heart healthy fruit and vegetables

Food & Nutrition

February is American Heart Month

You have the power to take action to protect yourself against heart disease. Small heart-healthy actions like adding more movement to our day or choosing healthy foods, can have a big impact on protecting #OurHearts.

Are You Heart Smart?

What to Know for a Healthier Heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. One in five deaths is due to heart disease, even though the disease is largely preventable.

Keeping your heart healthy starts with living a heart-healthy lifestyle. But first, you need to get smart about your heart. Knowing what causes heart disease, what puts you at risk for it, and how you can reduce those risks can help you make informed decisions to protect your heart and keep it strong.

Want to test your knowledge? Take this short Heart Smart Quiz:

Heart Smart Quiz

1. True or False? High blood pressure is also known as hypertension and occurs when your blood pressure is consistently 130/80 mm Hg or higher.

2. True or False? Your body mass index, or BMI, shows if your weight is in a healthy range for your height and is one measure of your future risk for heart disease.

3. True or False? Cholesterol helps make hormones, vitamin D, and substances to help you digest foods. Your body needs it for good health, but in the right amounts.

4. True or False? Eating lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, using fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and limiting foods high in saturated fat or sugar-sweetened beverages are all part of a heart-healthy diet.

5. True or False? Not getting enough sleep or getting poor quality sleep on a regular basis increases the risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease, and other medical conditions.

6. True or False? To strengthen their heart, adults should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking each week.

Answer Key: All answers are True.

How did you do? Knowing your own risk factors for heart disease can help guide your lifestyle choices, so talk to your healthcare provider to make sure you’re clear. Just as important: know your numbers. Your weight, waist size, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels all affect your heart. If they aren’t where they should be, make a pledge to begin improving them.

Adding more physical activity to your day, eating a heart-healthy diet, managing stress, getting enough quality sleep, and not smoking can put you on the path to better heart health. Learn more about heart disease prevention from The Heart Truth® at www.hearttruth.gov and download the Heart Smart Basics fact sheet to improve your knowledge about heart health.

Try these heart-healthy recipes:

Sweet and Sour Pork Fried Rice | American Heart Association Recipes

Turkey Medallions with Sweet Potato-Walnut Mash - Delicious Decisions | American Heart Association Recipes

Turkey Bacon and Spinach Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust | American Heart Association Recipes

Vegetable and Goat Cheese Phyllo Pie | American Heart Association Recipes

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Cornell Cooperative Extension Albany County offers free or low-cost educational workshops and lots of useful information on food-related topics from food safety and nutrition to healthy eating on a limited budget. Explore our links, check out our upcoming events, then give us a call to learn more!

Last updated February 1, 2024