The heart truth

The Heart Truth

Many women are surprised to learn that heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States.

One in 4 women in the United States dies of heart disease.  Twenty-three percent of women will die within 1 year after having a heart attack.  About 46 percent of women become disabled with heart failure within 6 years after having a heart attack.  Two-thirds of women who have a heart attack fail to make a full recovery.

The risks of heart disease and heart attack jump dramatically when a woman reaches menopause.  One in eight women between the ages of 45 and 64 has some form of heart disease and this increases to one in four women over 65.

The good news is:  Women have tremendous power to prevent heart disease.  It's important to know the risk factors.  Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop disease.  Some risk factors can be changed, others cannot.

Age and family history are risk factors that cannot be changed.  Important risk factors for heart disease that can be controlled are cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, overweight, physically inactivity and diabetes.

The key to reducing risk factors is to reduce those that you can control.  Regardless of your age, background, or health status, you can lower your risk of heart disease.

  • Eat for health. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products and lean meat.
  • Know your cholesterol numbers and keep them in a healthy range.
  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
  • Get moving.
  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure.
  • Learn to handle everyday stress in healthy ways.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Work with your doctor to keep your heart healthy.

For more information: or

Try these delicious recipes from the American Heart Association.

Spinach Parmesan

Vegetable oil spray

  • 2-10 oz. pkgs. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • ¾ c. finely chopped onion (yellow preferred)
  • ½ c. fat-free sour cream
  • 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 c. fat-free milk
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Preheat the oven to 350°.

    Lightly spray a pie pan with vegetable oil spray.  In the pan, stir together all the ingredients except 1 Tbsp. Parmesan.  Cover with aluminum foil.

    Bake for 25 minutes or until the onion is just tender.  Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. Parmesan.

    Mushroom Quesadillas
    • Vegetable oil spray
    • 8 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
    • medium onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
    • 1 tsp. bottled minced garlic
    • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
    • 3 8-inch whole-wheat flour tortillas
    • 6 Tbsp. shredded low-fat Monterey
    • Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers or low-fat Cheddar cheese

    Preheat oven to 350°.

    Spray a large skillet with vegetable oil spray.  Cook mushrooms, onion and garlic in skillet over medium heat until onion is tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Stir in cilantro and remove from heat.

    Arrange one-third of the mushroom mixture on half of one tortilla.  Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. of the cheese.  Fold the other half of the tortilla over cheese.  Place on a baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 3 quesadillas total.

    Bake quesadillas about 5 minutes or until filling is hot and cheese melts.  Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.

    Serve warm - with salsa, if desired.

    Zucchini Bread with Pistachios
    • Vegetable oil spray
    • 2 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1 c. whole-wheat flour
    • 1 c. sugar
    • ½ c. firmly packed light brown sugar
    • ¼ c. chopped unsalted pistachio nuts
    • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • ¼ tsp. salt
    • 2 c. shredded zucchini (about 12 oz.)
    • 1 medium Fuji or Granny Smith apple, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup)
    • Egg substitute equivalent to 3 eggs, or 3 large eggs
    • ½ c. unsweetened apple juice
    • 2 Tbsp. extra-light olive, canola or corn oil

    Preheat the oven to 375°.  Lightly spray two 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½-inch loaf pans with vegetable oil spray.

    In a medium bowl, stir together both flours, both sugars, pistachios, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt until evenly distributed.

    Add the remaining ingredients.  Stir until the mixture is just moistened and evenly distributed.  Don't over mix.  Pour the batter into the loaf pans.

    Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove the bread from the pans.  Let cool on a cooling rack for 20 minutes before cutting into slices.

    Content Contributor:  Liz Sadler, MSUES Area Agent/Health 601-794-3910

    For more information, contact:


    Nancy A. Freeman, County Director

    Harrison County Extension Service

    (228) 865-4227