The holiday season is a fun and often busy time, with many people putting their health on the back burner. Give yourself the gift of a healthy heart this holiday season with these heart healthy tips from our cardiologist and a heart healthy recipe.

Geetha Pinto, MD, a cardiologist and director of the Heart Failure Program at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center

Geetha Pinto, MD, a cardiologist and director of the Heart Failure Program at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center

During the holidays, people tend to eat more unhealthy foods, exercise less and stress more – all of which can place strain on the heart, says Geetha Pinto, MD, cardiologist and director of the Heart Failure Program at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center.

The average American gains about one pound over the four-week holiday period, which adds up over the years and can eventually lead to obesity and increased risk of heart disease.

Follow Dr. Pinto’s heart healthy tips for the holidays.

  1. Everything in moderation. It’s okay to enjoy the treats of the holiday season, but pay attention to serving sizes. Don’t indulge at every meal, and know when to say “I’m done.”
  2. Weigh yourself every day. This helps you stay in tune with your body and make better choices during the day, especially when faced with indulgences at parties.
  3. Stay active. Don’t let the cold or a busy schedule keep you from moving! Walk indoors or do some indoor exercises like jogging in place, jumping-jacks or push-ups.
  4. Eat half a dessert. Take a taste, but eat only half a serving of the sugar and carbohydrate-rich treats like cookies, pie or cakes.

Try this heart healthy appetizer or side dish at your holiday party.

holiday-saladApple, Fig and Brussels Sprout Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • ¼-teaspoon salt
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • ¼-cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups baby kale and/or frisée
  • 1 head Belgian endive, leaves separated
  • 1 cup very thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
  • 1 small red apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/3-cup toasted walnuts
  • 4 fresh or dried figs, halved or quartered if large
  • ¼-cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Whisk vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in oil until well combined.
  2. Combine kale (and/or frisée), endive, Brussels sprouts, apple and walnuts in a large bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat. Add a generous grinding of pepper. Top with figs, pomegranate seeds and dried cranberries.

Source: Eating Well, Novmber/December 2016

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