With the cold weather closing in, the party season in full swing and an unlimited supply of mince pies to get your mitts on, it’s difficult to stay healthy over the xmas period. Here are some simple, easy to follow steps to help keep your heart healthy as the mercury drops towards the minus digits.
1. Serve a classic artichoke appetizer at an upcoming gathering. A German study links eating artichokes with lower levels of cholesterol.
2. Swallow a daily dose of aspirin. It’s often linked with preventing heart attacks and strokes. But check with your GP first.
3. Turn on mellow music. Studies show that listening for 30 minutes increases brain wave activity and lowers blood pressure.
4. Skip your morning coffee. Experts say the brew can put extra stress on your heart during strenuous activities by constricting blood vessels and raising your heart rate.
5. Sprinkle on some flaxseed. It’s been found to reduce blood pressure and the risk of stroke. Try it as a salad topper, or add ground flaxseed to bread dough.
6. Cook with cranberries. They’re high in heart-smart antioxidants.
7. Add a boost of antioxidants. Go for cruciferous veggies, such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, to drop your risk of heart disease.
8. Turn an apple a day into a cold-weather treat. Slice it, sprinkle with cinnamon, and pop it into the microwave for about a minute. Studies link apples to a reduction in cholesterol and plaque build-up in arteries.
9. Try a new workout. Escape cold weather with indoor activities like the gym!!
10. Return to snail mail. Sending greeting cards and thank-you notes is good for your health.
11. Shop on the weekdays. Avoiding weekend crowds will reduce your stress levels.
12. Snack on citrus fruits. Vitamin C in your body plummets when pressure builds. Protect yourself by eating plenty of oranges, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits this season.
13. Share a hug. You know what it feels like to get one when you need it. So pass it on, and chase away the blues.
14. Set aside 30 minutes for yourself every day. It’s important, no matter how busy you get this winter.
15. Sip hot cocoa. It’s rich in heart-healthy phenols and flavonoids and can help muscles recover after a workout. Skip sugary instant cocoa mixes and opt for hot chocolate made with cocoa powder and low-fat milk.
16. Finally have a good old laugh!!! It has been proven that laughter is one of the best ways to keep your ticker healthy. So use the festive period to spend time with family and friends and have a laugh.
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