Want to maintain a healthy heart during the holidays? The following are some healthy holiday habits to help the heart this season.

The leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women is heart disease, which is why it’s so important to take care of your heart health – especially during the holidays. “Holidays can really take a toll on our stress levels and diets, even if we’re healthy the rest of the year,” says Dr. Anne Thorson, cardiologist and associate director of UCSF’s Center for Prevention of Heart and Vascular Disease.

“The average person gains five pounds over the holidays, which is hard on the heart. What’s important to remember any time we’re trying to improve our health is that even the smallest changes can have a big impact.”

To help you take care of your health, here are some heart-healthy tips that you can follow during the holidays.

Eat Healthy Snacks

Holiday Habits to Help the HeartThe holiday season can get pretty busy and you may just eat any snack that’s available, even if it isn’t healthy. However, if you have healthy snacks prepared like berries, it’ll be much easier to eat healthily this season.

Keep Moving

Don’t wait until New Year’s to make a fitness resolution; instead, begin exercising today by fitting in small bits of activity throughout your day. For example, you can park farther away from a store and walk a little bit more or take the stairs instead of the elevator. The goal is to shoot for at least 30 minutes on most days, but you can start out smaller and gradually increase your exercise time.

Limit Your Alcohol

If you’re going to holiday parties, chances are there will be alcohol available – just don’t go overboard. According to researchers, binge drinking can lead to a condition dubbed “holiday heart.” Symptoms of this alcohol-induced condition include heart palpitations, light-headedness, and difficulty breathing.

Additional Tips

Make sure to eat a healthy high-protein snack (like nonfat yogurt and fruit) before going to a party to keep you energized and full so you won’t have to eat unhealthy party foods. This rule also applies to drinking: start by drinking some bubbly water with a lime instead of a glass of wine or champagne. Also, look for healthier snacks like olives and dark chocolate instead of potato chips and milk chocolate.

l-arginine plus“Despite all of the fad diets out there, the current thinking on weight loss and management is not to deprive yourself of the foods you like, but to have them less often or in smaller portions,” says Thorson. “As long as your overall diet is moderate in fat and calories, you’ll still be able to fit in the foods you love.”

You can also give your heart health an extra boost this holiday season by taking a daily supplement like L-arginine Plus. Its ingredients promote circulation, blood pressure, cholesterol, and overall heart health. Give yourself the gift of a healthy heart this season by following these tips and taking L-arginine Plus.