February is American Heart Month!
Take Time to Treat YOUR Heart Right!
From the American Heart Association’s Advocacy team, Happy American Heart Month!
With legislative sessions getting into full swing, our annual Wear Red Day and our goal of empowering individuals to take charge of their heart-health with the American Heart Association’s My Life Check, it’s shaping up to be a busy February! Below are three easy steps you can take this Heart Month to improve your health and the health of your loved ones!
Raise Your Voice: Support Heart-Healthy Policies in Your Community
Thanks for your help educating legislators in the past. With your help, we have been able to pass policies to improve heart and stroke health - saving and improving lives of Ohioans! Now, we need to start again! There will be at least 34 new members in the Ohio legislature and a new Governor and agency directors. They may not know our recommendations for science based policy. You can help today by sending a message to your legislators on Ohio's policy agenda - just click here!
Make it Your Mission: Wear Red!
Friday, February 4th is National Wear Red Day! Wear RED and make it your mission to raise awareness that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women and that there are ways to reduce your risk. Visit GoRedforWomen.org today and help spread the word!
My Life Check: Know Life’s Simple Seven
Learn where you stand with Life’s Simple Seven—the 7 factors you can affect to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Take the My Life Check assessment. In just a few minutes, you’ll know how you’re doing with each one of Life’s Simple Seven and get your own personal heart score and health plan.
Have a Happy, Healthy American Heart Month!
Cresha Auck, OH Government Relations Director
American Heart Association
Melissa Brown, Grassroots Director
American Heart Association
P.S. Don't forget to Find Us on Facebook!
25 Top Heart-Healthy Foods
With the help of these nutrition experts from The Cleveland Clinic and the American Dietetic Association, we've put together a list of the "best of the best" heart-healthy foods.
The foods listed here are all top-performers in protecting your heart and blood vessels. We've also got menu ideas -- so you can easily bring heart-healthy foods into your daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Omega-3 fatty acids.
Grill salmon with a yummy rub or marinade. Save a chunk to chop for a pasta or salad later on.
- Flaxseed (ground)
Omega-3 fatty acids; fiber, phytoestrogens.
Ground flaxseed hides easily in all sorts of foods -- yogurt parfaits, morning cereal, homemade muffins, or cookies.
Omega-3 fatty acids; magnesium; potassium; folate; niacin; calcium; soluble fiber.
Top hot oatmeal with fresh berries. Oatmeal-and-raisin cookies are a hearty treat.
- Black or Kidney Beans
B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate; magnesium; omega-3 fatty acids; calcium; soluble fiber.
Give soup or salad a nutrient boost -- stir in some beans.
Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols.
Mix a few almonds (and berries) into low-fat yogurt, trail mix, or fruit salads.
Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; folate; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols.
Walnuts add flavorful crunch to salads, pastas, cookies, muffins, even pancakes.
- Red wine
Catechins and reservatrol (flavonoids).
Toast your good health! A glass of red wine could improve "good" HDL cholesterol.
Omega-3 fatty acids; folate; niacin.
Here's lunch: Salad greens, fresh fruit, canned tuna. Keep "Salad Spritzer" - a light dressing -- in your office fridge.
Niacin; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium.
Tasty tofu is easy: Thinly slice "firm" tofu, marinate several hours, grill or stir-fry.
- Brown rice
B-complex vitamins; fiber; niacin; magnesium, fiber.
Microwavable brown rice makes a quick lunch. Stir in a few chopped veggies (broccoli, carrots, spinach).
- Soy milk
Isoflavones (a flavonoid); B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate, calcium; magnesium; potassium; phytoestrogens.
Soy milk is great over oatmeal or whole-grain cereal. Or, make a smoothie with soy milk.
Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); anthocyanin (a flavonoid); ellagic acid (a polyphenol); vitamin C; folate; calcium, magnesium; potassium; fiber.
Cranberries, strawberries, raspberries are potent, too -- for trail mixes, muffins, salads!
Alpha-carotene (a carotenoid); fiber.
Baby carrots are sweet for lunch. Sneak shredded carrots into spaghetti sauce or muffin batter.
Lutein (a carotenoid); B-complex vitamins; folate; magnesium; potassium; calcium; fiber.
Pick spinach (not lettuce) for nutrient-packed salads and sandwiches.
Beta-carotene (a carotenoid); Vitamins C and E; potassium; folate; calcium; fiber.
Chop fresh broccoli into store-bought soup. For a veggie dip, try hummus (chickpeas).
- Sweet potato
Beta-carotene (a carotenoid); vitamins A, C, E; fiber.
Microwave in a zip-lock baggie for lunch. Eat au naturale, or with pineapple bits.
- Red bell peppers
Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex vitamins; folate; potassium; fiber.
Rub with olive oil, and grill or oven-roast until tender. Delicious in wraps, salads, sandwiches.
Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex vitamins; folate; fiber.
Grill or steam slightly, then dress with olive oil and lemon. It's a pretty side dish.
Beta-cryptoxanthin, beta- and alpha-carotene, lutein (carotenoids) and flavones (flavonoids); vitamin C; potassium; folate; fiber.
Got orange juice? Check out the new nutrient-packed blends.
Beta- and alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein (carotenoids); vitamin C; potassium; folate; fiber.
For a flavor twist, try oil-packed tomatoes in sandwiches, salads, pastas, pizzas.
- Acorn squash
Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex and C vitamins; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium; fiber.
Baked squash is comfort food on a chilly day. Serve with sautÃ©ed spinach, pine nuts, raisins.
Alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex and C vitamins; folate; potassium; fiber.
A fragrant ripe cantaloupe is perfect for breakfast, lunch, potluck dinners. Simply cut and enjoy!
Beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein (carotenoids); Vitamins C and E; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium.
Serve papaya salsa with salmon: Mix papaya, pineapple, scallions, garlic, fresh lime juice, salt and black pepper.
- Dark chocolate
Reservatrol and cocoa phenols (flavonoids).
A truffle a day lowers blood pressure, but choose 70% or higher cocoa content.
Catechins and flavonols (flavonoids).
Make sun tea: Combine a clear glass jar, several tea bags, and hours of sunshine.
Your Guide to Nutrients in Heart-Healthy Foods
Phytoestrogensare substances in plants (like flaxseed) that have a weak estrogen-like action in the body. Studies suggest that flaxseed lowers the risk of blood clots, stroke, and cardiac arrhythmias. It may also help lower total and LDL "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides, and even blood pressure.
Phytosterols are plant sterols that chemically resemble cholesterol -- and seem to reduce blood cholesterol. All nuts and seeds, including wheat germ, have phytosterols.
Carotenoids are heart-protective antioxidants in many colorful fruits and veggies. Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene are carotenoids.
Polyphenols are another set of antioxidants that protect blood vessels, lower blood pressure, reduce LDL "bad" cholesterol. Flavonoid polyphenols include catechins, flavonones, flavonols, isoflavones, reservatrol, and anthocyanins. Non-flavonoid polyphenols include ellagic acid (found in all types of berries).
Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish like salmon) and alpha-linolenic fatty acids (found in plant foods like walnuts) help boost the immune system, reduce blood clots, and protect against heart attacks. They also increase good HDL levels, lower triglyceride levels, protect arteries from plaque buildup, are anti-inflammatories, and lower blood pressure.
B-complex vitamins -- like Vitamin B-12 (folate) and vitamin B-6 -- protect against blood clots and atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Niacin (vitamin B-3) helps increase HDL "good" cholesterol.
Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage. Magnesium, potassium, and calcium help lower blood pressure. Fiber-rich foods help lower cholesterol levels.