HPC: Beating the Drum for Heart Health
February is Heart Health Month and Health Promotion Council (HPC) wants to promote awareness of your heart health that can help you keep your heart strong all day, all month, and all life long! The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports heart disease kills about 600,000 people each year. And, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both and men and women. Heart is a big topic that obviously reaches many people and their families.
Have you thought about your heart lately? After all, it has been working for you non-stop from the time you were born. The heart is considered to be the most important muscle in your body because it pumps blood throughout your body. And, in turn, your blood brings fresh oxygen and nutrients to nourish the cells of your body. Your heart beats for you while you are eating dinner, exercising, watching a scary movie, or cheering for your favorite team.
So, why do most people forget to think about heart health? Probably because we don’t see it! As the saying goes, ‘out of sight out of mind’. Even as a professional nutrition educator and fitness trainer, I am guilty of forgetting my heart sometimes, too.
But, February is Heart Health Month and there is no time like the present to
start taking care of your heart or boost your efforts. Exercise and healthy food are an important combination for a healthy heart. The American Heart Association recommends that you exercise a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes every week of vigorous exercise. Thirty (30) minutes a day, five days a week is an easy way to remember this goal. According to the National Institute of Health, examples of moderate activities are walking, gardening, pushing a stroller and washing and waxing a car.
If you don’t feel you are able to make it for 30 minutes, it is ok! Start where you are with smaller intervals, like walking or dancing for 15 minutes a day and work towards a goal of 30 minutes or more a day!
Besides exercise, eating heart healthy like fruits, vegetables and whole grains are great ways to keep you healthy. Sometimes, the fruits and vegetables in the grocery store look dull and boring. But, all it takes is a little imagination and time to turn fruits and vegetables into something tasty, exciting and fun. For example you can try dipping your veggies or whole grain crackers in dips like hummus or salsa or snacking on roasted baby carrots. With fruit, add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger to apples, pears and bananas to take your ordinary fruit snacking over the top. HPC has provided two delicious and affordable recipes for salad and snacks below to inspire you!
Recipe for Spring Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette – Makes 6 Servings
6 cups loosely packed spring mix lettuces
Any add-ins of your choice — see hints below
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil