Kagome, Raise Jointly Fight Heart Disease

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Top-rated Japanese vegetable and fruit producer Kagome, has partnered with Raise the Hope to educate female triathletes on the benefits of proper nutrition and exercise to prevent heart disease among women. The partnership encourages participating athletes to increase their daily serving of fruits and vegetables and ultimately reduce the risk factors associated with heart disease.

"Most Americans don't realize that heart disease is the number one killer of women in our country," said Heather Nakamura, M.P.E., M.S., R.D., exercise physiologist and nutrition consultant for Winning Nutrition. "According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, consuming more than nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day may help to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke."

The Raise the Hope program was developed in 2007, by Raise the Bar, a triathlon training and racing forum for men and women in the Seattle area and The Hope Heart Institute, a research and education non-profit dedicated to the battle against America's No. 1 killer, heart disease.

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The 22 female athletes participating in the Raise the Hope program are between the ages of 30 to 50 years old and demonstrate two or more risk factors of cardio-vascular disease, such as elevated weight, high blood pressure or a history of heart disease. Members meet regularly for team workouts, nutritional discussions and Northwest triathlete events.

The 2008 program kicked-off in January with The Hope Heart Institute testing each participant for heart disease risk factors. The women will be tested again to determine heart-health improvements upon completion of the program in September.

"Fruits and vegetables are paramount to heart health and they're naturally filling so they help minimize overeating and keep weight down," said Patty Swedberg, owner of Raise the Bar and an elite triathlete. "Kagome juices are an easy, nutritious solution for our athletes who want to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diet as a quick grab-and-go idea or mixed in with a smoothie."

The Hope Heart Institute recommends selecting colorful foods to ensure that the body receives a proper balance of its nutritional needs. A diet that includes a variety of color is most often a diet that is rich in key nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are a natural choice when eating for color.

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