Simple changes could drastically cut your heart disease risk

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — You probably know heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, but did you know Alabama is second in the nation for heart disease deaths? Simple lifestyle changes now can reduce your risk of developing heart disease in the future.

Most people know that eating right and exercising can also cut down the risk, but lifestyle changes can lower your heart disease risk by 80%. One change includes eating less sugar.

The USDA says a typical American consumes approximately 156 lbs. of added sugar each year. That’s 31 five-pound bags for each person in the U.S. The American Heart Association recommends less than seven teaspoons a day.

While it sounds like a drastic change, these don’t have to happen all at once. Work to reduce sugar by replacing cookies, cakes and pies with fruit in your house. By using fruit, you get the sweet flavoring and don’t need as much sugar.

To start, try this recipe adapted from the I Breathe, I’m Hungry website:

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake (serves 8):

Crust: graham cracker crust (premade, store bought)

Filling: 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, 1/3 cup granulated sugar substitute, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 1 egg

Strawberry swirl: 1/2 cup pureed strawberries (about 3/4 cup chopped), 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar substitute

To make cheesecake filling:

  1. Beat the cream cheese and sugar substitute together until smooth
  2. Add the egg and lemon juice and mix until thoroughly combined
  3. Pour the cheesecake filling over the crust
  4. Combine the strawberry puree and 1 Tbsp sweetener
  5. Drop by spoonfuls over the filling and them swirl gently with a knife or fork. Don’t over mix.
  6. Bake the cheesecake at 350 degrees for 28 minutes

After baking, while cheesecake is still warm, the center will not be 100%. Cover and place in the refrigerator until firm before serving chilled. May top with fresh strawberries.

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