How to be heart-healthy during the holidays

Local News

Editor’s note: KX News has partnered with the “Go Red for Women” campaign and will be bringing stories every week raising awareness and exploring tips on how to combat heart disease in women — a disease that is 80 percent preventable. 

In this report: Healthy eating during the holidays — a seemingly impossible task that’s really not that hard to accomplish.


CHI St. Alexius Physician Assistant, in the Cardiology department, Samantha Mollman knows heart failure first-hand. That’s why it’s so important for her to stress heart health.

“We definitely see women as young as their 40s and 50s come in with heart attacks,” she said.

Mollman says most often, heart disease is preventable, and that’s why it’s important to watch yourself — something not always easy with the holidays around the corner.

“Look at the nutrition label, anything that has high amounts of sodium, greater than 500 milligrams — anything with high amounts of saturated fat,” Mollman said.

Also, avoid anything high in sugar.

And when you’re preparing your Thanksgiving feast, the keyword is “substitute.”

“Adding more vegetables to casseroles, for example, or beans, things like that. Substitute with herbs like garlic,” said Mollman.

These are all healthier options.

Any changes you make in your diet don’t all have to come on the big day.

She says make slow changes, eat more fruits and vegetables, walk more, stop smoking and set attainable goals.

She says even losing five pounds reduces your risk of developing the risk factors that lead to heart disease.

Mollman says when you’re grocery shopping, look for the American Heart Association label on your foods, indicating the item is heart-healthy.

She also has some good news for Thanksgiving: Turkey is good for the heart!

But too much protein isn’t good, so everything in moderation.

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