It may sound festive, but there is nothing cheerful about holiday heart syndrome, a very real phenomenon in which heart-related emergencies spike around the food-and-drink-centered holidays.
According to Dr. Emily Gordon, an internal medicine physician with Bon Secours Medical Group, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network in Warwick, “There is a higher risk of heart disease around the holidays, when all around us are parties with unhealthy food and drinks. Rich desserts, eggnog and holiday breads are everywhere, and there are no outdoor activities in sight. People also don’t create enough time for fitness or sufficient sleep.”
Gordon says you can reduce your risk of Holiday Heart Syndrome with a little planning. She suggests:
1. Eat five to eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
2. Arrive at work with healthy foods from home, so temptations for holiday foods at the workplace are reduced.
3. Carve out time for daily workouts.
4. Get sufficient rest and sleep.
She also suggests helping your friends and neighbors, too: “Instead of making breads and cookies for your neighbors, offer healthy goodies, such as fresh orange deliveries, fresh-fruit baskets, gluten-free fruit bars or nuts.”