Stay Healthy During the Big Game

As game days go, this Sunday is a big one. Families, friends and even your annoying neighbor from down the street will all be glued to the TV, watching the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks. It’s pretty likely that the only thought you’ll give to health is whether that receiver needs a stretcher or can just shake it off.

In addition to big plays, there are also big health no-nos on game day. Junk food and alcohol consumption typically increases, and if you have pre-existing conditions, this overindulgence may lead to health issues you can’t just walk off during halftime. While we at American Family Care would love it if your big game snacks consisted of cancer-fighting broccoli and heart healthy almonds, we know that a little indulgence is going to happen. We don’t mean to nag, but we do want you to be aware! Here are a few things to look out for health-wise on Super Bowl Sunday.

Car accidents: Beer and football may go together, but drinking and driving do not. If you’re out of beer by halftime, don’t volunteer to go out for more. According to a CBS News report and the National Transportation Safety Administration, more than 36 percent of all car accidents with fatalities were alcohol-fueled on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s not worth risking your life to make the second half kickoff.

Massive calorie intake: You know the typical human needs about 2,000 calories a day to maintain current weight. But if you’re inhaling 1,200 in one sitting (like the average person does during the big game), that’s a recipe for disaster.

Consider the average game day feast:

  • Two beers: 250 calories
  • Slice of pepperoni pizza (medium): 230 calories
  • Wings (6): 400 calories
  • Tortilla chips (9-12 chips): 140 calories
  • Queso dip (2 tbsp): 45 calories
  • Brownie: 150-200
    Total: More than 1,200.

That’s a pretty significant number of calories. And let’s be honest – you’re having an extra slice of pizza. If possible, stay out of the room where the food is located to keep yourself from overeating. Also, filling up on veggies — sadly, minus the delicious dip — can help keep you full longer and more able to resist that second brownie.

Stomach upheaval: Eating all those spicy wings and chili dips can wreak havoc on your digestion, causing indigestion, acid reflux and heartburn. Antacids can help with basic heartburn, but if you’re prone to ulcers or have acid reflux, be aware of the trigger foods that can make your condition worse, and stay away.

Alcohol effects: Alcohol does have some health benefits, but don’t be fooled into thinking downing a bottle of wine or a case of beer does you any favors. The Mayo Clinic defines heavy drinking as more than three drinks in a sitting for women and four for men. And, yes, that includes beer. Drinking impacts quite a few parts of the body, so just know that when you drink, it’s affecting your brain, heart, liver, pancreas and immune system.

We want you to have a great day with family and friends, enjoying the big game. Just be aware of the health risks associated with big game celebrations, and your health will be the winner in the long run.

Got any tips for staying healthy at game day gatherings? Tell us your ideas!