As we celebrate American Heart Month, we wanted to put together something that would help to raise awareness of heart health issues in America. While browsing through pamphlets at the doctor’s office, you’ve probably seen the term cardiovascular disease. But, what does it mean? Of course, we all know that it has something to do with heart health. Which, let’s admit, for most of us is a concept we don’t think about until we have too. However, understanding and focusing on cardiovascular health before it becomes a problem can help prevent cardiovascular disease in the future.
The term cardiovascular disease simply refers to any disease that relates to the heart (cardio) or the blood vessels (vascular). It’s pretty simple once we dissect the words. Two of the most common forms of cardiovascular disease include heart disease and stroke, a couple of terms that we’re probably all a little more familiar with. They are also two of the three top reasons for death in developed countries.
The good news is that healthy eating habits combined with physical activity can improve our cardiovascular health and prevent many cardiovascular diseases. As we all know, our blood is pumped throughout our bodies through blood vessels. As cardiovascular health deteriorates, plaque begins to build up on the inside of our artery’s, making it more difficult for blood to travel through the body as it needs to. This concept is demonstrated in the Artery Section (product # 4143 in the NCES catalog). As this plaque builds up, different cardiovascular diseases begin to develop, which can lead to catastrophic diagnoses and events.
The effects of cardiovascular disease are nothing to ignore. If left untreated, cardiovascular disease can leave a person paralyzed, permanently disabled and can even lead to death. If you’re interested in learning more, or need to educate others about cardiovascular disease and its long-term effects, take a minute to view our Cardiovascular Nutrition DVD. You can preview and purchase the DVD here.
We hope you’ve learned a little more about cardiovascular disease than you knew before reading this blog! At NCES, our dietitians have hand-selected products that can be used for heart health education. Click here to browse this category. To join the conversation on heart health for American Heart Month, take a minute to share this blog with your readers. Together, we can fight against cardiovascular disease in America.
While your enjoying the Winter 2014 Olympics, here’s a little game to get everyone up and moving during the commercials. Enjoy!
Put a Piece of Tape down the middle of the room, long enough that everyone has enough space to jump over the tape from side-to-side. You know, just like if you were skiing downhill! Put one minute on a stop watch. On your marks, get set, go! See how many times everyone can “downhill ski” from one side of the tape to the other in one minute. The person with the most side-to-side movements wins!
Have you noticed all the reasons to talk about chocolate in February? Okay… forget about talking about it! Have you noticed all the reasons to EAT chocolate in February? First, of course, you have Valentine’s Day in just a couple of weeks. Then, there’s the fact that February is Chocolate Appreciation Month. But, to top it all off, February is American Heart Month. Have you heard? Chocolate actually contains some important ingredients that have been linked to heart health.
According to an article published by ABC News, chocolate contains Flavonoids, which are more highly concentrated in cocoa. These flavonoids serve as good antioxidants, “scavenging oxygen radicals responsible for damage and aging”. The next thing researchers set out to determine is “Are all chocolates created equal?” In order to answer this question, researchers divided study participants in to four groups, feeding two groups various dark chocolates and two groups various white chocolates. At the study completion, they concluded just what they had suspected. The groups consuming the dark chocolates saw the most heart healthy benefits, including lower blood sugar levels and better cholesterol ratios, due to the increased flavonoids in the darker chocolates.
So, what’s the conclusion? Don’t shy away from chocolate this February. Remember though to consume chocolate, just like other foods, in moderation. 1 ounce of dark chocolate contains about 170 calories. The heart healthy benefits are only worth it if you stay within your daily target for calorie consumption. Plus, it doesn’t take more than about an ounce a day to see the heart healthy benefits.
Don’t shy away from enjoying a glass of red wine with your dark chocolate too! There are a lot of theories right now about how red wine, in moderation, can benefit your heart health and help you stay at a healthy weight. But, that’s for another blog!