Cardiologists’ Choice: Thanksgiving Dinner Foods for a Healthy Heart

What Cardiologists Eat for Thanksgiving and the Impact on Heart Health

Thanksgiving dinner is a time for indulgence, with roast turkey, side dishes, and desserts that can make your heart beat faster with delight. However, what does this feast of fat, salt, meat, sugar, and alcohol actually do to your heart health? Cardiologists have differing opinions on the matter, with some choosing to avoid the traditional dinner altogether, while others believe it’s important to enjoy the holiday along with its traditional foods.

The Camp of Alternative Menus

Dr. Andrew Freeman, the director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver, is among those who opt for a different menu for their own family. He no longer consumes turkey or any animal-based proteins and instead enjoys squash stuffed with quinoa, beans, and spices as his main course on Thanksgiving. He believes that holidays are meant to celebrate life, but the traditional dinner often involves consuming unhealthy foods that can harm our bodies.

The Camp of Traditional Foods

On the other hand, some heart doctors believe it’s important to enjoy the holiday along with its traditional foods. Dr. Marc Eisenberg, a clinical cardiologist and associate professor of medicine at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, admits to eating everything for Thanksgiving. He argues that if you deprive yourself on Thanksgiving, you’re more likely to binge eat the following day. Dr. Sean Heffron, a cardiologist at NYU Langone Health in New York, agrees that it’s alright to indulge on this special day, as long as it doesn’t turn into a six-week period of unhealthy eating from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.

Heart-Healthy Thanksgiving Options

For those concerned about their heart health, there are some key foods and drinks that cardiologists recommend. Dr. Susan Cheng, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, eats a mostly plant-based diet and opts for vegetable side dishes such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash, or salad greens. Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, makes her Thanksgiving dinner less carb-heavy by serving lots of salad and vegetables.

In terms of dessert, cardiologists suggest opting for fruit, cranberry bread, or mini pastries. Dr. Goldberg advises making a colorful fruit salad, while Dr. Freeman suggests cranberry or banana breads that contain simple ingredients and are delicious and moist.

Foods to Avoid

Cardiologists also advise avoiding certain foods for the sake of heart health. Turkey skin, which is high in fat and calories, should be skipped. Butter, due to its high animal fat and cholesterol content, is also best avoided. Traditional gravy, loaded with fats and calories, should be substituted with alternatives such as mushroom and flour gravy. Additionally, overly salty foods and excessive alcohol consumption should be avoided, as they can have negative effects on blood pressure and heart rhythms.

Heart-Healthy Tips

To take care of your heart during the holiday season, cardiologists offer the following tips:

1. Eat breakfast and lunch on Thanksgiving Day to avoid arriving at dinner extremely hungry.
2. Try to eat as healthy as possible in the days leading up to and following the holiday.
3. Stay active by going for a walk before and after dinner, playing football with your family, or engaging in other physical activities.
4. Enjoy the company of friends and family, as positive social connections can benefit heart health.

In conclusion, cardiologists have differing opinions on what to eat for Thanksgiving, but all agree that taking care of your heart during this indulgent holiday is important. By making conscious choices and opting for heart-healthy alternatives, you can still enjoy the festivities while keeping your heart health in mind.

Original Story at – 2023-11-21 15:26:13

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