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Kaylor: Celebrate American Heart Month in February

By Staff | Jan 30, 2015

Did you know February is American Heart Month, and not because of Valentine’s Day? Since 1963 Congress has required the president to proclaim February “American Heart

Month” to raise awareness about heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of disability. Your best weapons to fight cardiovascular disease are to know your risks, understand warning signs, and have a healthy diet and lifestyle. Although many associate heart disease with men, it is also the leading cause of death among women.

Source: Healthy Bites February 2012

By Lisa Franzen-Castle, PhD, RD Extension Nutrition Specialist, University of Nebraska Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center

Do you have risk factors for heart disease? (answer yes or no to each question)

Do you smoke?

Do you have high blood pressure? (140/90 or higher?)

Do you have high blood cholesterol?

Do you have diabetes?

Are you overweight (according to a health-care provider)?

Are you physically inactive?

Do you have a family history of heart disease? For example, did your father or brother have a heart attack before age 55? Did your mother or sister have one before 65?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be more likely to get heart disease.

Your food choices can make a positive difference in your heart health as well as your overall health. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days, too.

On the Menu: Heart-healthy Foods!

Consider these ideas* as you plan your menus. Compare Nutrition Facts labels on food products, too.

Breakfast: Fresh fruit, small glass of 100 percent citrus juice, low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt, whole-grain bread products and cereals, omelet made with egg whites or egg substitute

Beverages: Fat-free milk, water with lemon, flavored sparkling water, juice spritzer (half fruit juice and half sparkling water), iced tea, reduced-sodium tomato juice

Breads: Whole-grain breads and crackers; limit the butter or margarine you add.

Entres: Skinless poultry, fish, shellfish, extra lean meat, vegetable dishes, or pasta with red sauce or vegetables; limit your use of butter, margarine and salt at the table.

Salads: Romaine lettuce, spinach, other dark greens, other fresh vegetables, chickpeas and kidney beans; choose oil-based instead of creamy dressings.

Side Dishes: Vegetables and grain products, including whole-grain rice or noodles; add salsa or low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream or butter to potatoes

Dessert: Fresh fruit; fat-free frozen yogurt, sherbet or fruit sorbet

Source: Adapted from “Your Guide to A Healthy Heart,” a publication of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute available at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/other/your_guide/healthyheart.pdf


1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

4 eggs

c. white sugar

tsp. baking powder

Optional toppings: powdered sugar and/or fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9-inch round or square cake pan. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth. Combine chickpeas and eggs in food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add sugar and baking powder; blend. Pour in melted chocolate and then blend until smooth. Transfer batter to prepared cake pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Makes nine servings. Each serving (without frosting) has 320 calories, 13 grams (g) of fat, 47 g of carbohydrate, 3 g of fiber and 190 milligrams of sodium.

From NDSU Extension Service Food Wise Julie Garden-Robinson, Food & Nutrition Specialist

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