How to maintain a healthy cholesterol level throughout the holidays
By The Headlines, December 25, 2023 | 03:18 PM
Many people have had a difficult year, so it makes sense if we're all reaching for the holiday sweets a little earlier than usual.
But after celebrating the holidays and indulging in high-saturated-fat treats like mince pies, brandy butter, and irresistible cheese boards, studies have shown that people's cholesterol levels can rise by as much as 20%. The average British person has been observed to consume almost three times their daily recommended calorie allotment on Christmas Day alone.
Concerningly, more than a third (37%) of adults in Ireland and the UK are unaware that they have elevated cholesterol, even though it is a key risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease.
Here are five fantastic ideas to help us keep our cholesterol in check throughout the Christmas and New Year season:
1. Change the spread.
In many of our holiday recipes, butter can be an essential ingredient—from the dough for mince pies to perfectly crispy roast potatoes to adding flavor to the vegetables. Butter, on the other hand, contains a lot of saturated fat, which has been demonstrated to raise the "bad" low-density lipoproteins (LDL) associated with elevated cholesterol. So why not use a spread that lowers cholesterol and contains plant stanols instead of butter? Plant stanol ester, a special and patented component, has been shown to reduce cholesterol and maintain a heart-healthy diet, so you can still eat those delicious roasties guilt-free!
2. Schedule your day to include some Christmas exercise, such as a chilly stroll.
One of the many advantages of exercise is that it can raise your level of "good" HDL cholesterol, which is necessary to remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream and return it to the liver for breakdown and excretion. In light of this, how about proposing a stroll on Christmas morning to start the day, followed by indulging in those roasties later?
3. Savor one or two celebratory mocktails!
It should come as no surprise that many of us prefer to partake in a few drinks during the holiday season, but you should watch how much you drink because alcohol increases blood cholesterol. You can reduce the total quantity of alcohol you consume throughout the holiday season by switching out alcoholic beverages with alcohol-free wine or beer.
Read more: 8 foods that help reduce cholesterol
4. Enjoy a fish feast this Christmas!
The topic of what meat to serve on Christmas Day is always on everyone's mind as the holiday preparations get underway. Would you like to try a seafood dish, a wonderful lamb, or even turkey? Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat that are found in fish and are necessary for the maintenance of a normal, healthy heart. So why not attempt preparing a delectable salmon appetizer or even a fish meal to provide a fish dish instead of red meat for the folks seated around the table?
5. Try the brussels sprouts this year.
Over time, Brussels sprouts have earned a bad image, and on the Christmas table, they are frequently ignored. However, before you write off those Brussels sprouts this year, remember that they are packed with nutrients that can significantly lower your cholesterol. When absorbed in sufficient quantities, the soluble fiber in Brussels sprouts and other vegetables can lessen the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream, hence lowering total cholesterol levels and the chance of developing heart disease.