Top Chef Meals: It’s Heart Month!

It’s Heart Month!

February is Heart Month! This is the month to learn about heart disease and how to take better care of your heart health.

THE STORY: Each February, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and The Heart Truth® celebrate American Heart Month by motivating Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles to prevent heart disease. 

WHAT IS HEART DISEASE? Heart disease describes a range of conditions that affect your heart. These can include diseases that affect blood vessels (like coronary heart disease), heart rhythm problems, congenital heart defects, weak heart muscles, heart infections, and more. Cardiovascular disease is the term used to refer to conditions that involve blocked blood vessels that can lead to chest pain, heart attack, and stroke.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS? Symptoms vary by which type of heart disease you have but they include chest pain; chest tightness; shortness of breath; numbness & weakness in legs and arms; pain in neck, jaw, upper abdomen or back; racing heart; slow heartbeat; dizziness; fainting; getting easily short of breath and/or tired during exercise/activity; or swelling in hands, ankles, feet. If you experience any of these symptoms with no apparent root cause (like a pulled muscle, etc), check-in with your doctor.

WHAT CAN CAUSE HEART DISEASE? Heart disease can be caused in a variety of ways, several of them lifestyle choices. High blood pressure and high cholesterol can lead to heart disease, as well as smoking, diabetes, physical inactivity, obesity, and unhealthy eating patterns to name a few.

WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT HEART DISEASE? There are lots of ways to help protect your heart! Getting regular daily activity, not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, getting better sleep, managing stress, and managing any current conditions like high blood pressure with your doctor’s help can all go a long way in protecting your health. One of the most important changes you can make in your life to stay healthy though is by making heart-healthy eating decisions. Eating food low in saturated fat, sugars, and sodium will hugely benefit you. You can start making changes with a variety of Top Chef meals like our American Meatloaf or Chicken Fajitas - whether you just don’t like cooking or don’t have enough time, meals like these will keep you on track!

THE WRAP-UP: If you live a healthy lifestyle, keep track of any symptoms like the ones above, and keep open communication with your doctor, you’ll be at less risk of non-hereditary heart disease and are more likely to catch anything wrong early enough to help. If you want more heart-healthy tips or want to participate in Heart Month activities, visit the NHLBI site!