THE Heart Foundation are urging people to look after their body and enjoy food and drink responsibly this silly season.
Strategic programs director Julie Anne Mitchell said people should plan for their Christmas events in advance to stay on the right side of health.
"With celebrations kicking off in November and continuing through to the New Year, it's good to pre-determine how many drinks and snacks you will allow yourself," she said.
"Visualise what type of drinks and food you want to consume without getting carried away and abandoning healthy habits for the entire silly season."
Ms Mitchell said the kilos people gained over Christmas had a bad habit of sticking around into the New Year, increasing their risk of coronary heart disease.
"Keep an eye on your alcohol intake at this time of year as well," she said. "It can be a significant source of extra kilojoules, so try where you can try to alternate your alcoholic drinks with mineral or soda water.
"...What people underestimate is that too much alcohol can increase your risk of high blood pressure, putting you at future risk of heart disease and stroke."
Ms Mitchell said people should strive to achieve a balance between the good and bad food they eat over the holidays.
"A heart-healthy diet doesn't mean restricting yourself to one type of nutrient or food group," she said.
"What matters is the entire picture - the combination of healthy foods and how regularly you eat them - and this shouldn't change because it's the holiday season.
"We're encouraging people to limit highly processed foods and plate up a colourful variety of vegetables, fruit, and wholegrains, healthy proteins and fats, with smaller amounts of animal-based foods, like fish, poultry and lean meats."
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