Blood Pressure Awareness

High blood pressure affects people of all ages, races and genders. High Blood Pressure can lead to stroke and is the fourth leading cause of death in this nation. Suffering from a stroke can also lead to paralysis, confusion, speech impairment, and depression. According to the American Heart Association®, high blood pressure is defined as a blood pressure equal to or greater than 140/90, where 140 mmHg (millimeters mercury) is systolic blood pressure and 90 mmHg is the diastolic blood pressure.


The importance behind checking your blood pressure

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure. Having your blood pressure checked is the only way to find out if it is high, this is why high blood pressure is often called the “the silent killer” – there are no symptoms.

Although you cannot control race, heredity or age there are factors you can control.


Controllable Risk Factors:

  • Obesity: you are more likely to develop high blood pressure if your body mass index is 30.0 or greater.
  • Sodium Intake: A high-sodium diet may increase blood pressure in some people.
  • Lack of Physical Activity: Being physically inactive can lead to becoming overweight, which may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure.
  • Stress: Responses to stress vary from person to person, and can cause increases in blood pressure.


Find out your numbers:

  1. Visit your physician regularly to get your blood pressure checked. A desirable blood pressure is 120/80. Get your blood work taken annually.
  2. Lab work gives an accurate measure of your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.


Follow a healthy lifestyle:

  • Exercise Regularly
  • Eat a Healthy Diet
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight
  • Limit Alcohol Intake and Quit Smoking!

For more information on heart disease and stroke prevention, visit the American Heart Association


Balsamic Steak Skewers with Mixed vegetables & Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Serves: 4


For the Skewers:

  • 12 (12-inch) skewers
  • 3/4 lb. beef sirloin (visible fat removed, cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (divided)
  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 (10 ounce) container white mushrooms (whole, ends trimmed, halved)
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1-inch rounds

For the Sweet Potatoes:

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons sodium-free chile powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper



For the skewers:

      1. If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for 20 to 30 minutes.
      2. Trim and discard the fat from the sirloin. Cut the lean sirloin into 1-inch pieces and add into a large Ziploc bag, along with 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, rosemary, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Let marinate for 30 minutes while preparing remaining ingredients.
      3. Prepare the grill to medium-high heat. Coat the grates with nonstick cooking spray.
      4. Make a vinaigrette: In the bowl of a food processor, add remaining 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, basil, oil, water, and mustard. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl and reserve.
      5. To make the vegetable skewers, thread the vegetables in an order such as tomato, mushroom half, bell pepper, zucchini (thread horizontally through the zucchini round) Repeat, dividing the ingredients evenly between 8 skewers.
      6. Thread the steak pieces onto the remaining 4 skewers, dividing evenly between the skewers.
      7. To cook, prepare the grill to medium-high heat. Coat the grates with nonstick cooking spray. Add all the skewers to the grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until meat is desired temperature and vegetables are softened, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a platter, cover with foil, and reserve.
      8. To serve, drizzle the reserved vinaigrette over the vegetables skewers.

For the sweet potatoes:

      1. Prepare the grill for medium-high heat. Coat the grates with nonstick cooking spray.
      2. Cut the sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch rounds. Add to a bowl along with oil, paprika, chile powder, and pepper. Mix to combine.
      3. Spread out the sweet potato rounds onto the grill. Cover the grill and cook until sweet potatoes are tender, turning once, about 10 to 12 minutes depending on thickness. Serve sweet potatoes with skewers.


Nutrition information:

381 Calories, 2.4g Saturated Fat; 449mg Sodium

Recipe :This recipe is brought to you by the American Heart Association’s Simple Cooking with Heart ® Program.