February shines spotlight on heart health

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm •  Published: February 7, 2014
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Thanks to Valentine’s Day, the month of February is generally associated with all things related to the heart.

February is also American Heart Month, a time to remember to take care of the muscle that pumps blood to the body.

The American Heart Association is celebrating 50 years of American Heart Month this year, and kicks off its Go Red For Women heart health campaign today, with National Wear Red Day.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, every year, about 715,000 Americans suffer heart attacks, and about 600,000 people die from heart disease in the U.S., which is about one in every four deaths.

Cardiovascular diseases cost the U.S. $312.6 billion each year.

Heather Winn, Family and Consumer Sciences educator for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, said one of the best ways to reduce the risk of heart disease begins with a proper diet.

“It’s important to eat a variety of foods and aim for a healthy body weight,” said Winn. “Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, and balance the diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables and grain products.”

Winn said eating a variety of foods is the best way to get the energy, protein vitamins minerals and fiber a body needs.

“No single food can supply all the nutrients in the amounts you need,” said Winn. “It is the content of the total diet that counts.”

Winn recommends choosing a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

“These foods supply important vitamins, minerals, fiber and complex carbohydrates,” said Winn. “They are also generally low in fat. Dietary fiber has been related to many health conditions.”

Being overweight can increase a person’s total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, which can lead to heart disease.

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