NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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Have a Healthy Heart

“Have a Healthy Heart”


By, Sara Laite, MPH, RD, LRD

Extension Agent


Did you know that your heart beats, on average, about 100,000 times per day? Every time I think about what my heart does, like pumping nutrients and oxygen through my body, I can’t help but realize how important it is to make sure it is in good shape. February, Heart Month, is a great time to think about your heart health and learn about your risks for heart disease.


Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. More than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease each year – that’s one in every four deaths in this country! The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which can lead to heart attack. 


Anyone, from children to adults, can develop heart disease. It happens when plaque builds up in the arteries, restricting blood flow to the heart. Several steps can be taken to reduce your risk of heart disease:

  • Don’t smoke, or quit smoking. Visit your local health unit or explore www.cdc.gov/tobacco for information on quitting smoking.
  • Eat a healthy diet and move more! Increase those fruits and veggies and decrease sodium, fat, and saturated fat.
  • Know your numbers. More specifically, your total cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body mass index (BMI).
  • Visit your doctor regularly and discuss the best ways for you to reduce your heart disease risk.


The classic warning signs of a heart attack include:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness or pain in the center of chest.
  • Pain that spreads to shoulders, jaw, neck, or arms.
  • Chest discomfort with light-headedness, fainting, sweating, or shortness of breath. 

If warning signs are noted for you or anyone else, don’t hesitate. Call 9-1-1!


This heart healthy recipe from the American Heart Association is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser!

Apple Nachos

1/3 c. dried, unsweetened cranberries or raisins

¼ c. sliced almonds, unsalted

2 TBSP hulled, unsalted sunflower seeds

3 medium apples (red or green), cored and thinly sliced

1 to 2 tsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. hot water

¼ c. reduced-fat, smooth peanut butter

1 Tbsp. honey


In a small bowl, combine dried cranberries/raisins, almonds and sunflower seeds. Core each apple and thinly slice into about 12 pieces each. Layer half of the apples onto a large plate or platter. If the apple slices will be sitting out for a while, sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning. Combine hot water, peanut butter and honey; stir until mixture is smooth. Drizzle the peanut butter mixture over the apple slices; sprinkle with half the cranberry mixture. Layer the remaining apples on top and repeat with remaining peanut butter and cranberry mixture. Make eight servings. Each serving has 167 calories, 7.4g fat, 4g protein, 22g carbohydrates, 4g fiber and 66mg sodium.


For more information, contact the Ramsey County Extension Office at 701-662-7027.  Website: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/ramseycountyextension.  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NDSUExtRamsey/.


Source: NDSU Extension, Have a Healthy Heart, 2016.






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