By Courtney Morris

Show your heart some love this February.

During American Heart Month, make small changes to improve your heart’s health and prevent heart disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate approximately 1 in 3 U.S. adults has high blood cholesterol. This can lead to heart disease and stroke. Other risk factors include genetics, gender, age, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and smoking.

According to San Jacinto College’s Trenton Denton, the heart — a muscular organ — needs exercise.

“A heart-healthy lifestyle involves a healthy diet, healthy weight, and physical activity,” said Denton, professor of physical education in the personal trainer program.

He encourages starting with small changes. Take the stairs rather than elevator, park farther from your destination, walk the dog, ride a bicycle, or work in the garden.

Then add on: “Try aerobic exercise five days per week for 30 minutes or more. Monitor your exercise intensity and have a trainer help you establish proper training zones for your ability level,” Denton said.

If you already use a fitness center, ask the manager or director to recommend a personal trainer. Or consult online reviews for fitness centers and trainers.

A bonus of exercise is stress relief and even socialization if you invite a friend or join a fitness class.

Exercise and a healthy diet go hand in hand. Denton recommends eating a variety of foods, focusing on. . .

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Lean protein (limit red meat to two days per week)

Start today! Little changes show a lot of love for the body’s central organ.


Get Fit

The San Jacinto College Continuing and Professional Development Community Engagement Division will offer the free Matter of Balance program at the Central Campus this spring (in partnership with Harris County Public Health’s Healthy Aging Program).

To register, attend an info session from 12-1 p.m.,
Wednesday, Feb. 5, at the Central Campus, 8060 Spencer Hwy., Building 1, Room C1.108.

This interactive fitness program targets ages 55+ and includes food and prizes:

Dates: Thursdays, 12-1:30 p.m., Feb. 20 – April 16

Objectives: Set physical activity goals, reduce fall risk, and exercise to increase strength and balance.

Learn more by calling 281-476-1893 or emailing [email protected].


Eat Healthy

Need healthy inspiration for your plate? the College’s culinary arts program provides a heart-healthy recipe to get you started.

Meatless Tacos

Courtesy of Chef Michael Schuster, North Campus

1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce


1. In a food processor, combine walnuts, cumin, onion powder, and black pepper. Pulse, chopping finely, for about one minute.

2. Add olive oil and soy sauce. Pulse again for another minute.

3. Use a rubber spatula to scrape into an airtight container. Reserve at room temperature while finishing the sour cream recipe. 

Vegan Sour Cream

Start the night before making the tacos

1 cup raw cashews
4 ounces water (for soaking)
2 ounces lime juice (for soaking)
2 tablespoons cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces lime juice (for blending)
4 ounces water (for blending)


1. Soak cashews in water and lime juice overnight.

2. The next day, drain and rinse cashews and place in a food processor. Pulse for a minute to chop fine.

3. Add cilantro, salt, and lime juice. Puree in food processor, adding water slowly until the mixture turns into a sour cream consistency.

4. Place your meatless filling and sour cream inside a Boston lettuce wrap. Add pico de gallo and your favorite salsa!