Most women in the U.S. don't realize that heart disease is their biggest health risk. In fact, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of American women, with one in three dying of the disease — a truly staggering statistic. Multi-talented actress Jane Seymour is lending her artistic gifts to help the California Pistachio Commission raise awareness in the fight against women's heart disease.

Seymour has exclusively created for the California Pistachio Commission four original paintings that will be featured in a set of limited-edition note cards and sold throughout 2005 to support women's heart health initiatives nationwide.

“I was astounded to learn that six times as many women die of heart disease than breast cancer each year,” said Seymour. “Since painting is one of my life's passions, I was honored to be asked by the California Pistachio Commission to create imagery that will be used to help raise money and spread awareness about heart disease and how it can affect so many women. As a woman, daughter, sister and mother of two girls, I realize how this issue could easily touch my own life.”

The limited-edition heart health note cards feature four unique heart-inspired designs by Seymour including Red Tulips in a Clear Vase, Woman in a Red Dress, Portrait of a Red Rose and Self-Portrait in Red. The set of 12 cards (three each of the four designs) will be sold at a cost of $15 (including shipping and handling) and shipped to U.S. and Canadian addresses only. Those interested in purchasing the cards can visit www.pistachios.org and www.janeseymour.com for more information.

Sweepstakes

This spring, the California Pistachio Commission will also conduct the “Art for Your Heart” national consumer sweepstakes with Family Circle magazine where one lucky reader will win a limited-edition giclee print of one of Seymour's original paintings commissioned for the women's heart health awareness campaign. The giclee, hand signed by the artist and numbered, is valued at $1,500. Consumers can enter the contest beginning Feb. 15, 2005 by visiting www.familycircle.com.

The California Pistachio Commission is committed to raising awareness about women's risk of heart disease and showcasing how pistachios can fit into a heart-healthy diet. In 2003, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved a qualified health claim that states, “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.” A one-ounce serving of 49 pistachios is naturally cholesterol free and predominantly contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

The California Pistachio Commission continues to be a proud supporter of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's (NHLBI) The Heart Truth campaign and its symbol, the Red Dress. On National Wear Red Day, the first Friday in February each year, women and men across the country can unite in the national movement to give women a personal and urgent wake-up call about their risk of heart disease. The second annual National Wear Red Day will be held this year on Feb. 4, 2005 and will continue to showcase the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness.

“We've learned through our partnership with The Heart Truth that women do not take their risk of heart disease seriously — or personally,” said Karen Reinecke, president of the California Pistachio Commission. “Women often fail to make the connection between risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and their own chance of developing heart disease. Our hope is to continue raising awareness among women, and we are so proud and honored that Jane Seymour has lent her support and great artistic talent to this important cause.”

For more information on the artwork of Jane Seymour, please visit www.janeseymour.com or contact Coral Canyon Publishing at 310-456-9477. For more information about women and heart disease, please visit www.hearttruth.gov. For more information on the health benefits of California pistachios, please visit www.pistachios.org.