Jennifer’s Journal: Friday is National Wear Red Day

February is American Heart Month and Friday is National Wear Red Day.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of American women. It kills one out of every three American women.

Everyone is asked to wear red on Feb. 3 to encourage not only women, but everyone to take care of their heart.

Cardiovascular disease is mostly preventable, so understanding these serious health threats can make a lifesaving difference. Much research still needs to be done on heart disease in women. But there is valuable information available to you now. It’s also available for men and children.

Educate yourself and your family. Know your numbers — blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.

Learn the warning signs for a heart attack: uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes, pain spreading to the shoulders, neck and arms, chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath. Seek medical help immediately.

Research shows making wise food choices can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Follow these simple steps:

— Enjoy at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day

— Focus on lean meats, fish and skinless poultry. Reduce fat on meat by removing skin and trimming away visible fat.

— Forego frying and opt for broiling, roasting, baking, grilling, steaming, poaching and microwaving.

— Chill all soups and stews after cooking, then remove hardened fat from the top.

— Minimize milk fat by using fat free (skim) or 1 percent low fat dairy products.

— Keep sodium intake to less than 2,400 milligrams a day or 1,500 milligrams is you are 51 years of age or older; that’s about 1 teaspoon of salt.

For more information on cooking for a healthy heart contact the Clark County Extension Office at 744-4682 or visit us on the web at

Jennifer Howard is the Clark County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences.