Archive for July, 2013

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.


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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StopBullyingNowThe start of a new school year is right around the corner. Many stores are stocking their shelves with book bags, school supplies and boxes of crayons and pencils. For some children the start of a new school year brings fears and anxiety about bullying. According to the website, www.stopbullying.gov bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others.
Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
According to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that, nationwide, 20% of students in grades 9-12 experienced bullying. Consider that in a classroom of 25 students – 5 of these students may have experienced bullying.


Forms of bullying may include teasing, taunting, name calling, or threatening physical harm.
Social bullying may include spreading rumors about someone, leaving someone out on purpose, embarrassing someone on purpose or telling someone not to be friends with someone.
Physical bullying can include hitting, pinching, spitting, tripping or taking someone’s things. All forms of bullying can be damaging and have the ability to hurt others.

What can you do? Encourage your child to talk to an adult about the bullying. Suggest they tell the teacher, school counselor, camp counselor or other adult about what happened. It will be important to share details about the incident. The adult will help so that it doesn’t happen anymore.
Once they’ve talked to an adult about the bullying, encourage your child to become friends with the child who has been bullied. They can take simple steps to help them feel included.

  • Say hello and smile.
  • Invite them to sit together at lunch.
  • Invite them to play a game at recess.

Start this school year off right – as a parent learn about bullying and talk to your child about what to do if they or someone they know is being bullied. You can work together with responsible adults and observant children to help stop this mean behavior.


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, goard.1@osu.edu


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lymph1Do you ever think about your lymphatic system?  Don’t feel bad if the answer is no.  Most people don’t, which isn’t surprising. About the only time we do (think about it) is when we hear that someone has developed cancer in their lymph nodes. And then we feel a little fear, along with ignorance, about what that entails.

So let’s take a closer look at the lymphatic system. Basically, it is your body’s version of a sanitary sewer system.  In the same way that sewers under the street carry away toilet, bath, laundry, and dishwater; lymph vessels drain away your interior waste. Your cells swim in lymph fluid; there is actually twice as much lymphatic fluid in your body as there is blood. That fluid then carries away the “trash” of your immune system, such as dead white blood cells, unused plasma protein, and toxins.

Here’s how it works.  Your heart pumps blood around your body, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the cells. Once the cells absorb what they need, they excrete debris which gets flushed into your lymph fluid and is rendered harmless.

The lymph fluid then drains into the circulatory system through two ducts at the base of your neck and becomes part of the blood and plasma that passes through your kidneys and liver. That’s a lot of travel time. Unfortunately, your lymph system does not have a built-in pump (like your heart) to push all that fluid around. Instead, it uses breathing and body movement. In layman’s terms, that means you need to move your body to cleanse it.

By not breathing deeply or moving regularly, your lymph fluid is not flowing as well as it should. As a result, your body will not be cleansed properly. This can lead to health concerns over time, such as weight gain, muscle loss, high blood pressure, fatigue, and inflammation.

How can you help your lymph system function properly? Be physically active. Choose moderate aerobic activities that increase your circulation and breathing.  Walking, riding a bike, mowing the lawn, and raking leaves are all activities that can help get your lymph fluid moving throughout your body. Here’s another motivational factor to consider: as much as you may hate doing housework or yard work, realize that while you are moving, you are also cleaning out your interior “biological” house as well!  Win-win!

Written by:

Donna Green

Family and Consumer Sciences Educator

Ohio State University Extension

Reviewed by:

Liz Smith, M.S, RDN., L.D




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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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Has doing laundry become routine for you? If so, The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) encourages you to consider the importance of laundry safety, especially as it relates to the new single-load liquid laundry packets. As with all cleaning products, we should know that laundry detergents should be handled with care and stored out of reach and sight of children. The compact size and concentration of single-load packets has manufacturers joining together to emphasize the importance of safe practices to avoid harmful exposure to children and adults from this convenient, new product.laundry

The single-load packets should be handled and stored carefully to avoid harmful exposure to children, adults, or pets. These new products can be fascinating to children and a temptation they can’t resist playing with or eating. The concentrated detergent can be harmful if swallowed or exposed to the eyes, causing vomiting, wheezing, and chemical burns. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends following these safety practices:

• Do not let children handle laundry packets.
• Store out of sight and reach of children, if you don’t already have one consider adding a cupboard or shelf above your washer.
• Ensure re-closable bag or container is tightly sealed during storage.
• Store away from moisture – packets quickly dissolve upon contact with water, wet hands, or saliva.
• If the single-load liquid laundry packets become stuck together, do not pull them apart; throw them away.
• Do not cut, tear or puncture the single-load liquid laundry packets. They are designed to dissolve completely in the machine, even in cold water.
• As with other laundry products, keep packets in their original container with intact labels.
• Do not squeeze – packets can rupture, releasing contents into eyes.
• If you think a child has been exposed to a single-load liquid laundry packet, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
• Don’t forget these guidelines also relate to the similar packets used in dishwashers.

There are things you can do today – and everyday – to ensure your laundry routine is as safe as possible. Start right now by taking the KEY pledge to follow ACI’s simple steps to a safe laundry room and routine:

Keep single-load liquid laundry packets out of the reach of children
Educate your family and friends about the safe use and storage of these new laundry products
You serve a key role in laundry safety

Go to: http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/clean_living/take_the_pledge.aspx to take the ACI pledge and select to be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win a $2,500 grand prize to help makeover your laundry room!

Other resources from the ACI include:

Downloadable Laundry Room Safety Checklist:

Downloadable Safe Laundry Room Practices Poster:

Resources: American Cleaning Institute, http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/

Author: Polly Loy, Family & Consumer Science Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Belmont County, Buckeye Hills EERA, loy.1@osu.edu.
Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, Ohio Valley EERA, barlage.7@osu.edu.

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Fresh Blueberries

Fresh Blueberries

As acknowledged by the North American Blueberry Council and the United States Department of Agriculture, July is Blueberry Month.  What a tasty celebration this will be!  In addition to the wonderful flavor that blueberries provide, there are also many health benefits related to consuming these juicy fruits.  Some recent research suggests the following:

  • Consuming blueberries on a regular basis may assist in lowering cholesterol levels.  A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry from 2010 looked at hamsters, which have cholesterol levels that are raised by high-fat foods similarly to humans.  These hamsters were fed high-fat foods and then provided blueberry juice and or skins total cholesterol in the hamsters given blueberry supplements had total blood cholesterol levels 22 to 27 percent less than hamsters that did not receive blueberries.  Very low density lipoprotein levels (VLDL) in the blood were also lower by a Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry about 44% for the hamsters consuming blueberries.
  • Blueberry consumption may improve heart health by lessening the build-up of plaque in the arteries.  Also in 2010 a Journal of Nutrition article stated that mice were used to look at plaque build-up in the aortas, and that mice that were given forms of blueberries had at least 39% less build-up than mice that did not eat blueberry powder.

Other studies are looking to see if there are correlations between blueberry ingestion and decreased risk of breast cancer and stronger bones, thus helping in the prevention of osteoporosis.

We know that blueberries are packed with vitamin C, fiber and potassium which help us build up immunity, maintain healthy blood sugar levels in persons with diabetes, and enhance nerve and muscle function.

Back to the part about blueberries tasting great!  The University of Maine has a factsheet with good info and tasty recipes that include blueberries.  Try one out for yourself as you celebrate National Blueberry Month.

Lemon, Blueberry Chicken Salad and Blueberry Scones


Fishman, Lisa and Nellie Hedstrom. “Wild Blueberries.” 2008. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Publications. 8 July 2013 <http://umaine.edu/publications/4263e/&gt;.

Wood, M. “Agricultual Research Service.” May/June 2011. United States Department of Agriculture. 8 July 2013 <http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/may11/fruit0511.htm&gt;.

Author:  Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., West Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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

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