Give Your Heart a Healthy Beat

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

A healthy diet and lifestyle are your best weapons in the fight against heart disease, the number one killer of Americans. It’s important to know the risk factors. Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop the disease. Age and family history are risk factors that cannot be changed. 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.

If you don’t create time for wellness, you will eventually be forced to make time for illness. Start with one change – drink more water, walk in the mornings, eat a salad three times a week – and when you’ve accomplished that, move on to another. It takes 21 days to change a habit. When you incorporate one change at a time, you won’t get overwhelmed, and you’ll make a significant, positive change in your health.

Actions to reduce risk of heart disease may include plans to lower your blood cholesterol, eat less fat, exercise more, lower your blood pressure and loss weight. Cooperative Extension has a heart risk reduction program “Give Your Heart A Healthy Beat” you can use on-line. The program provides you with research-based information that you can use to help you make healthful changes in your eating and exercise habits. You can access “Give Your Heart A Healthy Beat” at or by clicking on the Health & Nutrition page on our Burke County Cooperative Extension website.

Eleanor Summers
Extension Agent
Family & Consumer Sciences