The holiday season is upon us. It is a time for celebration. Families fly from all over to reunite with one another and relive old traditions. One of the unwavering truths about the holiday season is we all like to eat. As nostalgic and delicious as traditional holiday food may be, we should be aware of the health risks that are associated with common practices in the holiday season. The New England Journal of Medicine asserts that Americans gains 5 lb (2.3 kg) or more over the holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. But gaining a couple pounds is the least of our worried during the period. Heart attacks also increase during the holiday seasons. The Circulation study states that the 3 days with the highest incidence for heart attacks are between Dec 25th and January 1st. Sedentary lifestyle mixed with poor health and compliance to healthy living augmented by sudden and excess binge eating high calories food lead to tragic cardiovascular events. Let us breakdown some common American holiday food and see if we can find an alternative to them.
Instead of dark meat, why not white meat without the skin.
Instead of mash potatoes, why not baked sweet potatoes.
Instead of corn bread stuffing, why not wild rice.
All else fail, portion control works the best.
In addition to over-eating, Americans have a tendency to over drink during the holidays. Whether it be a toast at dinner or drinking games with friends–drinking excessive amounts on special occasions lead to increased vulnerability from the side effects of alcohol. These can include accidents and health complications. In addition, most holiday drinks are composed of a variety of mixers that are high in calories. An 8 ounce of White Russian can run upwards of 750 calories.
Federal standards state that moderate drinking for a man is 2 drinks and for a woman it is 1 drink during one day. It is highly encouraged that if you are to drink, that you drink moderately and not over do it this holiday season.
Have fun with friends and family. Enjoy your time off from work, but please consider that your body should never be neglected.