February is National Heart Month. Who wore red on February 6th? I know I did! Go Red for Women has done a fantastic job raising awareness about heart disease.
Let’s keep the momentum going throughout the year. The statistics are staggering, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be part of the change that leads to a healthier future!
The bad news:
- Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in women, leading to 1 in 3 deaths each year.
- Only 1 in 5 women believes heart disease is her biggest health concern.
The good news:
- Each of us can take control of our health by knowing the numbers. Yearly physicals are a great way to ‘check in’ with your body. Weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels will give you a good idea of how you’re doing.
- Exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease. Aim for 3-4 hours of moderate to vigorous exercise each week.
A healthy diet goes a long way!
These ‘super foods’ will give you the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to heart health:
- blueberries, citrus fruit, avocado, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and kale
- legumes: beans, lentils and peas
- nuts: almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts and macadamia nuts (watch salt and portion size)
- green tea
- dark chocolate (yes, please!)
Need some ideas?
Tex-Mex Breakfast Sandwich – Avocado is a perfect source of heart-healthy fat.
Apple Cinnamon Refrigerator Oatmeal – Oatmeal is full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, potassium and fiber (if you choose steel-cut over instant). Oatmeal can be prepared the night before and no cooking is required! Optional: replace applesauce with ½ an apple cut into small pieces. Serve chilled or warm.
Grilled Flank Steak Tacos with Avocado-Lime Salsa – Flank steak is considered a ‘lean beef’ and is a great option for red meat eaters.
Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwiches – Have a case of the winter blues? Get a burst of vitamin C from the pineapple on this summertime sandwich!
Turkey Chili – Serve this hearty dish with toasted pita or warm bread.
Spinach Salad with Orange Vinaigrette – You can’t go wrong with adding spinach to any meal. This ‘super food’ is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Almond Snack Mix – Make a batch of this ‘on the go’ snack. Dividing in advance will help with portion control.
Fresh Fruit Pops – It’s never too early to teach your kids about heart heath. These ‘pops’ can be served fresh or frozen. Choose any fruit you’d like, dip it yogurt, and roll in granola. Voilà!
Alison is a lover of sports and wellness. She recently decided to take her passion for wellness to the next level by going back to school to become a registered dietitian. Alison hopes to eventually work with kids in patient care. Alison’s hobbies include rooting on our Cincinnati sports teams, yoga, pole fitness, and mud runs. Her biggest passion is helping others and empowering those around her to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Got a question for Alison? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. She’d love to hear from you!