With a history of heart disease in my family, I know it’s important to take care of my heart – and to share what I know about heart health with those around me. That said, sometimes it’s easy to ignore with all the other things that need to be done. The “to do” list is long and needs to be tackled, the house needs to be cleaned, my quarterly budget at work needs to be finalized – how do I have time to take a break? The more important question, however, is how do I not have time to take a break and take care of myself?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. As a woman, I cannot ignore this fact. According to the American Heart Association, more women die of heart disease than the next three causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease. That said, eighty percent of cardiac events in women may be prevented if women choose to make the right choices for their hearts, involving diet, exercise, and not smoking. I don’t want to be a statistic.

Taking care of your heart doesn’t have to hard. In fact, there are many simple changes and healthy habits you can adopt to lower your blood pressure, manage your weight, deal with stress, and change eating habits to be healthier. Over time, I’ll share how I choose take care of my heart – and I hope you’ll comment with your tips.

One area I keep focus on is nutrition. I love to cook and love making healthy meals for my family and friends. I know a healthy diet is key to good health. The American Heart Association offers many resources for making small changes in your diet that yield big results in the Nutrition Center.  One section of the Nutrition Center includes heart healthy recipes ranging from snacks to meals — and even desserts.

As this is my first post in this community and we’re taking some first steps to improve our health together, let’s celebrate by making the Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Almond-Mocha Topping on Raspberry Sauce. This recipe proves that indulging your sweet tooth does not mean abandoning heart healthy options. Enjoy!