Wednesday, February 1, 2017


"Most women do not realize that heart disease is the #1 killer of American women." 
                                                                            --Monica Potter  

Image result for heart imagesFebruary is American Heart Month.  What can you do to protect the heart health of your children?  Start by being mindful of your own heart health.

We take a lot of things for granted with our bodies, especially our hearts.  Consider that the heart is the organ responsible for keeping us alive, working 24/7 without ever taking a break; it deserves more respect than it gets.  The simple fact is when it stops beating, we stop living.  As parents, we can set good examples for our children and actively and mindfully practice health promotion.  

Here are my 12 tips for being heart smart:
  1. Go for a walk every day.  Jog sometimes.  Your heart loves to exercise!
  2. Laugh every day.   It helps reduce stress. 
  3. Aim for 30 grams of dietary fiber a day (less for kids).  
  4. Eat your vegetables. Make your goal veggies on half your plate. 
  5. Choose legumes.  Lentils and bean are very heart smart.   
  6. Plan meals using vegetables as the focus.  
  7. Check out the Mediterranean way of eating.   It does a body good. (It also can help prevent depression.)
  8. Have a little dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) every day.
  9. Make most of your fats the GOOD fats (like olive oil, cold water fish such as wild salmon, avocados, and nuts).
  10. Get your cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked at least once a year. 
  11. Keep your blood pressure and weight in control. 
  12. Learn about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, especially the differences in symptoms between women and men (see CDC graphic below). 

Image result for heart images

For information about the Mediterranean way of eating and delicious heart healthy recipes to enjoy every month of the year, go to or click here.

With love and gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.