As the temperatures creep closer to zero, your heart health can take a hit, with heart attacks becoming more common in the cold season.

Those with underlying heart problems – whether they know about them or not – are twice as likely to suffer from the medical emergency during the winter months.

Dr Hilary Jones explained that blood becomes thicker and stickier and your blood vessels constrict when temperatures drop.

Furthermore, the cold season is also marked by Christmas that comes hand in glove with cholesterol-raising foods and drinks like mince pies, cheese boards and alcohol.

Combine these risk factors together and you get a recipe for a higher likelihood of developing heart problems.

While you don’t need to cut out your festive favourites from the menu entirely, it’s important to keep a balance, Dr Amir Khan explained.

If you want to take it a step further, the TV doctor also recommended adding five heart-healthy foods to your diet. “Diet plays a big part in how healthy your heart is,” Dr Khan said on ITV’s show Lorraine.

1. Dark leafy green vegetables

From spinach to kale and Swiss chard to Bok choy, leafy greens are packed with nitrates which can widen your blood vessels and lower your blood pressure.

“I feel like they are the answer to everything,” the doctor added.

2. Berries

The likes of blueberries and raspberries offer more than a tasty addition to your breakfasts.

Dr Amir explained that they are full of antioxidants that keep the inside of your blood vessels healthy.

3. Oily fish, walnuts or flaxseeds

Another important addition to a heart-healthy diet are omega-3 fatty acids that can protect the muscle at the centre of your circulation system.

Dr Amir said: “They are from salmon, mackerel, oily fish. But if you’re vegetarian, then walnuts and flaxseeds are the way to go.”

4. Olive oil

Even small tweaks like the choice of your cooking oil could make a difference for your heart. The doctor recommended choosing olive oil as it’s full of “lovely, healthy monounsaturated fats”.

Unlike their saturated counterparts, monounsaturated fats help protect your heart by maintaining levels of “good” cholesterol while reducing the “bad” one.

5. Water

If you’re planning to drink alcohol over the festive season, the TV doctor also recommended staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water.

“Keeping hydrated is really good for your heart too,” he added.

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