Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States accounting for about 1 in every 4 deaths. However, heart disease is also one of the most preventable diseases. February is American Heart Health Month, which is a great time to remind everyone about the lifestyle changes that can be made to keep your heart healthy! By making healthy choices and knowing the risk factors, we can all work together to prevent heart disease.
Are you at risk for Heart Disease?
There are several factors that can increase someone’s risk for heart disease. These factors can include lifestyle choices, health conditions, age and gender as well as well as family history. More specifically, they can include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Physical inactivity
- Overweight and obesity
Tips for a Healthy Heart
- Eat a variety of nutritious foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, and low-fat dairy products, and lean protein.
- Reduce your saturated fat intake. Try cooking with olive oil, a heart healthy fat, over butter when possible.
- Shake your salty habits! Try using a variety of herbs and spices to season your foods rather than using salt.
- Increase your physical activity. The American Heart Association recommends to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity and 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week for a healthy heart!
Did you know that February 4th is National Homemade Soup Day? Here’s a great soup recipe that is lower in sodium and packed with different spices!
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup:
1 ½ cups fat free, plain Greek yogurt
1 butternut squash, about 2 ½ lbs
1 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
2 cups Vidalia onion, (peeled, chopped)
2 fresh garlic cloves (chopped)
1 tsp. fresh thyme (chopped)
1 bay leaf
1 quart water
1 pinch nutmeg
1 tsp. Salt
1/ tsp. Black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees convection.
Cut squash lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Season both squash halves with one tsp. of extra virgin olive oil and ½ tsp. of salt. Wrap in foil and place in baking tray or dish.
Roast squash halves for one hour or until fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle. Remove skin from the squash and set aside.
Place remaining 2 tsp. Of extra virgin olive oil, onion, carrots, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and ½ tsp. of salt in a pot on medium heat. Cook. Stirring regularly, until onions are translucent and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Add 1 quart of vegetable stock and roasted squash, and cook on a low simmer for about 30 minutes with the lid on. Remove bay leaf from soup. Place soup mixture into a blender with nutmeg, black pepper and ½ cup non fta Greek yogurt. Blend on high until smooth, about one minute. Portion into 6 bowls, divide 1 cup of yogurt into 6 dollops on top of each soup and serve immediately.