Eat and drink moderately and avoid ‘holiday heart’ this festive season

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While you have every right to enjoy yourself during the end-of-year holiday parties and festivities, do remember that overindulging on rich food and alcohol can cause weight gain and harm your heart, too.

Excess salt, caffeine and alcohol can cause ‘holiday heart’, a temporary state of irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation), says Dr Amy Pollack, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic. ‘Holiday heart’ can produce symptoms such as discomfort in the chest, intense palpitations and shortness of breath. If this condition persists, you will need medical attention.

Dr Pollak says the best way to avoid ‘holiday heart’ is to refrain from excesses during the holidays. You can avoid excesses in the following ways:

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Eat a healthy snack before a party: Eating fruit or a handful of nuts before you go for a party will curb your appetite and help prevent overindulgence.

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Be selective at a buffet: Take a small plate and opt for moderate portions of a couple of your favourite dishes that you don’t get to enjoy often. Avoid piling your plate with foods that you can eat any time.

Photo: Pixabay

Eat slowly and mindfully: This will allow you to savour each bite and maximize your enjoyment from the meal. Try to avoid talking to other guests while you eat since this may cause mindless eating. Remember to stop eating when you feel full; you shouldn’t feel stuffed at the end of the meal.

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Drink plenty of water: If you drink water, which is not only good for you but calorie-free too, you won’t need to quench your thirst with unhealthy sugary drinks. You are also likely to eat fewer festive goodies.

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Drink alcohol in moderation: “Set a limit for yourself and stick to it. As a guide, keep to two drinks for males and one drink​ for females in one drinking session,” advises Singapore’s Ministry of Health.

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