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Posts Tagged ‘heart health’

carrots

The Easter Bunny came to visit a couple of weeks ago, and while he was here he ate some nice, healthy carrots. We need to follow his example, because his favorite food is actually one awesome vegetable.

A 10-year study recently completed in the Netherlands shows that carrot intake can greatly reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). We all remember our moms telling us to eat carrots to protect our eyes, but our heart? Not so much. So this study is really eye-opening (excuse the pun, I couldn’t resist).

Research participants were asked to eat fruits and vegetables from four main color categories: green, orange/yellow, red/purple, and white. Of the four categories, orange/yellow was found to be the most protective against cardiovascular disease (especially foods with deeper shades of orange).

Participants who ate at least one-fourth cup of carrots (about 2-3 baby carrots) per day had a lessened risk for CVD, and participants who ate the most (one-half to three-fourths cup per day) had a significantly lowered risk.

Carrots have always been known as a good source of antioxidants in terms of their beta-carotene content. But they also contain phytonutrients called polyacetylenes, which help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells. Cancer, eye, and heart protection—who knew the humble carrot had all that going on?

Planting

If you are putting in a garden this summer and have never tried growing carrots, this might be the summer to give them a spin. Carrots are easy to grow from seed, so the initial expense is minimal. For your first effort, consider miniature carrots.  They have small, shallow roots that are quite sweet and grow well in soils with some clay content (that’s us, folks).

You can begin planting carrots in mid-April. Start by loosening the soil in the planting bed at least 8- 12 inches deep, rake smooth, and then sow seeds about a quarter inch deep. Seeds should be spaced approximately two inches apart. You don’t need to plant all the seeds at once; judge how many to plant by your family size. For a continuous supply of young carrots, start a new row of seeds approximately every three weeks.

Harvesting

Pull carrots when mature in size and color. Twist off the long green tops to prevent moisture loss, and use a dry vegetable brush to remove any clumps of soil. At this point, there are two rules of thumb you can follow when it comes to carrot storage.

Some “dry camp” followers say to seal the unwashed carrots tightly in a plastic bag in the coolest part refrigerator and wash just before using. The “wet camp” followers believe carrots should be washed and placed in a container with water (which should be refreshed every 4-5 days). Your choice, but just make sure they are covered because carrots begin to go limp when exposed to air.  Most varieties keep for a month in the fridge if stored properly.

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Sources:

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0013609

http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/homegardening/scenea765.html

 

 

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ginormous

Did you know the body needs only a very small amount of sodium in the diet to function? According to the American Heart Association, that amount is less than 500 mg per day, which in cooking terms is about ¼ of a teaspoon. The reality, unfortunately, is that very few of us come close to keeping our sodium intake that low.   Most people consume a lot more—a whopping 3,400 milligrams per day on average.  What’s even scarier? 97% of Americans do not know, or seriously underestimate, their daily sodium intake. The newly released 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting our daily amount of sodium consumption to 2,300 mg or less per day.

The majority of sodium we consume in the diet is in the form of salt. Where is it hiding, you ask? Approximately 77% of sodium intake comes from restaurant meals, processed foods and prepackaged foods.  To illustrate, fresh broccoli contains a mere 27 mg of sodium. However, if it’s processed into canned cream of broccoli soup, it shifts from 27 mg to 770 mg of sodium!

Which foods are the top sources of sodium? The list includes:

  1. Breads
  2. Lunch Meats
  3. Pizza
  4. Soups
  5. Sandwiches, including burgers
  6. Cheese

Here are five tips to help you limit your sodium intake:

*Read labels and make yourself aware of serving sizes. This can be a real eye opener when looking at the sodium content in many products sold at the grocery stores.  Foods that contain 20% or more of the % Daily Value for sodium are considered high in sodium; 5% or less is considered low.

*At a restaurant, ask the chef or cook to prepare your food without salt.

*When shopping, choose fresh and/or less processed vegetables. If purchasing frozen, try to avoid added salts and sauces.

* Don’t put the salt shaker on the table. Even though salting at the table only accounts for about 6% of our total salt intake, every little bit helps.

* Use herbs and spices to flavor food instead of cooking with salt.

 

Sources: The American Heart Association  http://sodiumbreakup.heart.org/

 

Written by: Susan Zie, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension – Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

 

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extesnion- Erie County, Green.308.osu.edu

 

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Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States? Heart disease is the #1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year…..that is approximately one woman every minute.

If you had heart disease, would you recognize the symptoms? Most think of crushing chest pains, but that is not always the case for women. Some of the common symptoms for women include shortness of breath, nausea, back pain, vomiting, and jaw pain. These are often more subtle and women mistakenly write them off as a less serious issue such as the flu, aging, or acid re-flux.

There are actions you can take to reduce your risk. Your behavior and lifestyle are major factors in your overall heart health. These involve things you can control:

  • blood pressure
  • cholesterolheart health
  • smoking
  • diabetes
  • diet and weight control
  • physical activity

It is important that you measure your risk for heart disease and do what you can to prevent it. To get started, check out this tool to help you assess your risk of having a heart attack.

You need to make your heart health a priority because no one else will do it for you. Be sure to schedule a well-woman visit, a prevention check-up to review your overall health so your doctor can measure blood pressure, check cholesterol and look for signs of heart disease, stroke, and other illnesses. It is a great time to schedule if you haven’t already done this.

February is American Health Month and a great way to show your support of women’s heart health is to participate in National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 5th.

heart health 2

 

 

 

Sources

American Heart Association, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/HeartAttackToolsResources/Heart-Attack-Risk-Assessment_UCM_303944_Article.jsp#.VqEIdfkrJD9

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/

 

Written by: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension – Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Daniel Remley, Field Specialist, Family Nutritional Wellness, Assistant Professor, OSUE-Human Ecology Ext Admin, remley.4@osu.edu

 

 

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Autumn

Stress often gets a bad rap. In small doses, stress serves as a motivator to get things done.  It also gives us the ability to run faster and think more quickly when facing an emergency. Yet, if you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price.

Protect yourself by recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process.

Many health problems are caused or exacerbated by stress, including:

  • Pain of any kind
  • Heart disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Weight issues
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema

Managing stress is about taking control and taking charge. Take charge of your emotions, thoughts, schedule, and your environment.  Strengthening your physical health will help you cope with the symptoms of stress.

There are a number of techniques that are useful to reduce stress. Here are a few of these ideas:

  • Set aside relaxation time
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get plenty of sleep

Find something that calms you and get in the right mindset to face these challenges. Managing your stress will bring balance to your life.  While we may not be able to control all the stressors in our lives, we can change how we react to them!

Writer: Beth Stefura, MEd., RD, LD, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mahoning County.

Reviewer: Liz Smith, M.S. RDN,LD, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed

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Nearly 30 years ago, within a 7 year time span, both of my parents died of cardiovascular disease.  I was a young woman in her mid-twenties and they were in their early fifties.  My father had high blood pressure, needed to lose weight and to stop smoking.  Their lifestyles weren’t health oriented.  They started smoking during WWII and continued their entire lives.  My dad stopped smoking but the negative health effects took their toll.  Within 6 months he was dead of a heart attack.  For a high school student, this was a traumatic life event.  My mom died of a stroke and heart attack about 7 years later.  Her weight was normal but she’d also been a smoker for 40 years of more.  Yes, this is their monument, and my father was a stone cutter and owner of Treber Memorials.  My family has had a monument business for the past 143 years but it was heartbreaking for us to select this monument.

Why do I share my story?  Because heart attack and stroke are two of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.  Although you may have genetic factors that increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, there are many lifestyle habits that you can embrace to reduce your risk factors.

According to the Million Hearts™ Health Campaign, heart attack and stroke are two of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States, making cardiovascular disease responsible for 1 of every 3 deaths in the country.

Visit this website http://millionhearts.hhs.gov and use their My Life Check tool to assess your current cardiovascular health and learn more about stroke and heart disease.

What can you do?

Follow these suggestions for a healthier lifestyle:

  •  Eat more vegetables and fruits.  Try a fruit or vegetable as a mid-morning snack.  Add a piece of fruit to your breakfast routine.  If you are hungry, pick some fresh veggies as a healthy snack.
  • Move more.  We all know how important physical activity can be.  Make the commitment to move more each day.  Park your car away from the entrance, take the stairs, enjoy a walk during your lunch break or after dinner.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.  Talk to your doctor about your weight.  If you need to lose weight, start making small changes to reduce your calories and increase your physical activity.
  • Stop smoking.  If you are a smoker, set a quit date.  For resources to help you quit, call 1 800-QUIT NOW.  Talk to your doctor about other options to help you stop smoking including medications.  Smoking can lead to heart attack or stroke and steals an average of 13-14 years of your life.  Once you stop smoking, your risk for heart attack and stroke declines each year.
  • Watch your Blood Pressure.  High blood pressure increases the heart’s workload, causing the heart to thicken and become stiffer.  It also increases our risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure.
  • Talk to your doctor about your cholesterol number.  As blood cholesterol rises, so does the risk of coronary heart disease. When other risk factors (such as high blood pressure and tobacco smoke) are present, this risk increases even more. A person’s cholesterol level is also affected by age, sex, heredity, and diet.

Take the Million Hearts™ pledge: http://millionhearts.hhs.gov.Save your heart, take the Million Hearts pledge, and celebrate American Heart Month

Make a commitment to saving your life.

Sources:

Choose My Plate available at http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

Healthy Ohio Program available at www.healthyohioprogram.org

Million Hearts Campaign available at http://millionhearts.hhs.gov

Writer:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County, Ohio State University Extension.  treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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heart.jpg 10.6KFebruary is celebrated as American Heart Month to bring awareness of the impact of heart disease and to suggest lifestyle changes that can help us to have healthier hearts.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; one in three deaths are from heart disease and stroke. This averages to 2,200 deaths per day!

Almost all of us have been affected by heart disease in our own lives through the loss of a parent, sibling, spouse, or friend.   Heart disease and strokes also are the leading cause of disability which prevents us from working or enjoying everyday activities.

As one way to help us fight back against heart disease, the CDC has created the “Million Hearts” program. The goal of this program is to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by the end of 2016 by educating us on how to make heart healthy choices.

Each of us can help prevent heart disease for ourselves and our families by understanding the risks and taking the following steps:

  • Take the Million Hearts pledge at www.millionhearts.hhs.gov
  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week
  • Make your calories count by eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in sodium and trans fats, and cholesterol.
  • Know your ABCs:

Aspirin – ask your doctor is you should take one every day

If you have high Blood pressure or Cholesterol, get effective treatment.

If you Smoke, get help to quit.

Remember, making small changes in your diet and physical activity level can help you to live a longer, healthier life.

Source: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Be One in a Million this American Heart Month,  http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences,Ohio State University Extension.

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