Holiday festivities tend to be a time of temptations, a time where even the most health-conscious individuals indulge in a large variety of foods. There may be 20 different dishes in front of you and your goal may be to try every single one, twice. This article wasn’t written to discourage such behavior, but to aid and warn in the health risks and signs to watch for.
Large meals increase the risk of heart attacks, gallbladder pain, drowsiness, fatigue and much more.
When you overeat, your body has to work much harder. The heart must pump more blood to the stomach and intestines. Large meals take 2 to 4 times the number of hours to digest than your average meal, depending on the quantity of fat content. This fat content can also lead to changes that cause blood to clot more easily.
According to AAA, over 30% of Americans were expected to travel over 50 miles during the holidays last year. For those not traveling, fatigue and drowsiness can be aided with a nap in the old recliner, but for the other 98.6 million experiencing a “food coma,” it can be very dangerous. It is recommended to get plenty of rest and let your large meal process before getting behind the wheel.
Brooke Southards RD, LD, Dietician for Hutchinson Regional Medical Center, gives a couple recommendations regarding holiday health:
- “Make physical activity a priority. Exercise helps to burn calories, relieve stress and suppress your appetite. Try parking further away, take the stairs or use the walking tunnel on your breaks.”
- “If you have plans to attend a holiday party, prepare ahead of time, eat sensibly throughout the day and have a light snack before the party. If you arrive hungry there is a chance you will over eat. While at the party, drink a full glass of water before your meal and enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables available.”
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