American Heart Month

If I were to ask you what month is associated with hearts, you would likely say February.

And you were probably thinking red roses and chocolates… not heart disease, right?

Well February is National Heart Month. This is to raise awareness of the prevalence of cardiovascular disease here in America, which is the #1 killer of both men and women in the country.

Though many of us are predisposed to developing various cardiovascular diseases simply by genetics, prevention is possible with lifestyle modifications.

veggieheart

Many factors play a role in the prevention of heart disease, but my favorite (obviously) is good nutrition. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a start! Small changes to your favorite foods can add up and make a big difference.

One of my favorite foods is pasta with meat sauce. How do I make it heart healthy?

1) Instead of beef, I use lean turkey to cut saturated fat and cholesterol

turkey

2) Adding fresh spinach gives me a punch of antioxidants and vitamin K

spinach

3) I definitely check labels for a low sodium marinara sauce, or I make it homemade!

4) Typically I use whole grain pasta… or maybe a box of heart-shaped pasta, because those must be heart-healthy, right?

heart5) And then for dessert, maybe some dark chocolate, because Cleveland Clinical says it’s okay. Or I’ll dip into the giant pile of Valentine’s candy that both my mom and my boyfriend’s mom sent (on the same day). I would never…

box

Want to know more about heart health? Check out the American Heart Association at Heart.org

*Disclaimer: Dipping into a giant pile of candy is not heart healthy.