Tag Archives: heart health

DHEC wants you to give mom the gift of good health

By Adrianna Bradley

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) encourages you to give your mom the gift of good health.

Most moms will appreciate a Mother’s Day gift that will make her happy, and help keep her in your life for a long time.  Start a new “healthy Mother’s Day” tradition this year.

Try dark chocolate this year

Giving sweet treats is a traditional way to show your mom how much you care.  Consider giving your mother dark chocolate this year. Dark chocolate, in moderation, has many health benefits.  It is good for your heart and brain to name a few.  Eating small amounts of dark chocolate, about 1 ounce two to three times a week, can help lower blood pressure and improve cognitive function.  It may help reduce the risk of stroke as well. Remember, that chocolate is also high in fat.  Serve it along with other treats like fresh strawberries, grapes or bananas.

Help mom improve her heart health

Give the gift of heart health.  Fill her gift basket with items that will help her become more physically active.  Add a pedometer, arm weights, a yoga DVD, fitness club membership, or a cute workout outfit.

If you’re still at a loss for things to give mom, give her gifts that will help her get a good night’s sleep.  Our moms stay busy.  Getting a good night’s sleep is just as important as eating health and staying active.  Lack of sleep has been linked to serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Consider buying nice bedding, and encourage your mother to turn off the computer, smart phone, and lights, and go to bed an hour earlier each night.

Put on your chef’s hat

Lastly, pamper your mom on her special day.  Put on your apron and chef’s hat.  Prepare a brunch that she is sure to love.  Try one of the heart healthy recipes below for a new twist on pancakes and muffins below.  These foods are a healthy way to satisfy her sweet tooth without sacrificing her health.

Whole-grain Strawberry Pancakes

(Adapted from USDA)

Ingredients

Whole Grain Strawberry Pancakes

Attribution: USDA

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 container vanilla low-fat yogurt (6 oz)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 3/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 container strawberry low-fat yogurt (6 oz)

Preparation

  1. Heat griddle to 375°F or heat 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Grease with canola oil if necessary (or spray with cooking spray before heating).
  2. In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In medium bowl, beat eggs, vanilla yogurt, water and oil with egg beater or wire whisk until well blended.
  4. Pour egg mixture all at once into flour mixture; stir until moistened.
  5. For each pancake, pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter from cup or pitcher onto hot griddle. Cook pancakes 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbly on top, puffed and dry around edges. Turn; cook other sides 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Top each serving (2 pancakes) with 1/4 cup sliced strawberries and 1 to 2 tablespoons strawberry yogurt.

Pineapple Carrot Muffins

(Adapted from Cooking Matters)

Ingredients 

Pineapple Carrot Muffins

Attribution: Cooking Matters

  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 cup canned crushed pineapple with juice
  • 5 Tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 Tablespoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    Rinse and peel a carrot. Shred with a grater. Measure out ¾ cup shredded carrot.
    3. In a medium bowl, add pineapple with juice, oil, water, vinegar and shredded carrot. Mix with a fork to combine.
    4. In a large bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Blend well with a fork to break up any lumps.
    5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
    6. If using walnuts or raisins, gently stir in now.
    7. Coat muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each muffin cup about ¾ full with batter. Bake on middle rack of oven until muffin tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20–25 minutes.

Fruit Smoothies

(Adapted from Cooking Matters)

Ingredients 

Fruit Smoothies

Attribution: Fruit smoothies

  • 1 medium banana (Use any fresh or frozen fruit. Use fruits in season when you can.)
  • ½ cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • ½ cup 100% orange juice
  • 4 frozen strawberries

Preparation

  1. Peel banana. Place in blender.
    2. Add remaining ingredients to the blender. If using cinnamon, add now.
    3. Cover and blend until smooth.

Let’s commit to improving South Carolinians’ heart health

By Lilian Peake, MD
Director, Health Services

Cardiovascular disease is a leading killer of South Carolinians and many of these deaths are avoidable. Communities, employers, health professionals and families can all play a role in preventing this disease.

This is particularly important in South Carolina: In 2015, there were more than 50,000 hospitalizations for heart disease, at a cost of more than $3.2 billion.

South Carolina’s heart disease death rate is above the national average and higher than our neighbors, North Carolina and Georgia. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s State Health Facts, in 2014 the heart disease death rate in the United States was 167 per 100,000 people. In South Carolina the death rate is 8 percent higher than the US rate and 14 percent higher than in North Carolina (181.1, compared to 158.7).

dr-lilian-peake-dhec

Dr. Lilian Peake

There are also disparities among groups affected. For example, the rate among African-Americans outpaces all others. The Palmetto State also has high rates of the conditions that lead to this disease, such as obesity and diabetes.

Much work has been done in an effort to turn the tide. We at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) consider our role key to helping achieve the level of improvement needed. Our vision is “Healthy people living in healthy communities.”

DHEC works with numerous community partners to improve cardiovascular health for all.

We assist in implementing CDC-recognized diabetes prevention programs and train lifestyle coaches.

DHEC also offers a heart disease and stroke prevention program called WISEWOMAN. This is offered at no cost to eligible women ages 40 to 64. Women are screened for high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity; they obtain medical follow-up and referrals for abnormal screening results as well as referrals to free or low-cost community programs, such as workout classes, diabetes education, and free sessions with a personal health coach.

DHEC partners with the SC Institute of Medicine and Public Health to facilitate the implementation of the state’s Obesity Action Plan through the SCaledown initiative.

We work with communities to encourage policies, systems and environmental changes that lead to improved access to healthy foods and active lifestyles. One example is the Farm to Institution program where we partner with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education. We educate the public, partner with health systems, and design wellness programs statewide.

DHEC also funds the Quitline to help South Carolinians quit smoking.

Other organizations, including the South Carolina Hospital Association, the South Carolina Chapter of the American Heart Association, A Million Hearts, the South Carolina Medical Association, the Heart2Heart Foundation and more are also doing admirable work in an effort to address this important health issue.

But there is much more work to do. We need your help. You too play an important role in improving heart health in South Carolina. And what better time to get started than this month — American Heart Month?

So what are some things you can do?

  • Commit to a healthy lifestyle — exercise daily, eat healthier and take medication as prescribed.
  • Stop Call 800-Quit-NOW for free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges to eligible South Carolinians.
  • Become a WISEWOMAN participant if eligible; call 800-227-2345 to see if you qualify.
  • Have your blood pressure checked.
  • Create physical activities such as walking or group exercise at work.

Obviously, there are many more actions we can take as employers, health care providers or families. With the right level of commitment, we can improve heart health in South Carolina. Will you help?

Have A Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day

If you’re planning to give away your heart on Valentine’s Day, make sure it’s healthy!

What better way to say I love you than preparing a healthy homemade meal for the one you love? Make this Valentine’s Day extra special by cooking at home. You will not only spoil that special someone, but you will also keep your heart and body happy by including heart healthy foods.

10 Heart Healthy Foods to Include in your Valentine’s Day plans

  1. Fish
  2. Nuts
  3. Flax Seed
  4. Red Wine
  5. Dark Chocolate
  6. Tofu
  7. Berries
  8. Tomatoes
  9. Beans
  10. Oats

5 Healthy Valentine’s Day Tips

  1. Cook at home: Preparing a meal at home not only keeps your wallet happy but also keeps your body happy. Restaurants add lots of extra fats and salt to foods; when you are the cook you control the ingredients used.
  2. Share Your Sweets: Don’t overindulge in candy and chocolates given by loved ones. Remember there aren’t many nutritious benefits in these treats so watch portion sizes and eat only a small amount. If you need to, share with others to avoid going overboard.
  3. Plan an active date night: Instead on planning your date night around food and treats, do something fun like taking a romantic hike or going on a scenic bike ride.
  4. Think Red: Red is not only the color of love but red foods are good for your heart. Full of antioxidants, fiber, and key vitamins; including red foods can be a great way to celebrate love for each other and your heart.
  5. Don’t Deprive Yourself: Remember that the day is supposed to be focused on spending time with those you love. Enjoy the day and don’t be afraid to eat a small treat to celebrate. Dark Chocolate has been shown to have nutritious properties through its antioxidants benefiting our health.

Happy Valentine’s Day!