National Wear Red Day Feb. 3

Article Published: Feb. 2, 2012 | Modified: Feb. 2, 2012
National Wear Red Day Feb. 3

We endure routine mammograms and fear a devastating report. But how many of us worry about having a heart attack? You may be surprised to learn that more women than men have died from cardiovascular disease since 1984.

In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. The statistics show that one in three die from cardiovascular disease, while only one in 33 American women die from breast cancer each year.

Wear Red Day is an effort sponsored by the American Heart Association to reveal these facts. Women around the country are hosting events to bring awareness to this important issue, and to have fun wearing red.

Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factor for developing heart disease. Some of these factors are a personal choice, such as eating a saturated fat laden diet, being lazy and smoking.

Becoming obese and developing diabetes, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure increases risk. Genetics also play a role. If your brother, father or grandfather had a heart attack before age 55, or your sister, mother or grandmother had one before age 65, you may be at risk, too.

Personally, three out of four of my grandparents developed heart disease. With these genetics, I have to take personal responsibility or I could easily end up the same way they did, either dead before my time or with restrictions that make life way less enjoyable. Fortunately, a healthy lifestyle reduces heart disease risk by up to 80 percent.

Being active keeps your heart strong and is essential for a healthy weight. Forty minutes a day of exercise or more is recommended.

Since most people can’t tell what their lab values are, it’s important to keep yearly medical appointments to check blood pressure, blood cholesterol and other lipid values, and blood sugar.

A healthy diet goes a long way to prevent most of the risk factors. The new USDA MyPlate nutrition guide ( recommends that half of our plates be covered with fruits and vegetables. In addition, whole grains, lean protein sources and low fat dairy products are recommended.

Having soup as a main course is a simple way to get the healthy vegetables you need, as well as a smaller meat serving. This basic soup recipe is great heart and soul food.

Beefy Vegetable Soup

1 pound extra lean ground beef or extra lean ground turkey
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 14-ounce cans low sodium beef broth
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 10-ounce package frozen mixed vegetables
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with the juice
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons pepper

Brown ground beef or turkey in a large soup pot, stirring to a crumble as it cooks.
Drain and set aside.
Add oil to soup pot, then flour, and stir over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, forming a blonde paste.
Add beef broth and continue to stir as it thickens.
Add the remaining ingredients, mixing well and bringing to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 30 to 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Serves 8 to 10, freezes well, or excellent heated after work on a busy day.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. To contact her, email or call (828) 264-3061.

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