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How are Heart Health and Food Insecurity Related?

February marks American Heart Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about heart health and the vital role nutrition plays in preventing heart disease. At Second Harvest Food Bank, we recognize the importance of a healthy diet in maintaining a healthy heart. Sadly, these foods can be out of budget and hard to find for those facing food insecurity. Sherry’s story underscores the critical connection between nutrition and health for individuals struggling to make ends meet.

Sherry, who retired after a lifelong career in the medical field, lives on a tight budget supported by social security. Despite her extensive work history, making ends meet in retirement has been a challenge, especially when it comes to affording nutritious food that supports her health needs. “I’ve worked since I was 15. Retired at 66. What I draw, you really have to squeeze to make those ends meet. This is a blessing for me,” Sherry shares.

Living with high blood pressure and diabetes, Sherry faces the double challenge of managing her health conditions while securing healthy food. While Sherry is able to get the medication she needs, it is hard to afford the diet her health conditions require: “My insurance pays for the meds I have to take. I have high blood pressure and I am diabetic. This is a blessing for me to have something like this,” she explains, highlighting the indispensable role of the Second Harvest in her life.

A healthy diet is crucial for heart health, particularly for individuals with chronic conditions like high blood pressure. These conditions can significantly increase the risk of heart disease, making it imperative to have access to nutritious food that supports heart health. Second Harvest Food Bank is committed to providing our community with healthy food options. Proper nutrition is a cornerstone of preventing heart disease and promoting overall health.

“Knowing about the intersection of hunger and health, it’s important we provide resources to our neighbors that give them the nourishment and education to live a healthy life. There are many heart healthy options available at food pantries, which is why we created our Heart Healthy Boxes – to provide examples of those foods and to provide education on how to use those foods and maintain your health.” – Amy Qazi, Registered Dietician and Second Harvest Senior Manager, Innovation & Programs.

For American Heart Month, we invite you to join us in fighting hunger and supporting heart health for all. Your donations and volunteer efforts help us provide nutritious food to those in need, like Sherry, offering more than just a meal—hope and health for a brighter future.

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