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A Healthy Heart is a Happy Heart

Worldwide, the month of February is dedicated to raising awareness around heart health. For our part, we wanted to share some risk factors of heart disease and stroke as well as a delicious heart-healthy recipe!

Heart Health for SeniorsThe heart is the strongest muscle in the body, but without proper care it is vulnerable to damage that can result in serious health problems. Cardiovascular diseases, a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels, are the number one cause of death globally even though most cases are preventable. Stroke, which can occur when weakened blood vessels rupture, is the second leading cause of disability, affecting 15 million people worldwide each year. Given these statistics, it is important to make heart health a priority.

Some controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease include tobacco use and exposure, high blood pressure or cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity and unhealthy eating habits. Physical inactivity alone increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%, so a good goal to set is to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity every other day. Other risk factors such as high blood pressure, or hypertension, may require diagnosis and treatment by a licensed physician, making annual checkups an important practice.

Eating a well-balanced diet is one of the most important ways to achieve optimal heart health as unhealthy eating habits are often linked to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The National Institute of Aging recommends a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds for those aged 50 and over that wish to reduce their risks for hypertension. In line with these guidelines and our commitment to holistic care, we would like to share a tasty, heart-healthy chicken pot pie recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins
  • 1 potato
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup peas
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. canned, no-salt-added corn
  • 1/2 cup celery
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 5 cups non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 5 oz. canned, low-fat 10-count refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Directions

  1. Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Place in a pot and fill with water until chicken is covered. Bring to a boil, cover and then simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Cut the potato into bite-size pieces, place in a pot of water and bring to a boil until they are tender. Drain water and set aside.
  3. In a large pot, heat olive oil, and add in minced garlic, peas, onion, carrots, corn and celery. Feel free to add additional veggies for a nutritional boost! After 5 minutes, add the chicken broth and Herbs de Provence. Cook another 5 minutes until most liquid is absorbed.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together skim milk, yogurt, chicken and potatoes. Add this mixture to the pot of vegetables and remove from heat.
  5. Open the can of biscuits and cut each biscuit into smaller pieces.
  6. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray and fill with chicken mixture. Place biscuit pieces on top of mixture and bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

Serves 4.

If you are craving a sweet treat for dessert, dark chocolate has antioxidants that can prevent “bad” cholesterol from building up on artery walls and flavanols that have the power to reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart and brain. Remember, YOU are in control of your heart health and overall wellbeing. Make February the month you take care of your heart!

Sources

http://www.world-heart-federation.org/cardiovascular-health/heart-disease/

http://www.world-heart-federation.org/cardiovascular-health/stroke/

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317/en/

http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/healthy-eating-after-50

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Recipes/Simple-Chicken-Pot-Pie_UCM_465596_RecipeDetail.jsp

http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/what-stroke

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/heart/prevention/nutrition/food-choices/benefits-of-chocolate

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