The holidays are a time when we like to indulge ourselves and eat a lot. As noted by Ewa Glońska-Strączek, a psychodietitian, after a hearty meal, our body works much harder to digest and assimilate nutrients. Therefore, it is worth remembering about physical activity during the holiday season and include lean meat, fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Easter is ahead of us, a time when our tables will be full of various dishes. Many of us go into “holiday mode” during this period and indulge ourselves a lot. Why is it especially important to remember about physical activity at this time?
– Intake of too much food in a short time can lead to an increased load on the heart – said Ewa Glońska-Strączek, health educator and psychodietitian of the American Heart of Poland Group. It explains that after a heavy meal, the body has to work harder to digest and assimilate nutrients. – This process increases the demand for oxygen and energy, which leads to an increase in blood pressure, which in the long term can lead to damage to blood vessels and the heart, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease – noted the specialist.
Trans fats should be avoided
The expert pointed out that eating large amounts of food in a short time contributes to an increase in blood sugar levels, which can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.
– Excessive consumption causes a feeling of fatigue, heaviness and lack of energy, so let’s pay attention to the amount of food we eat – added Glońska-Strączek.
She also recommended avoiding the consumption of trans fats, which are present in many processed products, in cold cuts, white bread, sausages and cookies. Fatty meat dishes are also unfavorable because they increase the level of so-called bad cholesterol (LDL), which is deposited in the walls of blood vessels, which over time leads to their narrowing. – This increases the risk of diseases such as atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease and heart attack – explained the psychodietitian. She added that in the Christmas diet it is worth including lean meats, such as chicken or turkey fillet, fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, nuts and seeds, which contain valuable nutrients for heart and circulatory health.
Eggs are a valuable source of protein
A psychodietitian appealed not to eliminate eggs from the Christmas diet. – It is a source of valuable protein, which consists of as many as 18 different amino acids, additionally they are exogenous, i.e. those that our body does not produce, but we need them very much. If we feel like sweets, let’s choose dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, which is healthier for the heart – emphasized Ewa Glońska-Strączek.
Proper hydration is especially important during the holidays. – When we drink water, it helps to maintain electrolyte balance and also fills the stomach, which helps to reduce appetite and hunger. Drinking water also affects the maintenance of normal blood viscosity, prevents the formation of blood clots. Adequate hydration can also improve the elasticity of blood vessels, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, explained the specialist. When choosing water, it is worth paying attention to the sodium content – too much, especially in people with heart problems, can have a negative impact on the circulatory system. – Sodium causes swelling, because it leads, among other things, to water retention in the body, which increases the volume of blood circulating in the vessels and puts a strain on the heart – explained American Heart of Poland psychodietitian.
Do not overdo it with alcohol. – Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol has a negative effect on the heart and circulatory system. Ethanol is toxic to myocardial cells. Long-term and regular consumption of it in large amounts reduces the ability of the left ventricle to contract, which over time leads to heart failure, the expert emphasized. She warned that the consumption of even small amounts of alcohol causes an increase in blood pressure. – In healthy people with a balanced diet and an active lifestyle, one glass of wine drunk at dinner does not have any significant effect in this regard. However, people suffering from high blood pressure should maintain complete abstinence, she added.
During the holidays, it is especially important to remember about physical activity. The expert encourages you to try Nordic walking.
– Nordic walking oxygenates the body 20 percent more intensively than a regular walk and engages as much as 90 percent of the muscles of the whole body, stimulates our hearts to more intensive effort, and also normalizes blood pressure and lowers the level of bad cholesterol – she explained. Sitting for a long time is not good for people who have problems with circulation – especially those after a heart attack. For these people, movement should be an important part of the Christmas tradition. – Ultimately, walking reduces the frequency of heart contractions, increases its capacity, improves the oxygen content in the blood and makes blood vessels more elastic – emphasized the expert.
Not for hunger strikes after Christmas
After the holidays, some people severely restrict their diet. However, according to the specialist, this is not a good idea. – I advise against thinking that after Christmas it’s time for a hunger strike. Miracle diets, which are supposed to bring spectacular effects, can lead to deficiencies of elements that are necessary for the proper functioning of the heart – explained Glońska-Strączek. According to psychodieticians, a rational diet consists in introducing the basic principles of healthy eating and applying them in everyday life. – Short-term deviations from the rule do not negate the beneficial effect of a healthy diet on our body – he emphasizes.
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