Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Hispanic women, yet only a third of them know this fact. How can a person prevent something that she isn’t aware is an issue? Hispanic women report that they spend their time and energy caring for their families. They pay attention and take action when an older relative or child displays symptoms of sickness. Their own health is too often ignored.

This selflessness can be an unwitting death sentence, because events like heart attack or stroke can strike suddenly, and often without warning. Even if you are aware of the risk, heart disease is often referred to as the silent killer. On top of that, Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than non-Hispanics. Once we start learning the facts, we can mitigate the risk. Let’s change these terrible statistics. It’s begins now, with you.

Sabor Y Salud

Why do Hispanic and Latina women develop heart disease a decade earlier than other demographics? It begins in the kitchen. Food is a major factor in the onset of hypertension. Women are often in the kitchen making food with love for their families. But that food can become unhealthy when traditional favorite ingredients, like lard and pork, are not used in moderation. Also, as families begin to assimilate to American life, these ingredients pair not with fresh vegetables and nixtamalized corn tortillas made fresh and by hand, but rather with processed, packaged white flour tortillas that are pretty much devoid of nutritional value and supply only empty calories.

Many Hispanic women are busy working long hours in addition to taking care of the home and family. It is all too easy to eat convenience food. However, there are wholesome alternatives to a diet of fast food, junk snacks from vending machines and sugary drinks. It’s important to make time for healthy choices.

Rethink Your Recipes

When making food for your family and yourself, you can keep the flavors you love while also keeping health in mind. A few tweaks to recipes you cook regularly can lighten the caloric load, provide more nutrients, and provide the proper energy you need for your busy days.

White rice, a staple in many Hispanic households, can be swapped out for another, more satisfying grain. Brown rice, quinoa and farro are all good options. These whole grains are more nutritionally dense, and will provide a longer, more slow-burning energy. You may find that you feel satisfied from eating less, and feel fuller longer, so you don’t reach for the bag of Takis.

Try switching ground beef for the less fatty ground turkey. And consider which kinds of oils you use most frequently in your cooking. Avocado or coconut may be a better alternative, and your family will never notice the difference. But, actually, it’s good to make it known that you are making healthy choices. Talk about nutrition as a family and model the kind of eating habits you want your children to embody. It all begins with you.

Make an appointment with Abella Health so you can be healthy and strong. Let’s change the story.