Ladies, did you wear your Red?


First Posted: 2/3/2013

February 1, Friday, was National Red Day for ladies. February traditionally is thought of as heart month as valentines are everywhere. The focus on this campaign are our hearts. National Red Day encourages us to learn more about key guidelines to keep our hearts healthy and good habits that keep our hearts healthy too.

First don’t smoke, if you do, try to quit. Smoking increases your risk of a heart attack two to six times more. It also increases your risk of a stroke and cancer. Next, aim for a healthy weight. The key is aim. If you feel that you need to lose weight, first find a beginning step or action to meet our goal to focus on or aim, and then make a plan of action. Once you have tackled it, move on to the second. Small steps have shown to have a chance to be lifelong.

Third, know your numbers. Below are the recommended ranges.

Blood pressure, less than 120/80.

Total cholesterol, less than 200 mg/dL.

High Density Lipoproteins, or HDL, greater than 40 mg/dL.

Low density lipoproteins or LDL, less than 100 mg/dL.

Blood Glucose, fasting, under 99 mg/dL and Body Mass Index, between 18.5 and 24.9.

Becoming more active helps with meeting many of these key guidelines. It was alarming for me to learn that less than 25 percent of Americans walk or cycle for more than 10 minutes continuously in a typical week for transportation. Here is a beginning point that most of us can start with. Find one job that you presently rely on motor transportation and change it into a walk or using a bicycle.

For instance, I plan to walk to cash my check inside of driving. Many of these are personal and may take some creative juices.

A second step may be to look at the number of times we prepare foods in our own kitchen and eat at home. If you do enjoy a dinner out as a reward for your hard week or work, try buying a more expensive lean cut of meat or fish and enjoy a dinner for two at home. Share the responsibility of cooking among the family if it’s a chore for you. Eating at home, may increase the number of vegetables serve and reduce the sodium in our meal both key actions to strengthen your heart health. Last but not least, know your numbers. If you do not know your numbers, take a moment to make an appointment with your doctor. It’s February, heart month. Be kind to your heart!

Enjoy this easy to make soup. It is good for your heart!

Quick & Easy Black Bean Soup

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can low-salt chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 can water

1 cup stewed or other canned tomatoes

1/2 cup salsa (mild or hot!!!)

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1.Pour rinsed beans into a pan. Mash with a potato masher or fork.

2.Add broth, water, tomatoes, salsa and chili powder.

3.Bring to a boil, lower heat. Cover and simmer slowly for about 15 minutes.

Other Ideas:

Use other cooked or canned beans instead of black beans.

Add frozen or canned vegetables such as corn, green beans or peas.

Use other fresh vegetables in season such as green pepper or zucchini.

Top with freshly grated or thinly sliced cheese.

Add fresh cilantro and chopped scallions if you like

Mary R. Ehret, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., is with Penn State Cooperative Extension, Luzerne County, 16 Luzerne Ave., West Pittston, Pa., 18643. (570) 825-1701/602-0600. Fax (570) 825-1709. mre2@psu.edu.

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