February is the month for hearts. We celebrate Valentine's Day with heart shaped candies and greeting cards in shades of pink and red. The symbol for love suddenly shows up everywhere. Though giving Valentine’s Day cards, flowers, and gifts can help us show our love to those we care about the most, there is another, much more important occasion that happens this month. February is also American Heart Month.
The Greatest Gift You Can Give
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. The good news is that heart disease can be prevented. If you commit to eating a healthier diet and getting more exercise this February, you will greatly reduce your chance of suffering cardiovascular disease in the future. This year, give the person you love a gift that will mean more than flowers or candy ever could. Make a promise to do everything you can to prevent heart disease so that you can enjoy long, healthy lives together.
Why Healthy Diets Help Hearts
Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is the most common cause of heart disease. This condition occurs when fatty, cholesterol laden plaque builds up along the artery walls. Arterial hardening can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart attack, or stroke. Unhealthy diet is one of the primary causes of this buildup of fatty plaque. Scientific research has shown that for most of us, lowering the amount of fatty foods we eat, and increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables we eat helps prevent this buildup of plaque.
One Simple Change Can Make a Big Difference
One of the top tips on how to prevent heart disease offered by the American Heart Association is to eat more fruits and vegetables. The AHA recommends that we eat between 4 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day to keep our hearts healthy. Why fruits and veggies? These foods are rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are cholesterol free and low in calories (especially when compared to processed foods). One easy change you can make is to make sure that at least half your plate is filled with fruit or vegetables at meal times.
It does not matter if those fruits and veggies are fresh, dehydrated, freeze dried, or frozen, a serving is a serving. Just remember to check labels to ensure you are not getting a lot of added salt and sugar with the preserved fruits and veggies you buy. Canned fruits often contain a lot of added sugars, so always read labels. Some preserved fruits also contain added sugar, though we assure you that Harmony House freeze dried fruit and dehydrated vegetables are guaranteed to contain no added sugar or preservatives.
Heart Healthy Recipes and Resources
If you are interested in learning more about how to prevent heart disease, or to find some wonderful heart healthy recipes, there are a number of excellent resources online including:
- The Healthy Eating Guide from The American Heart Association
- The Mayo Clinic’s Heart Healthy Diet: 8 Steps to Help Prevent Heart Disease
- The US Dept. of Agriculture offers healthy recipes and nutrition advice at ChooseMyPlate.gov
- Million Hearts (a program of the CDC) offers a Heart Healthy Recipe Database
We also offer a variety of delicious recipes you can make with fruits and vegetables here on our blog.
At Harmony House We <3 our Customers
Harmony House Foods a family owned business. We began stocking our pantry with dried fruits and vegetables because we were looking for an easy way for our own family to eat healthy meals. We started experimenting in the kitchen with different recipes made with dried vegetables and developed our own easy, quick, and healthy gourmet soup blends. They were so good that people told us we should sell them. The rest is history. Demand for our premium quality dried veggies, fruits, and vegan soup blends keeps growing every year.
We’re proud that we make it easy for folks to eat heart healthy meals in their homes. From our family to yours, we wish you a happy American Heart Month and hope that you and your family enjoy many, many more in the future.
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