POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated American Heart Month on Tuesday at its February luncheon.
With a menu served up by the ladies of the First Church of God, the keynote speaker was Holzer Health System’s Registered Dietitian Mallory Mount.
Mount talked about the relationship between diet and a healthy heart which included the difference between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. The good cholesterol, HDL, can be raised with about 10 minutes of exercise a day. The bad cholesterol, LDL, Mount said, is affected by saturated fats, often found in meats. She added a person only really needs around six ounces of meat a day. Good protein substitutes include nuts, seeds and beans. She added LDL cholesterol can be regulated with fiber and the use of oils in cooking - such as olive oil and canola oil. She stressed avoiding trans fats which are often found in margarine.
When it comes to hydrating, she said nothing beats water - sugary sodas and teas are to be avoided if possible. When it comes to cutting down on sugar intake, Mount said Stevia and Truvia are more natural artificial sweeteners that come from an actual plant but are still semi-processed. Sugar typically affects triglycerides which can be maintained with limited sugar intake and exercise.
When it comes to salt, Mount said it can damage arteries which allows plaque to grow. She said salt substitutes can be found as well as using spices and herbs to keep food tasty without raising blood pressure. She added, foods to avoid, when it comes to high salt intake are breads, cheese, soups and frozen dinners which can already have high sodium contents.
She also confirmed a glass of red wine (around four ounces) a day is indeed good for the heart.
In the end, Mount said a person should decide what works best for them and that life, at least when it comes to food, is a “give and take relationship.”
In other business:
Delyssa Edmonds spoke about the First Mason County Tourism Pageant taking place at 6 p.m., April 5 at the Trinity United Methodist Church Christian Community Building. The pageant is open to contestants ages 17-24 and will offer a scholarship. In addition, the winner will represent Mason County at tourism events, including when the river boats dock and bus tours go through Point Pleasant. Edmonds said there is a need for sponsors to help with the scholarship.
Anna Butler also announced there would be a dedication of the First Church of God’s Community Building, where the luncheon was held, at 9:30 a.m. this Sunday.
Prize winners were Nancy Hamm who won a basket from Four Seasons Florist and Sharon Stapleton who won a cookbook donated by Hamm.
Next month’s luncheon will be held at the Mason County Library with more details to follow.