BLOG: With so much attention focused on Valentine’s Day cards and conversation hearts, it comes as no surprise that February is American Heart Month. All 28 days are dedicated to improving the health of one of our most vital organs.
And attention is needed. Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, is the number one cause of death and disability in the United States. While reducing sodium and cholesterol are common practices among many heart-conscious consumers, decreasing risk of disease can go far beyond the salt shaker. In fact, it can actually begin in the aisles of your neighborhood Stewart’s shop!
Did you know that your heart loves the delicious dairy products at Stewart’s just as much as your taste buds do? The calcium packed inside every sip of milk plays an important part in regulating blood pressure by allowing vessels to contract and expand. When calcium intake is low, artery walls can tighten, increasing stress on the heart.
Studies show that calcium from dairy products, rather than a pill or supplement, is the best way to keep blood pressure in check. This is because milk and other dairy foods also contain important proteins that can help reduce sodium retention.
But not all milk is created equal. The milk you find at Stewart’s Shops comes fresh from local farms, and is subjected to less processing and pasteurized at lower temperatures than many national brands. Because heat can damage nutrients, Stewart’s milk is able to maintain those important vitamins, minerals and proteins required to control a healthy blood pressure.
The average adult needs approximately 1,000mg of calcium a day, or about three and a half cups of Stewart’s milk. Combining calcium rich foods such as milk and yogurt with moderate amounts of sodium is a great way to reset the body’s mineral balance and begin caring for your heart. Because once February is over, the only heart that matters is the one inside!
-Christine Sloat MS, RD, CDN
About Christine: Christine Sloat is a Registered Dietitian and life-long resident of upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics from the University of Delaware, and a Master’s of Science in Applied Nutrition from The Sage Colleges in Troy. She has a nutrition consulting business, Nutritious Notions LLC.