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Posts Tagged ‘Fruits & Vegetables’

Start Your GardenAre you interested in maintaining your weight or even losing a few pounds this spring? Could you use some encouragement and guidance but don’t have time to attend classes? Want tips to help you grow herbs, start a garden or eat more local foods? Does this sound interesting to you?

If so, give our Spring Live Healthy Live Well Email wellness challenge a try.

“Spring Live Healthy Live Well Challenge” is an on-line challenge designed to help adult participants get fit by encouraging regular physical activity, nutrition, and wellness activities. Participants will receive e-communications twice each week, containing nutrition, health and fitness tips. Additional food and activity logs will be available for download to help participants track their progress. They will also have access to supplemental information available on Blogs and Facebook.

Sign up by following this link to enroll: http://go.osu.edu/SpringPick

If you’ve joined us on other challenges, you’ll see new themes during this spring challenge. We will learn about these topics and be encouraged to participate in wellness behaviors.

• Vegetables and Fruits – adding more of these foods to your diet.
• Fitness Focus Tips – finding ways to move more.
• Root Vegetables – trying new recipes for veggies and fruits.
• Local Foods – visiting a Farmers’ Market or the local foods section of your store.
• Gardening – planting an herb, vegetable or fruit in a container or plot garden.
• Seasoning with Herbs – using herbs instead of salt to season foods.
• Sunscreen – wearing sun protection or sunscreen every day.

Once you register, you will be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting the week of April 7, 2014. While Facebook™ will be utilized; participants only need to have an email address.

The program is funded by Ohio State University Extension and County Commissioners Cooperating.

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

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March 17 - Spring Blog Photo

Signs of spring are around us everywhere . . . . daylight savings time, daffodils and crocuses popping through the ground, and skunks along the roadside – yes, skunks are a sign that spring is in the air.

Much like New Year’s resolutions, spring is a time of renewal and new beginnings.  In our hurried, fast-paced world, it is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life; we forget to stop and smell the roses.  This hectic, fast-paced lifestyle can take a toll on our energy and time.  With the onset of spring approaching later this week, here are ten suggestions for new beginnings and renewal.

  • Get eight hours of sleep.
  • Get 30 minutes of physical exercise daily.
  • Take 10 deep breaths when something overwhelms you.
  • Drink water instead of sweetened beverages or soda.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits.
  • Say affirmations in the morning and at night.
  • Surround yourself with positive people; negative attitudes can drain your enthusiasm.
  • Do something nice for yourself.
  • Take time to reflect upon each day.
  • Treasure every moment.

As you embrace the changing of the season from winter to spring, consider how you can make small changes to your personal life for renewed health and well-being.

Written by:  Cynthia R. Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA.

Reviewed by:  Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, Ohio Valley Hills EERA.

Reviewed by:  Jenny Lindimore, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA & Kim Barnhart, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clients on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information: go.osu.edu/cfaesdiversity

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After viewing a few television shows about the new trends in dining and hot eats – it got me wondering how it would influence my own choices as I prepared foods or choose to eat out in the coming months. Several of the trend lists I viewed were from surveys by the National Restaurant Association, insights from Technomic (a leading food service research firm), and The Food Channel. I found it interesting that a number of the trends fit well with the themes we are promoting through Ohio State University Extension. Here are my favorites:

  • Locally grown in all types of foods including produce, meats, and dairy. Extension has been promoting local foods for several years in Ohio. By buying local, you support your local economy, and you have the opportunity to learn from your local farmer or restaurant how the food was produced and harvested. To learn more about this effort go to http://localfoods.osu.edu/.vegetables
  • Children’s nutrition and more healthful meals for children. This goes back to more vegetables, fruits, and less processed foods. I hope that means restaurants will get on board with the work that many of us have been doing for years (Health Departments, State Government, and our First Lady included).  A national Extension team that I contribute to is working on this topic, so check out our work on eXtension at http://www.extension.org/healthy_food_choices_in_schools.
  • A Midwestern Food Movement is also found in restaurants and with newer television programming and recipe books. Of course growing up in Ohio, I know this is a true, we have good food! Think root vegetables, fresh foods from the garden, catfish, dairy products, pork (goes back to the Chicago hog processing from days past), and many of the traditional comfort foods.
  • Clean eating or not over processed foods is the final restaurant trend I want to focus on. Attempt to eat foods in their natural state; avoid preservatives; reduce salt and try herbs; eat whole grains rather than refined; and use natural fats like olive, canola, or walnut oil. This ties in well with locally grown and the Midwest movement.

This look at the new trends in food and dining has brought forward several messages that are good for all of us – look for foods in their natural state, buy fresh and local when you can, and encourage children to eat these foods by setting a good example. What are you doing to be part of this movement?

Sources:

Technomic, https://www.technomic.com/Pressroom/Releases/dynRelease_Detail.php?rUID=262.

The Food Channel, http://www.foodchannel.com/articles/article/2014-top-ten-food-trends-part-i/.

Ohio State University Extension, Local Foods, http://localfoods.osu.edu/ and Ohio Direct Marketing: Food and Agriculture, https://u.osu.edu/fox.264/.

Author: Lisa Barlage, MS, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Daniel Remley, MSPH, PhD, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension, remley.4@osu.edu.


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Do yonailsu have splitting, cracking nails? Do you have problems getting them to grow long? How’s your health? Your nails are like a mirror to your health.

White spots in nails indicate an injury to the nail. Vertical lines can be caused by a nail injury or certain diseases or drugs. Bacterial infections of the nails are most commonly due to injury, nail biting, poor hygiene, or frequent contact with water. Heart and lung problems, liver and kidney diseases, diabetes, and anemia can be signaled by changes in your nail such as discoloration or thickening of the nail. Digestive problems can cause ingrown toenails as also can improper nail trimming, tight shoes or poor posture. If you have diabetes or poor circulation you are more likely to have nail problems.

If you notice changes in color, shape and/or thickness of the nail, bleeding, discharge, pain due to swelling around the nail you should check with your doctor. About half of all nail disorders are caused by fungal infections. Fungal infections are more common in toenails due to the warm and moist environment.

Your fingernails grow faster about twice the rate as toenails with faster growth in the summer. Our health factors such as nutrition, age, activity level, heredity, disease, medications, illness, fever and age affect nail growth. As we age we also tend to have more nail problems.

Keeping your nails in good shape:
• Keep your nails clean and dry. Use rubber gloves when cleaning and using chemicals.
• Moisturize your hands and nails often as frequent hand-washing and hand sanitizers dry out nails.
• When filing or trimming your nails cut straight across with the center slightly rounded.
• If your nails split or break easily, keep them short.
• Nail polish can protect your nails.toenails
• Only use nail polish remover once a week as it dries out nails. Try an acetone-free variety.
• Don’t bite your fingernails or pick your cuticles. Clip off hangnails.
• For toenails, don’t wear tight shoes and switch shoes regularly.
• For reoccurring problems see your doctor or dermatologist.

Be Careful at Nail Salons
Fungal Infections are easily spread at nail salons. Be sure technicians wash their hands between clients and use clean implements each time. If you are a frequent customer you may want to bring your own implements. Technicians should never cut or push back cuticles.

Written by: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Fayette County, Miami Valley EERA

Reviewed by: Liz Smith, Liz Smith, M.S, RDN., L.D, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED Ohio State University Extension

References:
American Academy of Dermatology, (2013). Nails, American Academy of Dermatology, Available at http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/nails
Mayo Clinic, {2011). Fingernails: Do’s and don’ts for healthy nails, Mayo Clinic. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nails/WO00020

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In their February 2013 journal, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics took the position supporting the total diet approach, which is based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Total diet is defined as “the combination of foods and beverages that provide energy and nutrients and constitute an individual’s complete dietary intake, on average, over time.”

The guidelines emphasize that all foods can be included, in appropriate amounts, in a healthy diet. Yes, this includes carbohydrates, fats, cupcakes, and even ice cream. It is important, however, to understand that although all foods can fit, the bulk of the diet should be largely comprised of nutrient rich foods necessary to meet energy and nutrient requirements (for your requirements, visit www.choosemyplate.gov).my plate

The total diet approach vehemently avoids labeling foods as “good” or “bad.” This tends to create a sense of black and white thinking concerning healthy eating leading to an emphasis placed on individual foods and/or nutrients. Isolating nutrients from their respective foods leads to confusion and frustration.

Researchers have not verified a “magic bullet” for better health, but there is evidence supporting the importance of variety. Eggs are touted as having one of the highest quality proteins, but they lack other nutrients such as fiber and antioxidants found in whole grains. Dairy is a great source of calcium and potassium, but doesn’t contain the Omega-3 fats you’d find in seafood or walnuts. The total diet approach encourages balance such that all nutrients can be obtained in sufficient quantities.

Understand, however, that the total diet approach is not a ticket to eat less healthful foods without reservation. Although all foods can fit, nutrient rich foods should be the foundation of your diet. Nutrient rich foods are those like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. Nutrient poor foods (i.e. foods high in saturated fat or trans fat, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages) should be enjoyed in small portions or suggested serving sizes and remain within the recommendations.

Food is an important part of culture and tradition. Removing certain foods or food groups from your life can create a sense of loss and deprivation. The goal is to create an overall eating pattern, which includes your favorite foods that can be sustained over a lifetime. So you can have your cake and eat it too, but be sure the treats remain a treat, and not a staple.

This fall several  County Extension office are  offering a Free, “Live Healthy, Live Well” Fall Kick Off The Pounds Wellness Challenge .This email challenge can help to improve your overall health and well-being and help you with the total diet approach .This on-line challenge is designed to help participants get fit by encouraging regular exercise, nutrition, and wellness tips. Participants will receive weekly e-communications via blogs, Facebook, and email with tips and recipes to help them get fit.  There will be weekly drawings for prizes to encourage wellness- all participants are eligible to win.  Interested in participating in this on-line challenge?  Look for sign up  information coming in future blogs.

Written By: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, FCS, Wood County and Ryan Leone, Program, Program Assistant, Wood County with IGNITE: Sparking Youth to Create Healthy Communities Project.

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

Sources:  “Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Total Diet Approach to Healthy Eating.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics February (2013): 307-17. Print.

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With a range of medications available to help the 50 million Americans suffering from arthritis many may not know that what you eat can influence your symptoms and alsoartritis hands how the disease progresses.

Rather than supplements in the form of pills, food with certain nutrients can help.

·         Vitamin C about the amount in two oranges (152 milligrams a day) has been found to reduce the progression of osteoarthritis.  Vitamin C plays a role in the formation of cartilage, collagen and proteoglycans.  It also is an antioxidant which helps limit the free-radical oxygen compounds that can damage cartilage.

·         Vitamin D was shown to cut the progression of arthritis.  Living in the northern attitudes especially in the winter, makes it difficult to get enough Vitamin D.  This is the one vitamin that you may need to  supplement.  Vitamin D not only plays a role in bone building it seems to affect the production of collagen.

·         Beta-carotene reduced the progression of arthritis when 9,000 IU were consumed daily.  This was not seen when people consumed 5,000 IU.  Most Americans only get 3,000 to 5,000 IU a day of beta-carotene.  However, you can easily increase your amount by using orange vegetables and fruits.  One medium sweet potato contains 21,909 IU.  fruits-vegetables

·         Vitamin E – In a study with people who had knee osteoarthritis those that consumed 6-11 milligrams of Vitamin E daily (from food) saw a 60% reduction in the progression of the disease over 10 years compared to  those getting 2-5 milligrams daily.  Due to the increased risk of lung cancer, smokers should not take extra Vitamin E or beta-carotene pills.

·         Vitamin K is being studied now.  So far, the study suggests that Vitamin K may slow the progression of osteoarthritis.  Good sources of Vitamin K are spinach, broccoli, leaf lettuce, kale, asparagus and olive, soybean and canola oils.

·         Omega-3 Fatty Acids suppress inflammation in the joint.  This is what causes so much stiffness and pain.  Eating two or more servings of fish (baked or broiled) per week reduced the chance of developing arthritis.   Other sources of omega-3 are flaxseed and nuts.  Canola, soybean and olive oil have some omega-3s.   Best to avoid omega-6 fatty acids found in safflower, sunflower, cottonseed and corn oils.  These are usually also in processed foods and fried foods, so limit your consumption of them.

·         Limit consumption of sugar.   More inflammation has been linked with higher sugar consumption.

· Drink more water         Drink Water.  Water  helps all around from moisturizing, giving support to joints, carrying nutrients and removing wastes from the body.  Some medicines used for arthritis also change your thirst level.  Be sure to drink plenty of water, preferably 8 cups or more a day of liquids.

Eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and protein along with oils rich in omega-3s.  Limit sweets and other fats and oils.  Eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains will increase your fiber intake which the Arthritis Foundation says may keep inflammation down.

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami Valley EERA

Reviewer:  Elizabeth Smith, R.D., L.D. Northeast Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

References:

Tufts University, [2013]. Eating Right for Healthy Joints, Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter Special Supplement, June 2013.

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4802625827_63cd6f152e_sChildren will soon be returning to school and to the routines that the school year brings. For many families, this means back to the routine of packing a lunch each day.  We want to make sure that the lunches we pack are healthy, safe and delicious!

For a healthy lunch, keep in mind the MyPlate guidance. Check out Choosemyplate.gov . One of the main messages of MyPlate is to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. This is something relatively easy to accomplish in a lunch you pack yourself. For example, pack a whole fruit like an apple, banana, or a bunch of grapes. You can also add an individual container of applesauce or a variety of different fruits that are packed in natural juice. For vegetables, most children like baby carrots especially if you include a small container of low-fat dip! Other veggie favorites are cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower and peppers or even a small salad.

Another message from MyPlate is to make at least half of the grains you eat during the day whole grains. Use whole grain bread for the sandwich you pack, try pretzels for a snack instead of potato chips. Whole grain crackers spread with peanut butter or eaten with slices of cheese are a great addition to a healthy lunch.

MyPlate recommends that we consume low fat or fat free dairy products. Most schools make fresh, low fat milk available for children in the lunchroom. The calcium provided by milk is very important to children’s developing bones. If your child is not a milk drinker, you can pack yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese or sliced cheese to help them get the calcium they need each day.

You don’t want to forget the protein group. There are a variety of foods that we can choose from to meet the need for protein in our lunch. If you choose meat, make sure that it is lean. Turkey or lean beef are good choices. Other non-meat sources include eggs, peanut butter, beans, nuts, seeds and soy products.

To pack a safe lunch, remember that any perishable food you pack needs to be kept below 40° to stay safe. You can accomplish this in a variety of ways.

  • Use an insulated lunch bag with a frozen ice pack.
  • Freeze the sandwich, a juice box or yogurt container and pack it in the lunch bag to keep everything safe. By the time lunch rolls around, the sandwich, juice or yogurt should be thawed!

You also want to be careful about cross-contamination. This can happen if you are reusing paper or plastic bags or if you don’t remember to wash out the reusable bag each day. Remind your child to discard wrappers and leftover food as soon as they finish their lunch. Don’t forget the importance of hand washing to prevent the spread of bacteria. If your child won’t have access to warm water and soap before eating, it wouldn’t hurt to put a disposable hand wipe at the top of the lunch bag!

A delicious lunch may not be something that you and your child will necessarily agree on. Be sure and ask them for ideas for a healthy, safe lunch that they would like to eat.  Don’t fall into the peanut butter and jelly every day trap! You might ask your child to help make a list of healthy foods from each section of MyPlate and use that list to vary what is packed each day.

By allowing your child to help plan and pack their own lunch, you are providing an opportunity to talk about making healthy food choices. Encouraging them to make a choice from each of the food groups every day may increase the odds that they will actually eat the lunch that is packed and help them develop good eating habits for life.

Author: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith, R.D., L.D. Northeast Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Source:  MyPlate    http://choosemyplate.gov

School Lunches: Add Variety by soliciting the help of your children http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/school_lunches_add_variety_by_soliciting_the_help_of_your_children

What Can I Pack my Kids for Lunch   http://www.ext.colostate.edu/

Healthy Packed Lunches for Back to School http://byf.unl.edu/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=d17c90e6-539d-4ab8-92e7-cbfe2e482647&groupId=4089458&.pdf

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HerbsHerbs have been around since the dawn of civilization. Ancient people gathered herbs to flavor foods, which were often spoiled, and to use as natural health remedies. Today, we still use herbs to enhance the flavor of our foods.

Herbs can also be thought of as health promoting. Replacing salt with herbs has been used by many cultures in the Mediterranean, South America, Asia and Europe. Although sodium plays an important role in the body too much salt is can cause hypertension and fluid retention. Experts recommend that we not consume more 2400 mg (teaspoon) to prevent hypertension and cardiovascular disease. We are not born with a taste for salt but we develop it with our diet. A preference for salt can be unlearned by gradually lowering it in our diets. Fortunately, herbs are fat-free and often sodium free so that you can spice up your dishes with sacrificing flavor and nutrition.

In addition to being low-sodium, research suggests that culinary herbs are health promoting in other ways. A diet in which culinary herbs are used to flavor food provides a variety of active phytochemicals that may protect against chronic diseases.

Herbs should used sparingly so as to not overwhelm the flavor and fragrance. Herbs can be used as fresh or dried. To substitute dried herbs for fresh, the general rule is to use 1/3 teaspoon of ground or 1 teaspoon of crumbled dried herbs for 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs.

Fresh herbs can easily be grown in containers with lots of sunshine and water. When harvested, bunches of fresh herbs can be stored in the refrigerator with their stems in water. To dry fresh herbs, tie stalks into small bunches with a string and hang upside down in a paper bag punched with holes. Store the bag in a warm, well ventilated place. Once the herbs are dried they should be stored in tightly closed glass jars and kept in a cool dry place.

Here are some ways to use the following herbs:

 Allspice: Use in pickling, baked apples, puddings, cakes, cookies, meat and fish.

 Basil: Use in soups, stews, eggplant, squash, tomatoes, sauces, egg dishes, stuffing, tossed salads and potatoes.

 Bay leaves: Provides a pungent aroma and flavor. Use in stews, sauces, and salad dressings.

 Cayenne: Use in stews, sauces and salad dressings.

 Chili Powder: Provides a hot flavor. Use in stews, boiled eggs, chili, and other Mexican dishes.

 Thyme: Add carefully; very penetrating. Use in soups, stews, meat loaf, onions, carrots, beets, stuffing and sauces.

 Oregano: Use in tomato sauce dishes, egg dishes and salads.

 Paprika: Use in potato dishes, shellfish, and salad dressings.

 Parsley: Is mild and versatile. Use with meat, vegetables, soups, eggs, and potatoes.

Growing herbs can be a family affair. Childhood obesity rates are at all time highs and many children will suffer from chronic disease in early adulthood. Many diseases are preventable if lifelong habits of physical activity and healthy eating are adopted. Involving children in the process of growing, harvesting, and using herbs could foster an interest in life-long interest in cooking and healthy living.

Herb garden

Sources: “Spice Up Your Life with Herbs” by Jennifer Even. OSU factsheet SS-208-02.

“Health-Promoting Properties of Common Herbs”, by Winston Craig. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 70, No. 3, 491S-499S, September 1999.

Writer:  Dan Remley, M.S.P.H., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Family Nutrition and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension, Remley.4@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Michelle Treber, M.A., L.D., Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension,  Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

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There are maMP900202043ny wonderful reasons to be involved with gardening and especially to involve children. Children love digging in the dirt, looking for worms and insects, watering the garden and themselves! Besides having fun, there are many benefits to gardening with children.

The National Gardening Association has documented that teachers and youth leaders describe how gardening benefits kids’ health and well-being, their attitudes towards learning and the environment, their connections to community and so much more.

What other activity can you think of that can help us eat healthier, provide strength and cardio training, increase flexibility plus relieve stress! Gardening can provide all of these plus so much more.  Vary your gardening activities to keep your interest and to broaden the range of benefits.

By introducing children to the joy of gardening at an early age, you are exposing them to what can become a lifelong passion and healthy habit!  Children will also enjoy the special time they are spending with an adult in the garden – someone who is encouraging their creativity and curiosity.

Gardening – check out some of these Hidden Benefits:

  • Stress Reduction
  • Physical Activity
  • Connecting with Others
  • Exposure to New and Different Foods
  • Pride and a Sense of Well-being

Healthy Eating

While many children and some adults will not eat a variety of vegetables,  they are much more likely to at least taste something that they have grown themselves. Gardening provides fresh fruits and vegetables and the encouragement to eat them. These foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and other compounds that help fight disease.

The most recent USDA Dietary Guidelines which are pictured on MyPlate recommend that ½ of our plate should be made up of fruits and vegetables. (2 ½ cups veggies, 2 cups fruit) Most Americans are only eating about ½ of the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day.  By increasing the amount and variety of fruits and vegetables that we are eating, it can help with the current obesity epidemic that we and our children are facing.

Both Physical and Mental Wellness

As many adults can attest – that first day in the spring working in the garden can bring sore muscles the next day! As the summer goes along, our muscles are strengthened and we find that we are able to do more than we imagined on that first day out! Our endurance also increases as the season goes along.

Many children lack opportunities for physical exertion. Sometimes they don’t have safe places to play outside or they just aren’t interested in “exercise”.  Gardening provides the opportunity to encourage children to walk away from the computer, TV, video games, etc. and introduce them to a fun and productive activity.   Gardening is an excellent way to get physical activity. Active people are less likely than inactive people to be obese or have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, depression, colon cancer, and premature death.

Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles. You can burn 150 calories by gardening (standing) for approximately 30-45 minutes. Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day. If you have been inactive, start out with just a few minutes of physical activity each day. Gradually build up time and intensity.

Gardening also can help reduce our stress levels. Relaxation and stress reduction are one of the biggest hidden benefits of gardening. Research has shown that working in a garden can help create a more positive outlook by the participants.

We sometimes forget how much stress children can have in their lives. Spending time in the garden – focusing on the garden even if just for a short time can help them relax and rejuvenate.

Gardening can also increase the feeling of belonging. Again, many children do not have that sense of being an important part of their community. By working together in a garden, that sense of community develops and children can begin to appreciate that they can contribute to their community in a meaningful way.

We don’t want to forget that one of the most important benefits from gardening with children is the opportunity to have fun. You have probably heard  the phrase of having “good clean fun”.  Well, gardening may not be clean, but it surely can be fun and good for us at the same time!

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

http://www.cdc.gov/family/gardening/

http://www.kidsgardening.org/node/13152

Writer:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Franklin County, Ohio State University Extension, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County, Ohio State University Extension, treber.1@osu.edu

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When it comes to fruits and vegetables, vary your colors, cooking methods, and consumption for optimal nutrition. fruits-veggies

If you are concerned about preventing or controlling many of the chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, consider visiting MyPlate.gov and consume the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables recommended for your age, gender, and activity level. For example – 2 cups fruits and 3.5 cups of vegetables for active male. For additional health benefits, consider the three C’s: color, cooking, and consumption.

Consuming a variety of colors can make a difference to your health. Red fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes, contain lycopene which is a phytochemical, or plant chemical, that can lower the risk for certain cancers, especially prostate cancer. Anthocyanin, found in red raspberries and strawberries, and also in purple produce, such as blackberries, blueberries and eggplant, is a powerful antioxidant that can also lower the risk of cancers and heart disease. Orange fruits and vegetables, such as mangoes, squash, oranges, and carrots contain plant pigments called carotenoids which can also lower risk of certain cancers, heart disease, but also eye diseases. Dark green vegetables have phytochemicals such as lutein, which can protective of eye disease, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Yes, even fruits and vegetables devoid of color can be beneficial to health. Onions, garlic, and parsnips, have pigments called anthoxanthins which are thought to be helpful with blood pressure.

In addition to consuming a variety of colors, consider how you consume and prepare fruits and vegetables. Many fruits and vegetables are healthiest when consumed fresh. There are exceptions however. However, the lycopene in tomatoes is more available to your body if you consume cooked tomatoes or if you consume tomatoes with a little bit of oil (try adding a little olive oil to your tomato soup!). For many vegetables, prolonged boiling can be detrimental to many phytochemicals that are heat unstable. Consider steaming or microwaving with a small amount of water to retain nutrients. Dried fruits and vegetables can add fiber to the diet, but they lose the health promoting phytochemicals during the drying process.

Sources:

Produce for Better Health Foundation, http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov

North Dakota State University Extension Service, http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/food

Writer: Daniel Remley, Field Specialist, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension.

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