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Healthy Living: National Heart Month

February is not only a month for expressing emotions of the heart, but promoting awareness of heart health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 25 seconds an American will have a coronary event, and every minute, one will die. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States. But what is especially tragic is that many of these cases could have been prevented.

Promoting awareness of heart disease is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. When I was a sophomore in high school my dad, who was only 39 and in good health, had a heart attack. He had a quadruple bypass and later found out his heart attack was due to a genetic disorder.

Our family is one of the lucky ones; we are very fortunate to still have my dad with us today. But, having witnessed the devastating effects of this awful disease, I realized one of my main goals in life would be to help promote healthier living and prevent heart disease. And education is my main tool.

For instance, did you know you can control many of the major risk factors that contribute to heart disease? High cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity are some of the major risk factors of heart disease that can be controlled.

Simply limiting the meals you eat outside the home can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. Cooking at home and knowing what you’re putting in your body can really make a difference in your weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. Switching to lean meat, lean poultry, 2% cheese, low fat dairy products, and extra virgin olive oil or canola oil will help reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Stir-frying, grilling, baking and steaming are delicious hearty friendly ways to prepare your food.

This Valentine’s Day, treat your loved ones to something that will truly last – a healthier heart.

  • Encourage your loved one, no matter their age, to get a yearly check up by their doctor.
  • For a special occasion, cook a heart-healthy dinner, like grilled salmon and steamed vegetables.
  • If you want to give them something sweet, make it a basket full of their favorite fruits.

Having your loved ones around for years to come will be worth the effort you put in.

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