Friday, February 21, 2014

Highway to Heart Health

Did you know that February is National Heart Awareness Month? Heart disease is the leading cause of mortality in the US today.  Although most people associate heart disease as something that affects older generations, more research is showing the detrimental effects of heart disease on our younger population. Why?  

Well, it really is a combination of both dietary choices and physical activity. It’s no surprise that obesity is on the rise due to American reliance on convenience foods that are easy to grab on-the-go. Although they may be satisfying in the moment (who doesn’t enjoy a Pop-Tart on your way to class?), continuing to eat these foods day after day may increase your risk of developing conditions related to heart disease.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying eating a donut or breakfast pastry will cause you to have a heart attack! What I am suggesting is that you pay closer attention to the conveniently packaged items you eat on a daily basis and challenge yourself to try one of Ms. Nash’s quick and convenient heart healthy ideas for on-the-go munching!

Show Yourself Some Love

Evelyn Nash

As a busy college student, being healthy and nourishing our bodies sometimes gets set aside.  This task becomes especially more difficult because February also means midterms. Suddenly soda, French fries, and candy look much more appealing than healthier alternatives.  Fortunately I found some amazing options in the marketplaces on campus that are not only heart-healthy but are delicious and provide great study fuel for 8th and 9th week grind.

1. Strawberries are full of heart-healthy vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.  They satisfy a sweet craving without sacrificing nutritional benefits.  I like eating them with low-fat yogurt for a creamy treat.

2. A handful of almonds is not only a filling and protein-rich snack, but heart-healthy!  Almonds have been shown to help control blood sugar which can prevent heart disease.  If you don't like them plain you can also purchase one of the trail mixes sold at the markets.

3. It is true that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.  Whether you enjoy apples plain, on top of your morning oatmeal, or with a spoonful of nut butter they are very good for your heart.  Apples help to lower bad cholesterol and they are extremely filling.

4. When munchies strike don't reach for chips or candy, try popcorn instead.  Air-popped popcorn is actually packed full of fiber that can help prevent heart disease.  As long as you keep your popcorn plain (avoid topping it with rich butter or cheese) you can enjoy a guilt-free snack and satisfy your salty cravings.

Interested in learning more about a particular topic? Feel free to email me at or follow HDH on twitter & check Facebook for upcoming events featuring the Taste Buds!

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