FCS News – February 2022

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Celebrate American Heart Month: Join the #OurHearts Movement

February is American Heart Month!

Did you know that people who have close relationships at home, work, or in their community tend to be healthier and live longer? One reason, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is that we’re more successful at meeting our health goals when we work on them with others. NHLBI launched the #OurHearts movement to inspire us to protect and strengthen our hearts with the support of others.

Here are some facts, how-to tips, and resources to inspire you to join with others, even if you can’t be physically together, to improve your heart health.

2 heart-shaped bowls of fresh fruit

Heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Most middle-aged and young adults have one or more risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or being a smoker or overweight. Having multiple risk factors increases your risk for heart disease.

Why Connecting is Good for Your Heart

Feeling connected with others and having positive, close relationships benefit our overall health, including our blood pressure and weight. Having people in our lives who motivate and care for us helps, as do feelings of closeness and companionship. Follow these heart-healthy lifestyle tips to protect your heart. It will be easier and more successful if you work on them with others, including by texting or phone calls if needed.

  • Be more physically active.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a nutritious diet.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep.
  • Track your heart health stats.

You don’t have to make big changes all at once. Small steps will get you where you want to go.

Move more

Invite family, friends, colleagues, or members of your community to join you in your efforts to be more physically active:

  • Ask a colleague to walk “with you” on a regular basis, put the date on both your calendars, and text or call to make sure you both get out for a walk.
  • Get a friend or family member to sign up for the same online exercise class, such as a dance class. Make it a regular date!
  • Grab your kids, put on music, and do jumping jacks, skip rope, or dance in your living room or yard.

How much is enough? Aim for at least 2 hours of physical activity each week—that’s just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. In addition, do muscle strengthening exercises 2 days a week. Can’t carve out a lot of time in your day? Don’t chuck your goal, chunk it! Try 10 or 15 minutes a few times a day. NHLBI’s Move More fact sheet has ideas to get and keep you moving.

Aim for a healthy weight

Find someone in your friend group, at work, or in your family who also wants to reach or maintain a healthy weight. (If you’re overweight, even a small weight loss of 5–10 percent helps your health.) Check in with them regularly to stay motivated. Agree to do healthy activities, like walking or cooking a healthy meal, at the same time, even if you can’t be together. Share low-calorie, low-sodium recipes. Check out NHLBI’s Aim for a Healthy Weight  web page.

Eat heart-healthy

We tend to eat like our friends and family, so ask others close to you to join in your effort to eat healthier. Together, try NHLBI’s free Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan. Research shows that, compared to a typical American diet, it lowers high blood pressure and improves cholesterol levels. Find delicious recipes at NHLBI’s Heart-Healthy Eating  web page.

Quit smoking

To help you quit, ask others for support or join an online support group. Research shows that people are much more likely to quit if their spouse, friend, or sibling does. Social support online can help you quit. All states have quit lines with trained counselors—call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). You’ll find many free resources to help you quit, such as apps, a motivational text service, and a chat line at BeTobaccoFree.hhs.gov and Smokefree.gov .

If you need extra motivation to quit, consider those around you: Breathing other people’s smoke, called secondhand smoke, is dangerous. Many adult nonsmokers die of stroke, heart disease, and lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke.

Manage stress

Reducing stress helps your heart health. Set goals with a friend or family member to do a relaxing activity every day, like walking, yoga, or meditation, or participate in an online stress-management program together. Physical activity also helps reduce stress. Talk to a qualified mental health provider or someone else you trust.

Improve sleep

Sleeping 7–8 hours a night helps to improve heart health. De-stressing will help you sleep, as does getting a 30-minute daily dose of sunlight. Take a walk instead of a late afternoon nap! Family members and friends: remind each other to turn off the screen and stick to a regular bedtime. Instead of looking at your phone or the TV before bed, relax by listening to music, reading, or taking a bath.

Track Your Heart Health Stats, Together

Keeping a log of your blood pressure, weight goals, physical activity, and if you have diabetes, your blood sugars, will help you stay on a heart-healthy track. Ask your friends or family to join you in the effort. Check out NHLBI’s Healthy Blood Pressure for Healthy Hearts: Tracking Your Numbers worksheet .

Visit NLHBI #OurHearts  for inspiration on what others around the country are doing together for their heart health. Then join the #OurHearts movement and let NHLBI know what you’re doing to have a healthy heart. Tag #OurHearts to share how you and your family and friends are being heart healthy.


Food Delivered with a Side of Safety

As the way we receive food changes, the core food safety practices remain essential to protecting our health and the health of those we love. Before handling and eating delivered foods, families should follow three simple steps to keep their food safe:

1) Wash counters and surfaces. Cleaning surfaces with hot, soapy water can reduce the spread of harmful bacteria in your kitchen.

2) Wash your hands with clean, running water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, and after using the bathroom, changing diapers and handling pets. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

3) Cook, serve or save. When food is delivered, serve ready-to-eat foods immediately, cook raw foods you are ready to prepare now, and properly store foods you plan to eat later.


Guide to Filing Your 2021 Taxes

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has created a guide with useful information for the 2021 tax year filing. It includes information on the Economic Impact stimulus payments, the Child Tax Credit, and more. View the guide to filing your taxes.


February-Bake for Family Fun Month

Week 1 – February 6-12
Let’s Get Started Baking

Week One of Bake for Family Fun Month is all about the basics of baking. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a beginner, it’s never a bad idea to review the building blocks of baking… Some of the best ideas come when you start from scratch.

Featured Recipe: Lemon and Thyme Whole Wheat Muffins… lemon and thyme are an age-old favorite flavor combination, and these muffins make your kitchen smell heavenly!

Week 2 – February 13-19
Bake For My Valentine

Love and friendship is in the air during week two of Bake for Family Fun Month! Let’s celebrate the ones you love by baking up something special. This Red Velvet Cupcake recipe will help get you started. Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!
Featured Recipe: Red Velvet Cupcakes – these vibrant Valentine’s Day cupcakes are a perfectly sweet way to say “I Love You!” This recipe will win you lots of favor with your friends and family.

Week 3 – February 20-26

Baking History & Traditions

Building a family baking history and traditions may start with you. OR, if you’re lucky it may go “way back” to a cherished biscuit, dumpling or sourdough recipe or a daily corn or fry bread. You’ll find such great traditions baked in week three of Bake for Family Fun Month.
Featured Recipe: This 100% whole wheat bread recipe features the delightfully nutty taste of wheat in a fine-grained, moist, faintly sweet loaf. Healthy and fun to make… the perfect kind of recipe.

Week 4 – February 27-March 5
Baking For Others
Baking for others can increase a feeling of wellbeing, contribute to stress relief and make you feel like you’ve done something good for the world, which perhaps increases your meaning in life and connection with other people. Let’s make some positive change in the lives of others this week!
Featured Recipe: 100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Cookies. These cookies are a crisp, crunchy-type cookie that is good for dipping in milk or coffee! They’re too good to be true… try this recipe today!


Valentine’s Day-Dinner For 2

Only a few more spots available.

Valentine's Day Dinner For Two Cooking Class flyer information and registration.

Flyer


Written By

Dominque Simon, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDominque SimonArea Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences - Food- Safety, Health and Nutrition Call Dominque Email Dominque N.C. Cooperative Extension, Franklin County Center
Updated on Mar 22, 2022
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