Integrated Heart Health Education

Community resources for Integrated horticultural and heart health education. Our goal is to improve health outcomes, self management skills, and quality of life among people with cardiovascular risk factors.

Keeping your heart healthy

Small steps you can take everyday to take care of your heart.

Keeping your heart healthy is something you can work on every day.
What you eat, how much you move, whether you smoke and controlling your cholesterol and blood pressure are five things that can have a big impact on your heart.

Find out why they’re so important and get practical tips on living a heart healthy lifestyle. 

Integrated Heart Health Education at Church Health Memphis

Follow a heart healthy diet

A diet full of a variety of fruit and vegetables is linked to healthier hearts and a lower risk of heart disease. 
Wholegrain cereals include more of the natural grain. This means they have more nutrients like dietary fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, and healthy fats. 
The best fats to include in your diet are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (omega-3 and omega-6) fats. You can find these healthier fats in avocados, nuts, fish and sunflower seeds. 
Eating too much salt is bad for your heart. The sodium in salt can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. 
Integrated Heart Health Education at Church Health Memphis

Get Moving

Get up and move throughout the day. Any activity is better than none. Even light-intensity activity can offset the serious health risks.
Any physical activity is better than none. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity. Exercise helps lower blood pressure over time.

When you enjoy being active, you’re more likely to do it more often.

Any physical activity is better than none. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity. Exercise helps lower blood pressure over time.

Integrated Heart Health Education at Church Health Memphis

Be smoke free

The first step to quitting is understanding the risks associated with smoking.  

Smoking damages the blood vessels leading to your heart, brain and other parts of your body. This makes you four times more likely to die of heart attack or stroke and three times more likely to die from sudden cardiac death. 

Integrated Heart Health Education at Church Health Memphis

Understand and control your blood pressure

Small steps you can take everyday to take care of your heart.

Blood pressure is the pressure of your blood on the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps it around your body. It’s a vital part of how your heart and circulation work. 

Blood pressure that’s high over a long time is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. As you get older, the chances of having ongoing high blood pressure increases. 

Watch and learn the basics of managing high blood pressure

High blood pressure resources:

ABCs of Hypertension English

Blood pressure measures the force of blood pushing against your artery walls. High blood pressure overworks the heart.
Integrated Heart Health Education at Church Health Memphis

Know your risk for Diabetes

Healthy changes you can take to prevent and treat diabetes

When you eat, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose or sugar. In response, your body produces insulin to move glucose from your bloodstream into the cells to use for energy. When you  have diabetes, your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the insulin doesn’t work properly to open the doors of the cells for glucose to enter. As a result, glucose accumulates in the blood stream causing high blood sugar which can lead to serious health complications over time.

Integrated Heart Health Education at Church Health Memphis

Success strategies for preventing Diabetes

Food and cooking education
Most people decide what to cook based on convenience or taste. These are important, but if you have diabetes or prediabetes it’s even more important to consider your health. This means learning how to make healthier choices at the grocery store and in the kitchen. One place to start is our community cooking class series, called Cook Well, Be Well

Blood Sugar
less than

fasting between:
after meals (1-2 hours):

80 – 140
140 – 180

A1c (average blood sugar)
less than

7.0

Blood Pressure
less than

140/90

Total Cholesterol
less than

200

LDL (bad) cholesterol
less than

HDL (good) cholesterol
more than

100

40

Know your numbers

HbA1C measures your average blood sugar over the last 2-3 months. The results are given in a percentage. This tells you how well you are controlling your blood sugar long term. A high Hba1c  means you are at an increased risk for diabetes complications. Your HbA1C goal is less than 7%.

Blood Glucose tells you how much sugar is in your blood stream in that moment. This helps you  know how your medication, diet and exercise are affecting your blood sugar.

Goal:
Fasting (before eating/taking medications): 80-140 mg/dL
2 hours after eating: 140-180 mg/dL

Watch and learn the basics of managing diabetes

Diabetes resources:

ABCs of Diabetes (English)

What is Diabetes? When you eat, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose or sugar. In response, your body produces insulin to move glucose from your bloodstream into the cells to use for energy. When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the insulin doesn’t work properly to open the doors of the cells for glucose to enter. As a result, glucose accumulates in the blood stream causing high blood sugar which can lead to serious health complications over time.
Integrated Heart Health Education at Church Health Memphis

Heart healthy eating

Healthy eating starts with healthy food choices​
You don’t need to be a chef to create nutritious, heart-healthy meals your family will love. Learn what to look for at the grocery store, restaurants, your workplace and any eating occasion. and effort, but the benefits are worth it. If you can’t do it perfectly, guess what? Nobody can, but everyone who puts in serious effort will see benefits!
What's on your plate

Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean dieting or giving up all the foods you love. Learn how to ditch the junk, give your body the nutrient-dense fuel it needs, and love every minute of it!

Nutrition resources:

Healthy Eating Using MyPlate

What is MyPlate? MyPlate is a tool created by the USDA to show how much of each food group Americans should eat to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

MyPlate Grocery List & Snacks

Diabetes Management Grocery List & Snacks

Gardening for heart health

Regular gardening activities can provide preventative and therapeutic benefits
Horticultural Therapeutic garden has been used to benefit human health and wellbeing thousands of years. Florence Nightingale supported therapeutic garden in improving clean air in the health care environment. Therapeutic gardening offers multiple health benefits including physical, mental, and social wellbeing. In addition, therapeutic gardening promotes self-care, self-empowerment in self-management of chronic disease conditions. American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 30 – 45 minutes daily gardening exercise for clients with diabetes and hypertension for improving health and preventing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, AHA emphasis the importance of therapeutic gardening health benefits by providing teaching gardening resources for the clients with CVD risk factors (AHA, 2020). Regular gardening activities are found useful in reducing stress, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Further, regular gardening activities found beneficial for improving heart health among all the age groups.

Co-sponsored by University of Memphis and Church Health, our mission is to develop a virtual integrated heart health education program that will improve health outcomes, self management skills, and quality of life among people with cardiovascular risk factors in our community.