JAMESTOWN, NEW YORK (February 2, 2017) -- Cornell Cooperative Extension Chautauqua County’s EFNEP Program would like to remind Americans that February is National Heart Month, and we are encouraging all to take charge of their health and start one new, heart-healthy behavior that can help reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke. One good way to start is to add exercise to your daily routine. Start off the month by walking 15 minutes, 3 times each week. By mid-month, increase your time to 30 minutes, 3 times each week.
Increase healthy eating by cooking heart-healthy meals at home at least 3 times each week and use smart fats. Opt for unsaturated (e.g., olive oil) over saturated fats such as butter. But still use them in moderation because all fats are loaded with calories. Pick whole grains over refined grains. Whole grains like brown rice and bulgur have their bran intact and thus have more fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Most people don’t get enough! Aim for 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Pick produce in a variety of colors to get a range of antioxidants and vitamins. A serving size is 1/2 to 1 cup depending on the fruit or vegetable. Meat is a great source of protein but it’s also a big source of saturated fat in many people’s diets. So eat small amounts of lean meat, fish and poultry. Fill up the rest of your plate with healthy vegetables and whole grains. Choose low-fat dairy. Dairy products like milk, sour cream and yogurt are a good source of calcium. Replacing whole-milk dairy products with low-fat or nonfat is an easy way to cut saturated fat in your diet. Keep portions reasonable. Even though we would all like a magic pill for weight control, it really boils down to calories. One of the easiest ways to manage calorie intake is by eating healthy portions. Sugars of any kind, whether corn syrup, white sugar, brown sugar, honey or maple syrup, add significant calories without any nutritive. You will also need to keep an eye on sodium. Whether you have high blood pressure or not, it’s wise to watch your sodium intake. The 1,500 mg recommendation applies to about half of the U.S. population, including children, and the majority of adults.” Modifying its previous stance from 2010 on sodium, the official recommendation from the 2015-2020 DGA for the general population is to limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day Instead of adding salt, enhance food with bold flavors from healthy ingredients like fresh herbs, spices and citrus. When your food has great flavor, there’s no reason to feel deprived.
Make conscious food decisions rather than grabbing for what is most convenient. Make sure it is something delicious and savor it. When you enjoy what you eat, you feel satisfied.
The EFNEP Program is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua). CCE-Chautauqua is a community based educational organization, affiliated with Cornell University, Chautauqua County Government, the NYS SUNY system, and the federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information, call 716-664-9502 or visit our website at www.cce.cornell.edu/chautauqua. Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.
Last updated February 2, 2017