Archive for Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Life’s simple seven

February 3, 2010


Since February is American Heart Month, this is a perfect time to focus on your heart and learn about the seven simple steps that you can take to start living your best life. Life’s Simple 7 was designed by the American Heart Association with the goal of improved health. These measures have one unique thing in common: Any person can make these changes, the steps are not expensive to take, and even modest improvements to your health will make a big difference.

Life’s Simple 7 includes: get active, eat better, lose weight, stop smoking, control cholesterol, manage blood pressure and reduce blood sugar. Go to The first step is to “Get Your Assessment” by clicking on that bar at the top of the page. In order to move through the assessment quickly and easily, you need to know your numbers. Knowing your numbers is an important part of keeping your heart healthy. To get a quick overview of the numbers you need to know and the recommended goals, refer to the following chart:

Factor: Total cholesterol

Goal: Below 200 mg/dL

Factor: LDL (“Bad”) cholesterol

Goal: Below 70 mg/dL

Optimal for people at very high risk for heart disease

Below 100 mg/dL

Optimal for people at risk for heart disease

100 to 129 mg/dL

Near optimal/above optimal

130 to 159 mg/dL

Borderline high

160 to 189 mg/dL High

190 mg/dL and above

Factor: HDL (“Good”) Cholesterol

Very high


60 mg/dL and above Best

50 - 59 mg/dL Better

Below 40 mg/dL

(men) Poor

Below 50 mg/dL

(women) Poor

Factor: Triglycerides

Goal: Below 150 mg/dL

Factor: Blood pressure

Goal: Below 120/80 mmHg

Factor: Fasting glucose

Goal: Below 100 mg/dL

Factor: Body Mass Indes (BMI)

Goal: Below 25 Kg

Factor: Waist circumference


Less than 40 inches (men)

Less than 35 inches (women)

If you don’t know your numbers, it would be wise to have a Total Lipid Blood Profile test done at the Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s Healthy Heart Fair, which is 7 a.m.-10 a.m. Feb. 13. The cost is $20 with registration received by Friday or $25 the day of the fair. That’s a savings of more than $150. Remember, DO NOT eat or drink anything for 10-12 hours prior to having your blood drawn except for water and necessary medications. Go to for a registration form.

Q: What’s the best way to measure your waist?

A: To measure your waist circumference:

• Place a tape measure around your bare abdomen just above your hipbone.

• Pull the tape measure until it fits snugly around you but doesn’t push into your skin.

• Make sure the tape measure is level all the way around.

• Relax, exhale and measure your waist — no sucking in your belly!

Q: Do you have any healthy heart recipes that you can share?

A: Wow, there are a ton of great recipes for heart health. The American Heart Association’s Delicious Decisions at is loaded with a variety of recipes to try. Also, I just ordered the brand new version of the popular “Keep the Beat” classic cookbook for $5 (plus shipping) from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Or, you can go on their Web site at and pull up a multitude of recipes. Here’s one from their Web site that may tempt you to pull up more.

Rotini with Spicy Red Pepper and Almond Sauce

8 ounces whole-wheat rotini (spiral) pasta

1/2 cup whole natural almonds, unsalted

1 jar (12 ounces) roasted red peppers

1 tablespoon garlic, roughly chopped (about 2-3 cloves)

1/8 teapsoon ground cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon dried basil or parsley

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Ground black pepper, to taste

In a 4-quart saucepan, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions for the shortest recommended time, about 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

While the pasta cooks, toast almonds in a toaster oven or regular oven at 350 degrees until lightly toasted, about 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, add roasted red peppers and liquid, garlic, cayenne pepper, paprika, basil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the cooled almonds to the sauce in the processor. Pulse until the almonds are chunky.

After draining the pasta, return to pot. Add almond sauce. Toss until pasta is well-coated. Divide into four equal portions (about 2 cups each).

Nutrition facts per serving: 322 calories, 10 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 383 milligrams sodium, 9 grams total fiber, 12 grams protein, 49 grams carbohydrates, 47 milligrams potassium.

— Susan Krumm is an Extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, 2110 Harper St. She can be reached at 843-7058.


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