Counteracting the Effects of Holiday Meals and Snacks (If You Must Indulge)

The holidays have begun… Christmas is right around the corner, and hand-in-hand with holiday festivities comes parties and social events, and don’t forget… the food! While many of us may feel conflicted and have the desire to be good boys and girls and not indulge in some of the naughtier foods that are fat-filled and “carbohydracious,” there is also the pull that comes to blend in and behave in a socially acceptable manner by being polite and eating what is offered.

Never fear, there are some things that you can do to help defend your arteries from hardening and your heart from skipping a beat. To the rescue can come nutrients and behaviors that you can apply that act as counteracting mechanisms to protect your poor, afflicted body (one that has just taken on an onslaught of fats and carbs).

Several research projects have been done to discover the effects of certain nutrients and their counteracting effects pre- and post- high calorie, fatty meals. Some of the findings are promising. While the findings are something you can try at home, it isn’t recommended to make it a habit to eat a fatty, high carbohydrate-filled diet on a regular basis, trying to negate their effects by the following methods. The best diet is still a moderate and balanced one, sans high fat, high carbs, and a high calorie intake.

With the above disclaimer, we’re now ready to dive into some of the remedies for a meal or snack that is high in fat content. Did you know that a glass of orange juice can help to counteract the effects of a high fat meal? Normally after eating a meal that is high in fat content, the arteries react by becoming inflamed, and the endothelium (protective layer of your arteries) begins to break down. But orange juice can help to mitigate the oxidative stress and prevent damage to blood vessels caused by the free radicals from a high-fat meal, according to a study done by researchers at the University at Buffalo, N.Y.

Don’t you love the nuts that become plentiful and available at a host’s home near Christmastime? Good on ya, indulge, because according to another study done by the Journal of American College of Cardiology, a handful of walnuts can also help to protect arteries against the shock of a high-saturated-fat meal.

If you’re the type that likes to swallow pills or dietary supplements, you’re in luck, because a University of Maryland cardiologist has found that fruit and vegetables (in capsule form) were able to somewhat blunt the effects of a fatty meal. A previous study done by the same cardiologist, Dr. Gary Plotnick, found that high doses of vitamin C and E taken immediately before eating a high-fat meal seemed to blunt the effects as well. But before you go gorge yourself this holiday season and expect that supplements will totally protect you, take note that his study also pointed out that in general, 3 to 5 hours after a very high-fat meal, the blood vessel’s function becomes abnormal (that’s without any supplementation or other intervention, but it does make you stop and think).

If you know you’re going to be eating some unhealthy foods during the holiday season, remember to drink plenty of water. Doubling up on your water intake with (8) 16 oz. glasses of water will help to get rid of toxins and flush the system. And for one more healthy tip to mitigate some of the effects of high-fat snacks and meals during the holidays – go out and take a 30-45 minute brisk walk, especially after a heavy meal. This also helps to counteract the effect that fatty foods have on your arteries. Happy and healthy holidays!

About the Author

Amber Merton is a health and fitness advocate, and writes for the natural latex mattress manufacturer, Plushbeds.

*Image courtesy of*