The holiday season is always exciting. You get to see friends and family that you do not normally visit on a regular basis. You also get to eat traditional holiday treats that you look forward to all year. When the holidays roll around, make sure that you are keeping your health in mind. Moderate your intake of sugary sweets, alcohol, and fatty cuts of meat. Making a few healthy substitutions is good for maintaining your weight and also for your heart health. Here are three heart healthy foods to include at your holiday gathering.
Sweet potatoes are often included in holiday cooking. They are very beneficial for your heart health. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A after you eat it, which boosts your immune system. The fiber found in sweet potatoes helps to lower your risk of developing high blood pressure. Sweet potatoes are often confused with yams, which are a root vegetable with similar size and coloring. Consider swapping out your traditional, starchy potatoes for sweet potatoes. They add a layer of sweet flavor and give you the added benefit of heart healthy nutrients as well.
When it comes time to eat an appetizer, you should look for mixed nuts instead of chips and dip. Nuts, especially walnuts, are good for your health because they help to lower your cholesterol. They're chock full of antioxidants, putting them on the same playing field as fruits and vegetables. Nuts come in a variety of flavors and textures, making them the perfect pre-dinner treat to munch on. Make sure that you are eating a moderate amount of nuts at each sitting; they are high in calories and you should choose low-salt options.
Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, should be the star protein at your holiday supper. They are full of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that benefit your health. Research suggests that those who eat plenty of fatty fish are less likely to suffer from abnormal heartbeats. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week. Salmon is a particularly good choice for your holiday supper because this fish pairs well with side dishes, spices, and sauces. Salmon is also leaner than other meats, such as pork or beef, and that helps you to cut down on your cholesterol.
If you have any concerns about your heart and what foods are most beneficial to eat, consider contacting a heart specialist to go over a diet plan and discuss what to look out for. They'll be able to help you better understand the different risks and benefits of different foods and how they'll affect your heart.