NDSU Extension - Benson County


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Eat Your Way to a Healthy Heart

A Taste

For Nutrition

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent

Family Nutrition Program/Family and Community Wellness


Eat Your Way to a Healthy Heart

Did you know that about 700,000 people die every year from heart disease?  About 360,000 are women.  In fact 1 in 8 women ages 45 to 64 have heart disease while 1 in 4 women over 65 deals with heart disease. 

If you have diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, are overweight, or are physically inactive, you are at a greater risk for heart disease.  Smoking and diets high in saturated fat can also affect your risk.

Luckily, choosing the right foods in your diet can actually help you to have a healthier heart.  Begin by trimming saturated fat.  This can be done by switching from whole to 1% or skim milk, seasoning vegetables with herbs and spices instead of butter, and introducing more whole grains into your diet. 

Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption can also reduce your risk of heart disease.  Whether it is canned, dried, fresh, or frozen, fruit and vegetables should be filling half of our plate each meal.  For adults, this is about 2 ½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit each day.  If you currently consume very few fruits and vegetables, begin by slowly adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. 

Fish are one more way to eat your way to a healthier heart.  Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, and bass are consider to be more heart healthy.  Fish oil supplements do not seem to have the same effect as actually eating fatting fish.

No matter what your age, it is important to think about your heart health.  Your heart is the most important muscle in your body, and it is crucial that we eat the foods that will help it to keep our body functioning the way it should. 

Here is a recipe for whole wheat pancakes.  It is a great way to incorporate more whole grain in your diet for a healthier heart.  Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Pancakes


  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, large
  • 3 teaspoons brown sugar (1 Tablespoon, packed)
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk, 1%
  • 1 tablespoon oil


Preheat griddle. In medium bowl, stir or sift dry ingredients together.  In a separate bowl, beat egg, buttermilk, brown sugar and oil together. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened; batter should be slightly lumpy.  Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto sprayed or seasoned hot griddle.  Flip the pancake when bubbles appear on surface; turn only once.


Makes: 12 servings. Each serving contains 80 calories, 0 gram of fat, 170 mg of sodium, 12 carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, and 3 grams of protein. 



  • NDSU Extension Service, Have a Healthy Heart, February 2016
  •  "Now Serving Whole Grains". North Dakota State University Extension Service
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