Heart to Hear, Important to Know
More food/nutrition/agriculture science for you, DIYeters. This time it is serious. The American Heart Association issued a press release summarizing research presented at a recent AHA conference. The research analyzed pools of data to describe how dietary habits relate to cardiovascular deaths. The results are quite shocking. Diet was shown to play a part in the deaths of more than 400,000 Americans in 2015. Here is a link to the press release. You really need to read this.
Specifically noted as contributing to these deaths are excess sodium and red meat consumption and inadequate consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, and whole grains.
This is kind of a big deal. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death among human earthlings. To think that a few dietary tweaks could save so many lives is kind of mind blowing. If you read this blog regularly you already know that cruising the My Plate website can show you exactly how many servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains you should be eating every day. In fact, the internet is full of resources to help you choose a heart healthy diet-
- Meatless Monday has some great no-meat recipes.
- Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch site has sustainable fish recipes.
- If you don’t already grow your own herbs, you now have one more reason to start. A thriving pot of herbs is a source of sodium-free flavor for your food! Bonny Plants, Planet Natural and Burpee all have easy-reading advice for beginning gardeners. Bonus- this time of year (in central New England at least) you can find seeds in just about every hardware and grocery store- no need to shop anywhere special.
As I have mentioned, this is not a political blog. However, the WHO’s fact sheet on cardiovascular disease makes an important point that I feel must be addressed. Cardiovascular disease is most prevalent among people of lower socioeconomic status. This means that access to affordable fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is a public health issue. So what can a DIYeter do on a public scale?
- Based in Chicago, but with information you can use in your school system Healthy Schools Campaign is working to improve the nutritional health of students.
- The Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) branch of the USDA has a list of resources for organizations to help tackle nutrition as a public health issue.
- Most of all, remember that you can contact your elected officials and tell them what you think about food policy.
Everyone needs to eat. It seems many of us need to eat more fruits and vegetables; some of us do not have reliable access to them. No one person or organization can fix the problem, but we can all do a little something to help. Food literally keeps our hearts beating and good food choices can keep our hearts beating longer and stronger. Making sure heart healthy food is available to everyone is, in my opinion, important.