Navigating the holidays might seem like a significant challenge if you’re dealing with high cholesterol. And it can be. But with a few tips, you can manage your cholesterol and still get the most from the season.
1. Watch Sugary Beverages: Sugar is the leading cause of high cholesterol, and it’s everywhere over the holidays. Do your best to avoid eggnog and other sugary drinks, instead opting for some cinnamon-spiced tea or a glass of red wine.
2. Eat Smart Most of the Time: Snacks are around this time of year, and so are a few big meals, but remember there is a lot in between. Make smart cholesterol choices most of the time, and you should be able to keep things in check: lots of fruit, vegetables, nuts, etc. Also, remember not to skip meals and drink a lot of water.
3. Plan Ahead: If you know you have a party to attend or a big meal coming up, plan ahead by eating a healthy snack beforehand. Even keeping a few handfuls of nuts in a bag in your pocket can be an excellent way to ensure you’ve got a healthy holiday snack on hand.
4. Keep Up with Exercise: If you’re going to be eating and drinking a little more this time of year, then you may want to boost activity levels too. Exercise is an effective way to manage cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. A walk in the morning or after dinner can also help you enjoy the sights of the season.
5. Try and Limit Stress: This is much easier said than done but minimizing stress can help lower cholesterol. It does so in a couple of ways: one is that stress can turn people to sugary and fatty “comfort” foods. The other is that it may independently contribute to higher cholesterol.
Try stress management techniques like saying “no” to invitations/requests, not overextending yourself (or your budget) during the season and including exercise in your daily routine.