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Holiday Heart Health: 5 Important Tips to Enjoy Festivities Safely *ONLINE ONLY*
November 2023
By Suzy Cohen, R.Ph.

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and, unfortunately, potential health pitfalls. While indulging in festive treats and enjoying time away from routine, it's crucial to remember the importance of your heart health. Holidays bring increased stress and tempt you with unhealthy foods. It also is a time when people take a break from regular exercise routines. People drink more too. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association revealed that instances of heart-related issues tend to peak during the holiday season. This uptick is attributed to stress, dietary indiscretions, and cold weather, which can all strain the heart.

Let me help you mitigate some holiday-related risks with some tips. I know you know all this, but reminders can’t hurt:

1. Dietary Choices: Opt for foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants. Incorporate fish, nuts, berries, and leafy greens into holiday meals. Watch portions closely.

2. Physical Activity: Engage in daily physical activities like brisk walking or cycling. Even short bouts of exercise can be beneficial.

3. Stress Management: Practice mindfulness, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to manage holiday stress effectively, especially when faced with people or topics that upset you.

4. Moderation in Alcohol Consumption: Drinking in excess doesn’t help anything, it will make things worse on your liver, not to mention your relationships. Besides, there isn’t enough resveratrol in wine to do anything good for your heart. Furthermore, it interacts with heart medications, analgesics, sleepers, and anti-anxiety meds.

5. If you happen to catch a cold or flu, be mindful of how quickly this situation can go south. It can take a toll on your heart, so protect your immune system by making sure you sleep well, have enough vitamin D on board, and that you stay away from people who have a known illness.

See your doctor if symptoms get serious.

Let’s talk about prescriptions now. If you have an existing heart condition, your doctor may have prescribed a statin for cholesterol management, or a beta-blocker or ACE inhibitor for blood pressure, or perhaps aspirin for circulation. Sometimes nitroglycerin is used for chest pain (termed angina). It works because it is a vasodilator.

Speaking of medications, you may not realize this but some can make you more susceptible to heart disease. For example, popular nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen and COX-2 inhibitors (celecoxib) may increase blood pressure and fluid retention in some individuals. This can increase blood pressure and add to a pre-existing cardiac problem. Some antidepressants and oral decongestants have been linked to increased heart rate and blood pressure too!

I’ve written about natural heart-healthy remedies like hawthorn, potassium, garlic, ubiquinol, and many others. Those articles are posted on my website, suzycohen.com. Just use my search box because I have over a thousand articles posted there.

The point of this article is to remind you that during the holiday season, maintaining your heart health is important. There should be judicious use of medications, especially the ones I mentioned earlier that contribute to hypertension. Hopefully, my article will encourage you to get through the holiday season with excellent heart health.

This information is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose your condition. Always consult your physician for all medical matters. Visit www.SuzyCohen.com. ©2023 Suzy Cohen, R.Ph. Distributed by Dear Pharmacist, Inc.


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