Living With High Cholesterol During the Holiday Season

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the holidays are bound to look a little different this year. While there may not be office and school parties like you’re used to, the odds are good that you will still be gathering for some type of holiday feasting. If you struggle with high cholesterol, why not use this new holiday scene to institute a few changes to how you approach holiday eating?

Here at Humble Cardiology Associates, Dr. Madaiah Revana and our team understand the importance of looking after your cardiovascular health at all times of the year. We also understand that the holidays often present unique challenges, as pies, rich meats, and other culinary delights are plentiful.

To help you avoid the pitfalls of eating foods that won’t do your cholesterol numbers any favors, here are a few tips.

Arrive less hungry

If you spend the year anticipating your mother’s pumpkin pies or your cousin’s creamy, cheesy dip, we want you to enjoy these special-occasion dishes, but in a limited manner. One great tip is to arrive at your holiday feast having already eaten a healthy snack that fills you up. A handful of nuts is often enough to do the trick, as is an apple you munched on your way over.

In other words, try not to arrive at your holiday feast with a stomach that’s growling with hunger, which will only compel you to pile up your plate.

Graze, don’t feast

As long as we’re on the subject of feasting, arriving less hungry will help curb your appetite, as will considering the meal an exercise in grazing instead of feasting. Grab the smallest plate you can find and simply sample each dish. And take your time as you eat so you can truly savor the holiday food. If you wolf down your food or pile up your plate, you’re likely to eat far more than is good for your cholesterol levels.

Watch those holiday drinks

Other common landmines for those who have high cholesterol are those seemingly harmless holiday beverages like eggnog. This creamy drink is laden with calories and fat that are bad for your cardiovascular health.

As well, a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows may really lend to the holiday spirit, but it’s sugary and has the potential for containing some fat, depending on how it’s made.

Instead, take only a few sips of these holiday drinks and then hit the water or some other low-calorie beverage.

Don’t skip your exercise

The holidays can be busy, but we urge you to take the time to exercise. Whether you go for a quick walk or run before your get-together or you encourage a family outing that involves physical activity, getting some exercise over the holidays is one of the best things you can do for your cardiovascular health.

Manage stress

While holidays are supposed to be filled with love and joy, family gatherings can be rife with stressful situations. Now that we’re coping with a national health crisis, anxiety levels are higher than usual, which only adds to the problem.

To manage your stress levels, we encourage you to take time to de-stress, whether it’s through exercise or relaxation techniques like deep breathing, yoga, or meditation.

If you’d like more tips on navigating the holidays with high cholesterol, please contact one of our offices in Humble or Houston, Texas.

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