February Is American Heart Month 

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Running around trying to impress your Valentine is definitely one way to get the blood pumping. Embracing a heart-healthy lifestyle will help ensure you are around to enjoy the return affection, and now is the time to make it happen. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans.

Protect yourself against heart disease by following these guidelines:

♥ Follow a heart-healthy diet to reduce coronary artery disease risk.

♥ Limit total fat consumption to no more than 30% of total calories, and limit intake of fat from animal sources.

♥ Increase intake of dietary fiber. This helps prevent cholesterol production and may interfere with the absorption of dietary fat.

♥ If you are a salt-sensitive individual, limit your intake of salt.

♥ Increase intake of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.

♥ Increase physical activity to 20-30 minutes per session for three or more times per week.

♥ Avoid smoking, other forms of tobacco, and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.

♥ Monitor blood pressure at least once a year, or as advised by a health care provider.

♥ Monitor blood cholesterol level annually, and manage or treat cholesterol-related problems as advised by a health care provider.

For additional information on ways you can be more heart healthy, please contact your local Cooperative Extension Center. You may contact Sue Estridge, Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences in Madison County at 828-649-2411or by email at sue_estridge@ncsu.edu