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American Heart Association Urges You to Take a Step to Improve Your Heart Health

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Thousands of Mid-South residents will take steps to improve their heart health at the American Heart Association's Mid-South Heart Walk at AutoZone Park beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, October 8th.

The noncompetitive, three-mile walk includes teams of employees from local companies along with friends and family members of all ages. A Kid-Fit One-Miler walk is also available. There is no cost, although donations are welcome. During these events, participants will enjoy free health screenings, face painting, a Wii Fit Station for kids, and local entertainment.

The event chairman for the Mid-South Heart Walk is William Kenley, CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital. Mayors Mark Luttrell and A C Wharton are honorary co-chairmen. Mid-South Heart Walk sponsors include: Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation, CIGNA, Regional Medical Center, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Flintco, Nike, the Tennessee Hospital Association and University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Soul Classics 103.5, and the Memphis Flyer.

For more information about this weekend's event, visit MidSouthHeartWalk.org.

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke — America's number-one and number-three killers. The organization works with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The American Heart Association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke.

The American Heart Association's next event, the DeSoto Heart Walk, takes place on Saturday, November 5th, at Snowden Grove Park beginning at 8:30 a.m. For more information, visit desotoheartwalk.org.

Healthy Diet Goals

Heart disease is the number-one killer of Americans. We can reduce heart disease by promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle. Getting information from credible sources can help you make smart choices that will benefit your long-term heart health.

For the first time, the American Heart Association has defined what it means to have ideal cardiovascular health, identifying seven health and behavior factors that impact health and quality of life. We know that even simple, small changes can make a big difference in living a better life. Known as "Life's Simple 7," these steps can help add years to your life:

1) Don't smoke
2) Maintain a healthy weight
3) Engage in regular physical activity
4) Eat a healthy diet
5) Manage blood pressure
6) Take charge of cholesterol
7) Keep blood sugar, or glucose, at healthy levels

The American Heart Association has a new national goal: by 2020 to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.

Take this simple assessment to help improve your heart health and track progress toward better health.

Learn the state of your heart and what you can do to live a better life.
• Fruits and vegetables: at least 4.5 cups a day
• Fish (preferably oily fish): at least two 3.5-ounce servings a week
• Fiber-rich whole grains: at least three one-ounce-equivalent servings a day
• Sodium: less than 1,500 mg a day
• Sugar-sweetened beverages: no more than 450 calories (36 ounces) a week

Other Dietary Measures:
• Nuts, legumes, and seeds: at least four servings a week
• Processed meats: no more than two servings a week
• Saturated fat: less than 7 percent of total energy intake

Deciphering the Menu

It's important to understand what's on the menu when you eat out. The good news: You can eat heart-healthy if you know what to look for.

Many restaurants offer delicious meals that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol, or will prepare your food to order. With a little bit of effort, you can ensure that the meals you eat away from home are part of a healthy diet.

Keep these tips in mind when deciphering the menu:
• Remember that foods served fried, au gratin, crispy, scalloped, pan-fried, sautéed, buttered, creamed, or stuffed are high in fat and calories. Instead, look for steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached, or roasted foods.
• If you're not sure based on the menu description how a meal is prepared or what ingredients it contains, ask your server.
• Choose entrées that feature seafood, chicken, or lean meat, and avoid fatty meats. If you order meat, remove all visible fat and ask the chef to remove the skin from the chicken.

Reading Food Nutrition Labels

Learning how to understand food labels can help you make healthier choices. Here are some tips for making the most of the information on the Nutrition Facts label:

Start here. Note the size of a single serving and how many servings are in the package. Check total calories per serving. Look at the serving size and how many servings you're consuming. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients, including the Percent Daily Value (% DV).

Limit these nutrients. Remember, you need to limit your total fat to no more than 56 to 78 grams a day — including no more than 16 grams of saturated fat, less than two grams of trans fat, and less than 300 mg cholesterol (for a 2,000 calorie diet).

Get enough of these nutrients. Make sure you get 100 percent of the fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients you need every day.

Quick guide to % DV. The % DV section tells you the percent of each nutrient in a single serving, in terms of the daily recommended amount. As a guide, if you want to consume less of a nutrient (such as saturated fat, cholesterol, or sodium), choose foods with a lower % DV — 5 percent or less is low. If you want to consume more of a nutrient (such as fiber), seek foods with a higher % DV — 20 percent or more is high.

Chicken Fingers with Dipping Sauces

Serves 4; about 3 ounces of chicken and 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons dipping sauce per serving

1 cup fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt
1 pound chicken tenders, all visible fat discarded
Vegetable oil spray

Coating Mixture
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Creamy Honey Mustard Sauce
1/4 cup fat-free or light sour cream
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
OR
Blackberry Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup all-fruit seedless blackberry spread
2 tablespoons fat-free or light mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• Put the yogurt in a medium bowl. Add the chicken, stirring to coat. Set aside.
• Preheat the oven to 375° F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil spray.
• In another medium bowl, stir together the coating mixture ingredients.
• Dip one piece of chicken at a time in the coating mixture, turning gently to coat. • Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the baking sheet. Lightly spray the chicken with vegetable oil spray.
• Bake for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and the coating is crisp.
• Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the desired sauce.

Serve the chicken fingers with the sauce on the side.

This recipe is reprinted with permission from Healthy Recipes Kids Love, Copyright © 2008 by the American Heart Association. Published by Publications International, Ltd. Available online at www.shopheart.org.

Chicken Fingers with Creamy Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Nutrition Analysis (per serving)
Calories - 320
Total Fat - 3.5 g
Saturated - 1.0 g
Polyunsaturated - 0.5 g
Monounsaturated - 0.5 g
Carbohydrates - 37 g
Sugars - 11 g
Fiber - 2 g
Cholesterol - 71 mg
Protein - 35 g
Sodium - 477 mg

Dietary Exchanges
2 starch
1/2 skim milk
3 very lean meat

Chicken Fingers with Blackberry Dipping Sauce

Nutrition Analysis (per serving)
Calories - 326
Total Fat - 3.0 g
Saturated - 1.0 g
Polyunsaturated - 0.5 g
Monounsaturated - 0.5 g
Carbohydrates - 40 g
Sugars - 14 g
Fiber - 2 g
Cholesterol - 69 mg
Protein - 34 g
Sodium - 421 mg

Dietary Exchanges
1 1/2 starch
1/2 fruit
1/2 skim milk
3 very lean meat

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