabetic, I found DiabaLife which is also made with 100% stabilized allicin and other ingredients such as spinach, broccoli, cinnamon, and bitter melon. All of these ingredients are capable of lowering HBA1c readings of blood sugar. I combined DiabaLife with a better choice in foods and I am no longer pre-diabetic. My doctor was amazed.
  • Easy on the alcohol
    Besides getting a headache or hangover, too much indulging in adult beverages can, in the long term, raise your blood pressure and, in the short term, trigger atrial fibrillation which is an irregular heartbeat that increases your risk of stroke. Who knew?
  • Keep moving!
    Walking while shopping is one way to keep moving, but if you’re not into crowds, take a walk around the block, hit the bike path or play a game of tag football in the backyard with family members. Moving for thirty minutes each day helps to burn calories and gets your heart pumping and blood flowing.
  • No more stress
    The holidays are about spending time with those you love. That can sometimes be stressful in itself. Set boundaries - no talking politics, religion or anything else that causes division. Light comforting-smelling candles, set time limits on visitors, enjoy a holiday movie or go around and state what you are grateful for. Make it fun and relaxed and remember, it’s not about a perfect meal or the perfect gift. The holidays are about quality time and sharing love. It’s pretty simple.

  • Don’t ignore unusual pain or discomfort
    If you experience chest pain or pressure, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, jaw or back pain, don’t assume it will just go away. These are all symptoms of a potential heart attack and require prompt medical attention. Take care of yourself and don’t take chances. Go get help!

  • Baby, it’s cold outside
    You may live in a region that gets cold during the holidays, so when you venture outdoors, take every precaution. Drop-in temperatures cause your blood vessels to constrict. This increases your chance of a blood clot and high blood pressure. Hypothermia can also cause heart issues. When your body temperature goes below 95º Fahrenheit, hypothermia sets in. At this point, your body can’t produce enough energy to maintain your internal body temperature. Heart failure is the number one cause of death from hypothermia. If you must go outside, wear layers and don’t forget your gloves, hat, and scarf. Be prepared in case you get stuck in your car. Have a kit made up to include energy bars, water, blankets, flashlights, batteries, matches, etc. It’s better to be prepared than the alternative.

So, this holiday season, relax, stay warm and not only take care of those you love but make yourself a priority and take care of YOU! This author wishes you the best holiday season ever!

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