HATTIESBURG, MISSISSIPPI: February is Heart Month. Forrest General and Extra Table have teamed up to raise awareness about heart disease and how it can be prevented by choosing heart healthy foods. The health and wellness partnership was formed recently to honor Extra Table’s 10 years of providing healthy food to Mississippi’s most food-insecure residents. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions.

“Our diet has a major impact on our heart and overall health,” Martha Allen, Executive Director for Extra Table stated.

Extra Table was launched by well-known restaurateur Robert St. John, in 2009, as a response to Edward’s Street need for food. For years, Extra Table only shipped food in the Pine Belt. Today, Extra Table is a nationally recognized non-profit. Extra Table ships food state-wide to ensure that food pantries and soup kitchens have what they need each month to feed our hungry neighbors here in Mississippi.

The mission of Extra Table focuses on the shipment of only healthy and shelf stable food. Whole grain items, low-sodium soups and vegetables, fruit in water and lean proteins are items that pantries receive from Extra Table each month.

“A diet full of nutrient rich foods like non-starchy vegetables and other healthy options like olive oil and lean meats plays a vital role in heart health. Unfortunately, many people living in Mississippi lack access to nutritious food for various reasons. This is why Extra Table’s mission to bring healthier options to people living in poverty is so important. Although healthy diet is the best foundation for a strong heart, there are other simple lifestyle changes that can have a positive effect. A few of those are regular exercise such as brisk walking, not smoking, and avoiding added salt,” stated Joshua Blair, MD, FACC, Cardiologist at Forrest General.

Oatmeal has long been a food associated with heart health because of its ability to assist in lowering cholesterol. Favorites like beans, lentils and peas can help to regulate blood sugar while they are good sources of protein. Green tea, common in eastern cultures, is said to lower lipids and plaque buildup. Tomatoes are high in potassium and low in sugar, making them an ideal option for anyone looking to lose a few pounds. Maintaining a healthy weight is critical when caring for one’s heart. Red wine, coffee and dark chocolate are good for the heart, but moderation is always important. Red wine claims to have resveratrol which helps to protect the lining of blood vessels. Studies show that two servings of salmon per week can reduce the risk of dying of a heart attack by up to one-third. Learn more about the top 10 heart healthy foods by visiting Extra Table’s website (www.extratable.org).

To learn more about the efficient and effective way Extra Table works to feed our hungry neighbors, visit www.ExtraTable.org or call 601-264-0672. Extra Table is always looking to grow and increase their abilities to feed more people. Supportive donors are needed to insure continued growth, visit www.ExtraTable.org/donate to become a partner in the fight against hunger.