Most individuals consume meals very high in fat during the holidays, never considering the health-depleting affects and potentially life-threatening consequences. Ah! Those gravies, sauces, butter and desserts can set-up individuals for an event that just the name makes the hair on your arms stand to attention.

Heart attacks seldom happen without warning, often explained by medical history, high cholesterol and/or high blood pressure, or family history of heart disease. But can they also be explained by external circumstances, like time of year or time of day? Are there certain occasions that pose greater risk for those with heart disease, diabetes, or obesity? ABSOLUTELY!

Deadly Days
That beautifully buttered turkey, ham or rib roast with all the trimmings might just be the trigger for an individual’s heart to go over-the-edge during a stressful holiday season.

Increases in stress levels equate to increases in heart attacks; the holidays are no exception. In the U.S., 50 percent more heart attacks occur in winter than in summer, mostly due to extraordinary stress, and high fat meals (comfort food).

High blood pressure damages arteries because the increased force of blood pumping through them pushes hard against arterial walls. Damage to the walls encourages plaque to form, leading to clogged arteries. It’s not clear exactly why stress can lead to heart attacks in those with hypertension, but it’s believed to be related to the release of adrenaline. Stressful situations cause your brain to flood the body with adrenaline, the “stress hormone,” which triggers a fight-or-flight response— speeding your heart rate. With the heart trying to pump more high-pressure blood in less time, it would make sense that the risk of heart damage increases.

You can stop eating trans-fats and start walking around more; but it’s a bit trickier to tell your family members that you’re not joining them for the holidays because you’ve made “other plans this year.” Holiday-related stress makes November through the end of January, the time of year for more heart attacks.

It’s not hard to see why. Stress makes us do some unhealthy things, like eat the rest of the pumpkin pie after everyone leaves or skip a morning walk because we’re exhausted from entertaining and too much sugar or those tempting carb that converted to sugar. Along those lines, stress increases heart attack numbers in two related ways: by decreasing healthy behaviors and increasing risky behaviors.

In the United States, about 1.1 million people suffer heart attacks every year, and about half of those heart attacks result in death.

According to the latest government reports, one in three U.S. adults, or 65 million people, have high blood pressure. Of these, only two-thirds know they have it and only one in three have the condition under control.

Cutting Your Risks, Naturally
Here’s where Health thru Education™ comes in— natural ways to reduce health-depleting effects of those high fat diets. LECITHIN is an important phospholipid needed by all living cells. Lecithin is produced within our own bodies – found in major organs: the heart, liver, and kidneys. Lecithin aids in maintaining our overall health and is utilized by every cell in our bodies. Though it is produced within our bodies, we do not always consume enough of the foods that provide the nutrition needed to produce adequate amounts. Lecithin can be found in many foods such as: cabbage, cauliflower, garbanzo beans, soy beans, split peas, organic lean meat, seeds, nuts and eggs. Today’s average diet, however, does not provide enough lecithin to successfully protect our cells and reap its benefits. Of its many benefits, lecithin has been proven to decrease cholesterol, promote cardiovascular health, regenerate a damaged liver and improve brain memory function.

One way lecithin aids in preventing or reversing certain diseases and disorders is that since it is predominately comprised of fat itself, it adheres to our cell and nerve linings, forming a sheath—preventing cholesterol and other fats from sticking. By doing this, in the case of patients with high cholesterol, it decreases the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol across the intestinal wall, thus lowering total cholesterol, including LDL’s (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol). With the reduction of blood cholesterol, research shows its ability to reverse atherosclerosis—hardening of the arteries. Though there are pharmaceutical products on the market that control and aid in the control of these diseases, lecithin, is capable of doing this through a natural healthy way, at a significantly reduced price – both in dollars and physical side effects. Similarly, lecithin intervenes with the body’s ability to form fat deposits—reversing damage caused by coronary artery disease. By creating a slippery lining, it prevents large fat deposits from accumulating, allowing the blood to flow smoothly when it once was clogged with fat deposits that would lead to blood clots. When it breaks down body fat, not only does it prevent fat from collecting in large deposits in our bodies, it then transports it to the liver and converts it into usable energy. Lecithin is also known to repair livers that have been damaged by abuse such as too much alcohol or drug consumption (over-the-counter and prescription) and most liver disorders from infection.

Lecithin supplements are produced from soybeans, meats and eggs and can be taken either as liquid, granules, or a capsule. You can find lecithin supplements at your health food store and it is non-toxic. It can be taken daily but dosage varies from product to product. However, if you consistently eat healthy, well-balanced meals, you probably do not need to supplement your diet, except maybe for those celebratory high-fat meals.

I sprinkle lecithin onto my gravies made from pan drippings to absorb the extra fat; it’s easy, healthy and fun to watch how the fat literally disappears. During a high fat meal, like during holidays, be sure to supplement with lecithin, it could save your life. In addition, I advise taking lecithin supplements from at least the beginning of November through January and anytime you’re eating away from home because hidden fat is everywhere. NOTE: The granules have no taste.