Archive for May, 2013

stroke-fast-magnetMay is National Stroke Awareness Month, High Blood Pressure Education Month, and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Wow! The symmetry amongst those three events all occurring in the same month (in my mind, anyways) is incredible, as high blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke. And not being physically active is a significant risk factor for stroke and hypertension (high blood pressure).

A stroke is a disruption in the blood supply to your brain that happens when you experience a blockage in a blood vessel or a blood vessel bursts. Every year, almost 800,000 strokes occur in the United States. The two diseases I try hardest to prevent by walking every day are diabetes and stroke. You can lessen your risk for having a stroke by following a regular exercise program as well. The best exercise for a stroke or hypertension prevention program is any exercise that involves moderate-intensity aerobic activity.

What is moderate-intensity aerobic activity?

Exercise and/or “chore” activities that fall into the moderate-intensity category include brisk walking, bicycling on level ground, mowing the lawn, and raking leaves. Typically, activities of this sort elevate your heart rate and cause you to sweat while allowing you to carry on a more or less normal conversation. If you can talk with someone while exercising, but need to stop speaking here or there because you are slightly winded, then you are exercising moderately.

Aerobic exercise is good for you because it “ups” your heart rate and forces your lungs to take in more oxygen while expelling more carbon dioxide. This gives your heart a good workout and pumps a quick jolt of oxygen through your cells. Not exercising regularly? The consequence may be startling; high levels of carbon dioxide in your blood, even when all other tests of the blood are fine. While not life threatening, it does say you are not inhaling enough oxygen or exhaling enough carbon dioxide. Your cells must have oxygen to survive moment to moment.

Exercise also makes the walls of your arteries more elastic. This helps explain why it’s so great at reversing high blood pressure. Picture your garden hose. If the water is turned on full blast but there is a kink in the hose, the pressure builds up. Likewise, the higher the volume of blood and the stiffer the artery, the harder the heart has to work to pump the blood around your system. This, in turn, can raise your risk for a stroke.

If you know someone who has had a stroke and you’ve personally seen the consequences of that devastating brain injury, wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to avoid it happening to YOU?? Physical activity isn’t a “whenever” health choice, it is one of the most important lifestyle choices you can make. Our greatest asset isn’t our home or vehicle, it’s our body. Protect it!


Written by:
Donna Green, BS, MA
Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences
Ohio State University Extension

Reviewed by:
Liz Smith, M.S., RDN, L.D.
Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences
Ohio State University Extension


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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.


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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Beans aren’t just for baking at summer picnics anymore. Use this inexpensive, low-fat, high protein and high fiber food staple to make healthy alternatives to other fat laden salads and dips at your summer gatherings.

Beans are so versatile, a half-cup serving of cooked dry beans counts as one, one-ounce serving of lean meat in the USDA Dietary Guidelines Meat and Beans group, and as a full serving of vegetables in the Vegetables group.

The quality and digestibility of beans can be improved by consuming them with cereal grains. When beans and grains are served together in dishes like beans and rice, or tortillas and refried beans, they provide a complimentary protein profile.

Easy bean dip
Make an easy bean dip by combining a can of any type of beans (rinsed and drained) with 1/3 cup of olive oil and process until smooth. Rinsing the beans helps remove some of the sodium.  Season to taste with onions, garlic, or your favorite herb mix. Bring along baked tortilla scoops for the perfect appetizer.

At only 100 to 120 calories per serving, beans are a great nutrient investment. The high fiber content of beans – about 25-30% of the recommended daily value per serving – slows the release of glucose and the increased satiety from beans may also enhance the effectiveness of weight-reducing diets. At about 20 cents per serving, beans do our wallets a favor as well.

Add beans to your favorite salad to increase protein and fiber. Or, better yet, try an all bean salad. Drain, rinse and mix five cans of your favorite beans in a large bowl – try kidney, garbanzo, lima, navy, great northern, pinto and/or black beans. Add chopped onion, chopped green pepper and a can of rinsed and drained corn. Marinate overnight in ½ cup wine vinegar and ½ cup olive oil seasoned to taste with garlic powder, oregano, basil, rosemary and/or anise. This makes a delicious salad that can be served as a side dish or a dip for baked tortilla chips.

Try something new this summer – bring on the beans!

Source: Idaho Bean Commission, http://bean.idaho.gov

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

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As the school year comes to a close, many parents are faced with the task of finding child care for the summer or deciding if they should take a chance and let their children stay home alone for the first time. Whether for a few minutes or a few hours, all parents will face the dilemma-is my child old enough to stay home alone? Many state or local laws, do not list a specific minimum age. Instead, like the Ohio Revised Code, say that parents are responsible for providing proper care and supervision for their children. So, the real question isn’t so much one of age, but one of your child’s maturity and readiness and your ability to plan for safety, emergencies and activities. There is no magic age at which children develop the maturity and good sense needed to stay alone. However, there are some signs that your child may be ready.

First, your child should indicate a desire and willingness to stay alone. Children who are easily frightened or who don’t want to stay alone are probably not ready to do so. Your child should also be showing signs that he or she can be responsible, is aware of the needs of others, and can think about options and make decisions independently. Children who are able to get ready for school on time, solve problems on their own, complete homework and household chores with a minimum of supervision, and remember to tell you where they are going, have some of the skills they will need to care for themselves. For many children, these abilities begin to appear between the ages of ten and twelve.
If your child shows these signs, you may want to consider letting your child stay home alone. However, you must also think about several other factors. These are:
-The neighborhood in which you live
-The availability of adults nearby
-How long your child will be alone

If your neighborhood is unsafe, if there are no adults nearby to call in case of an emergency, or if your child must remain alone for a very long time, it is best to continue to use some form of child care even if your child seems ready to stay alone. Remember, children, like adults are all different. Some are more independent than others, and some are more fearful, despite your care and preparation.

If you and your child decide that you are ready to stay home alone, the next step is giving your child some guidelines, knowledge, and training. Involve your children in decisions and discussions that affect them. If children understand the reasons for the rules and participate in developing rules, they are more likely to follow them.

For more tips and information on this topic, check out the complete OSU Extension fact sheet at http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5321.pdf

Adapted from Ohio State University Extension Factsheet, HYG-5321-10, Home Alone: Is My Child Old Enough? http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5321.pdf

Author: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County.

Reviewer: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County

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Before the days of supermarkets, many families relied on growing their own vegetables and preserving them for use over the long winter months.

If you’re thinking about putting in a vegetable garden this season, you’ll have plenty of company. Raising edible plants is the fastest-growing trend in gardening. Whether you hope to save money on your grocery bill, reduce fears about food safety, or just enjoy the flavor of straight-from-the-garden freshness, growing your own vegetables can be very rewarding.

Growing an edible family garden is a great way to get your children excited about eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Additionally, it is a great way for children to get exercise and spend time outdoors in an activity the whole family can benefit from.MP900202043

If you teach children to garden, they will experience a joy that will be with them the rest of their lives. However, many kids grow up today without the benefit of having a garden or farming background and access to free play outdoors. They often don’t know what to do in a garden. That’s where parents and grandparents come in. Adults can help kids learn about growing plants in a fun and engaging way. Plus, it will be a special time together outdoors, exploring the land, food, and flowers.

To encourage children to garden, it is important to have them grow vegetables that will mature quickly so that they can see the results of their efforts right away.

From the first crisp carrots of early summer to the last sweet squash of fall, a vegetable garden is a constantly changing delight. There is the pleasure of anticipation in watching as beets and carrots shoulder their way into view, beans swell in their pods, cucumbers lengthen and corn put out silky tassels. Then there is the enjoyment of consuming the harvest, fresh-picked and full of flavor.

As you make plans for a vegetable garden, there’s no better advice than this: Start small. It’s easy to get carried away during spring planting season when good intentions and enthusiasm are riding high. That jumbo veggie patch that makes you swell with pride in May can become an unmanageable, weedy monster in the hot and sweaty days of summer.

Happy Gardening!

Written by: Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by: Joyce Shriner, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Hocking County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by: Jennifer Lindimore, Ohio State University Extension Office Associate, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA

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thunder storm

Be prepared for the upcoming storm season. Have a plan with your family and review it frequently to ensure everyone’s safety. The American Red Cross recommends reading these storm safety tips to be prepared and having these emergency supplies on hand in a safe place with easy access:

Make a Storm Plan

• Keep emergency supplies on hand
• Familiarize yourself with local evacuation routes
• Have an escape plan and a meeting point that is simple for all family members to remember
• Be sure to make arrangements for your pet should an emergency arise
• Establish an out-of-state friend who all members of the family know how to contact

Have These Emergency Supplies on Hand in A Safe Place with Easy Access

• Flashlight
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio
• Extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Moisture wipes
• Water- Fill up bathtub and containers with water for washing
• 7-day supply of medications, including pet medications
• Copies of personal and financial documents
• Emergency contact information
• Extra cash
• Maps
• Extra car and house keys
• Charged cell phone and charger
• Hand crank cell phone charge (available at online internet companies)

Food and Water

Plan to have enough food and water per family member for up to 7 days

• Bottles water – at least 1 gallon daily/person
• Non-perishable packaged or canned food
• Baby food/formula and food for seniors
• Pet food
• Cooking tools/fuel
• Plastic plates/utensils/napkins
• Manual can opener
• Cooler

Secure Your Home

• Bring all loose items inside
• Trim dead branches from trees around your home
• Unplug any appliances not in use
• Inspect and reinforce doors, windows, roof and garage
• Take pictures of your home yearly for insurance purposes

Learn about your local community’s emergency warning system and discuss safety with family members.

Sources: American Red Cross
Author: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD, LD, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County
Reviewer: Liz Smith, M.S, RDN., LD , NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, OSU Extension
Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County

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Corncobs and meat on grillAs the weather warms up and fresh vegetables are readily available there are many good choices to add vegetables to your outdoor grilled meals.  It not only keeps the heat out of the kitchen, it adds variety to your family meals.  Outdoor grilling can be a healthy, low-fat way to cook.

  • Place large vegetables such as corn on the cob and asparagus directly on the grill.
  • Smaller vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes should be washed and cut into uniform pieces. Place them in an aluminum foil packet or a vegetable grilling basket.
  • For added flavor, marinate for 15 minutes before grilling by tossing them with a mixture of 2 parts oil, one part lemon juice, a crushed garlic clove and other herbs of your choice.
  • Make kabobs by putting the vegetables on a skewer, or use aluminum foil or a vegetable grilling basket
  • Cook on a medium-hot grill, turning them often.
  • When easily pierced by a fork, they are done.   

Vegetable Kabobs

2 large green peppers, cut into 1” squares

2 medium onion, quartered, separated into sections

2 small zucchini, cut into 1” pieces

4 small yellow squash, cut into 1” pieces

12 whole mushroom

1 bottle fat-free Italian salad dressing

Place vegetables in a non-metal dish, pour Italian salad dressing over all and mix.  Marinate vegetables in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  Drain vegetables and thread alternately on skewers. (Or use a foil pouch or vegetable basket.) Grill kabobs 15-20 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.  Makes 4-6 kabobs.


Penn State Extension http://extension.psu.edu/health/nutrtiion-links/recipes

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Are You a Nutritious Grill Master?  G2048  http://extension.unl.edu/publications

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

Reviewer: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County.

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