Five key heart health screenings

Tests to help determine your risk for cardiovascular disease

heart blogAre you at risk for heart disease? The best way to find out is through cardiovascular screening tests. The American Heart Association recommends the following key cardiovascular health screenings:

1. Blood pressure 

Blood pressure is one of the most important screenings because high blood pressure usually has no symptoms so it can’t be detected without being measured. High blood pressure greatly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. If your blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg, be sure to get it checked at least once every two years, starting at age 20. If your blood pressure is higher, your doctor may want to check it more often. High blood pressure can be controlled through lifestyle changes or medication. After age 65, women have a higher risk of high blood pressure than men, and African-American adults of all ages have a higher-than-average risk. Continue reading

Discover the health benefits of fresh herbs

Mint infusion: you'll love the flavors

herbs blogIn our ongoing series about ways to enjoy the flavors of fresh herbs, today we’re featuring mint.

As the temperatures start to climb this summer, you might find yourself reaching for an extra beverage throughout the day. Water is one of the best ways to hydrate but if a burst of mouth-tingling flavor would add to the appeal of water, think about using fresh mint.

Mint used alone or in combination with other herbs, sliced fruits or vegetables can boost your enjoyment of water and reduce your sugar intake. If you’re looking for inspiration, try this mint infusion that can be served hot or cold.

  • Start with a handful of clean, fresh mint leaves, tear them up and place in the bottom of a teapot or French press.
  • Cover the leaves with 2 cups of boiling water and let this steep for 3-7 minutes.

Since mint comes in at least 30 varieties, you could “experi-mint” with flavors such as spearmint, pineapple mint or chocolate mint. The pleasing flavors of orange, ginger or cucumber slices combined with mint create several cool, fresh drink choices. Continue reading