According to a study published in the journal Circulation, you are most likely to die from a heart attack during the winter holidays.
The highest number of fatal heart attacks occurs on Dec. 25, second highest on Dec. 26, and third highest on Jan. 1.
Why? Overindulgence is one key factor.
The increased incidence of fatal heart attacks is directly related to the increase in fat consumption. High fat intake places a burden on the metabolic system, which results in an increase in circulating serum fats – a primary trigger for clogging arteries.
A recent highly publicized victim of this phenomenon is the actor James Gandolfini, who died of a heart attack at age 51 while on vacation after consuming meals laden with fat and alcohol.
How can you help your family eat healthier during the holidays? Below are a few tips to still enjoy your favorite holiday meals but keep them on the healthier side.
- Discourage second helpings – don’t serve your meal with extra helpings readily available on the table. Instead, serve from a buffet or plate up servings individually (an added bonus - you’ll use less dishes).
- Create a meal plan that is composed mostly of fruits and vegetables.
- Use smaller plates, studies indicate that we consume more when we use larger plates (a good excuse to break out your vintage dinnerware -it will likely have a smaller diameter).
- Reduce the amount of high fat items that your serve choosing lower fat substitutes -use milk in place of cream, drain excess fat from pan drippings used in gravy, offer more fruit and vegetables and less cheeses for appetizers.
- Plate up dessert in small portions and serve them buffet style instead of allowing guests to cut their own portion.
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