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Archive for March, 2017

Is it possible that living around more green spaces can improve or help your health?  It can walk in parkhelp you live longer according to a 2016 analysis by Harvard School of Public Health researchers in a study of 100,000 women.  Women living in the areas with the most greenness in an area within a tenth of a mile had a 12% lower rate of death compared to women who lived in areas with the lowest level of greenness.  Women in the highest area of greenness had a:

  • 13% lower rate for cancer mortality
  • 35% lower respiratory disease-related mortality
  • 41% lower rate for kidney disease mortality

So why do researchers think green space may improve your health?  They think it is a combination of factors which include:

  • Lower levels of depression
  • Increases social engagement
  • Higher levels of physical activity
  • Lower levels of pollution

When examining why people in green spaces might have lower levels of depression it is believed people who live in greener areas are more likely to go outside which exposes them to sunlight.  Being exposed to sunlight helps people make more Vitamin D.  Depression is associated with lower levels of Vitamin D.   Participating in social activities and being with friends can help decrease feelings of loneliness and depression.  Experiencing nature and being outside has shown to increase feelings of well-being.   Some research links images of nature with an increased positive mood.

Higher levels of physical activity helps a person be more fit and usually healthier.  Exercise is good medicine.  The women who lived in greener spaces were more physically active in this research study. flowers-113503_960_720

Trees, plants, grass and flowers all help reduce pollution.  Plants reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter which helps lower pollution.  Those women who lived near the highest amount of vegetation saw a reduced rate of death from respiratory disease by about one-third.  Plants can help clean up our air and help us breathe cleaner air. gravel-road-1031726__340

All this is good news if you live in green spaces with heavy vegetation.  Be sure to take the opportunity to get outside, walk or bike around your neighborhood, find friends or family members to walk with you, and enjoy being outdoors.

If you don’t live in an area with much vegetation check to see if you can plant some trees, plants and/or bushes.  Put some potted plants on your patio or near your front door if it is outside.  Encourage your city or town to be a “Tree City” and plant more trees.   Go visit a friend or meet a friend in the park to walk and enjoy the outside.  Try taking a vacation in areas with heavy vegetation.

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

Reviewer: Tammy Jones, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

References:

Frates, E. (2017). Time Spent in “Green Places” Linked with Longer Life in Women, Harvard Health Blog.  Available at http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/time-spent-green-places-linked-longer-life-women-2017030911152

Mann, D. (2012).  Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Depression.  Available at http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20120627/vitamin-d-deficiency-linked-to-depression#1

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Have you ever finished eating your lunch or dinner and could barely remember what you had just eaten? Could you identify the tastes and textures?  Has your stomach ever felt uncomfortable after you quickly gobbled down a sandwich or meal? Do you eat in the car or in front of the television or computer screen?

Many of us are often are distracted or in a hurry when eating and don’t give the simple act of chewing much thought. Does proper chewing of our food lead to better digestion?  Yes!  Healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients starts with the basic act of chewing our food. As you chew your food, digestive enzymes are released into the stomach to help your body convert the food into energy.

There are many benefits of chewing your food properly:

  • Absorb more nutrients – smaller particles are easier for our bodies to digest.
  • Enjoy and taste your food – proper chewing forces you to slow down and enjoy the flavors.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – it takes time for your brain to tell your stomach that you are full, so taking longer to chew each bite may help you control how much you eat.
  • Care for your teeth – the saliva that is produced from chewing helps wash away bacteria from your teeth and it gives the bones holding your teeth in place some exercise.
  • Reduce the risk of bacterial overgrowth in the colon – this can help prevent bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive problems.

 

So, how many times should you chew your food? That depends on what you are eating!

Its common sense that soft food like fruits and some vegetables break down more easily than a steak. Some experts suggest 5-10 chews for soft food and up to 30 for denser foods.

Here are some more specific guidelines for proper chewing:

  • Start with smaller bites
  • Chew slowly
    • Most of the food should be liquefied in your mouth
  • Swallow completely before the next bite
  • Limit the amount of liquids you consume while eating

The Harvard Health Letter discusses the concept of “mindful eating” where you can apply some of the ideas above to help prevent health issues and increase your enjoyment of food. This method also emphasizes the importance of limiting your distractions!  Turn off the TV and computer while eating and enjoy your food!

 

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County

Reviewed by:  Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County

Cavuto, K. (2015). 5 Reasons You Should Chew Your Food. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2015/03/10/5-reasons-you-should-chew-your-food

Mercola (2013). 7 Important Reasons to Properly Chew Your Food. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/31/chewing-foods.aspx

Harvard Health Letter (2011). Mindful Eating. http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/mindful-eating

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I can remember sitting with my twin daughters, trying to figure out how one could be so easy going, easy to please, and agreeable, while the other was on the opposite of spectrum. I spent countless hours trying to make sense of how two people so much alike could be so different. They were the same gender, same age, and same biologically, but the biggest difference between them was their temperament. Through the process of parenting, I learned that my responses and techniques would need to be different to address the uniqueness of both children. Understanding a child’s temperament can help reduce the stress of parenting.

When parents understand how their children react to certain situations, they can learn to anticipate issues that might present difficulties for their child.  They can prepare their child for the situation or in other cases they may be able to avoid a difficult situation altogether. Parents can learn to tailor their parenting strategies to the particular temperamental characteristics of the child.  Parents often feel more effective as thepouting childy more fully understand and appreciate their child’s unique personality.

Children are born with their own natural style of interacting with or reacting to people, places and things.  This is called their temperament.  In the late 1950’s, researchers identified nine temperament traits or characteristics.  They found that
these nine traits were present at birth and continued to influence development throughout the life cycle.  Temperament is different from personality, which is really a combination of temperament and life experiences.  Think of temperament as a set of in-born traits that help organize your child’s approach to the world.

There are nine recognized temperament traits.  Each temperament has a description and parents are encouraged to rate their child on a scale from 1-5.

  • Activity level.  How active is your child?  Are her movements quick or slow?
  • Adaptability.  How quickly does your child adjust to changes in life?  How quickly does he/she adapt to new people, places, foods or things?
  • Approach.  What is your child’s first reaction to new people, places, or experiences?  Is he/she eager for new experiences or reluctant?
  • Distractibility.  Is your child easily interrupted by things going on around him?  Does he continue to work or play when noise is present?
  • Intensity.  How much energy does your child use to express emotions?  Does he/she laugh or cry vigorously?  Or, does he/she smile and fuss mildly?
  • Mood.  What mood does your child usually display?  Do
    es your child see the world as a pleasant place?
  • Persistence.  How long does your child continue with a difficult activity?  Can he continue when frustrated?  Can he stop when asked?
  • Regularity.  Does your child have a predictable internal cl
    ock?  Does he/she generally get hungry, sleepy, or have bowel movements at the same time every day?
  • Sensory threshold.  How aware is your child of his/her physical world?  How sensitive is she/he to changes in sound, light, touch, pain, taste, and odor?

 Understanding that these inborn behavioral tendencies are not the result of bad parenting is perhaps one of the most important insights parents gain from learning more about temperament. I wish I had known about the importance of temperament when my children were growing up.  I can look back now and see why there were some struggles.

Writer: Kathy Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, Top of Ohio EERA

Reviewer: Shannon Carter, Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

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There is a small percentage of the population that cannot consume gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley) due to medical reasons (such as Celiac Disease, gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy); and a larger percent of the population that has chosen gluten free eating as a dietary preference. Most of the recipes used in traditional American cooking and baking use wheat flour (containing gluten) as a base, which makes baking without gluten a challenge.

Gluten performs several functions in baked goods. The sticky protein helps create stretchy and elastic dough, trapping air bubbles and forming a light, airy texture. Gluten provides structure for breads and a tender crumb. Replacing gluten in baked goods can be tricky, and often requires a combination of flours to achieve similar flavor, texture and density to gluten-filled flours. For a list of wheat-free flour substitutes, look at the Kids With Food Allergies webpage.

Here are some tips for baking without gluten:

Xanthum GumGluten free flour

Add xanthan gum or guar gum to replace some of that structure that gluten provides (1 tsp per cup flour for yeast products and ½ teaspoon for non-yeast products).

Baking Times

Gluten free products take longer to bake, and usually at a lower temperature compared to a traditional recipe. This allows the dough more time to rise and hydrate.

Flavor

Some gluten free flours (sorghum) or starches (chick pea) have a flavor not welcomed in baked goods. Try adding extra vanilla and/or spices to mask some of the off taste.

Freshness

Gluten-free grains and starches have a shorter shelf-life. Buy small quantities and store in the refrigerator or freezer. To avoid soggy baked goods, transfer to a wire rack as soon as possible after baking to ensure proper cooling. Store leftovers in air-tight containers and freeze to preserve freshness. Thaw completely before eating.

Leavening

Leavening agents such as eggs, baking soda and baking powder help form gas bubbles and give rise to dough. Try adding an extra teaspoon of baking powder or substitute with baking soda and buttermilk to leaven instead of baking powder. Dissolve leaveners in liquid from the recipe before adding to dough to produce a better rise to the product.

Moisture

Gluten free flours tend to be more ‘thirsty’ than wheat flours. They are very dry and take longer to absorb moisture. Simply giving the batter a short rest of 30 minutes can help the flour to hydrate (as well as give extra time to rise). Use less (up to a tablespoon) of gluten free flour per cup of wheat flour in the standard recipe. Recipes that call for pureed fruit, sour cream or yogurt tend to be moister. Use brown sugar, honey or agave instead of white sugar to add a little moisture. Adding an extra egg may help with moisture as well as leavening.

Fat

Gluten free flours don’t absorb fat like wheat flour. You might find using a standard recipe and substituting the flour yields a greasy product. Use a little less fat (butter or oil) to avoid a greasy feel.

Nutrition

Use 1/4 cup ground flaxseed in 1/4 cup water for 1/4 cup flaxseed flour to increase fiber and nutrients in any recipe.

Structure

Use dry milk solids or cottage cheese or the moisture tips listed above to improve structure so products don’t fall apart as easily.

For more tips on Gluten Free Baking, check out this fact sheet from Colorado State University Extension.

Sources:

Gluten Free Baking Tips and Tricks. 2016. Beyond Celiac. http://www.beyondceliac.org/gluten-free-diet/baking/

Recipe Substitutions for Wheat Allergy or Gluten Sensitivity. 2017. Kids with Food Allergies, A Division of Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/page/wheat-allergy-gluten-free-recipe-substitutions.aspx

Watson, F. and others. Gluten Free Baking. Colorado State University Extension. https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/foodnut/09376.pdf

Written by: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State Univeristy Extension, Perry County

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For many of us in the health or nutrition field, the month of March is a time when we remember how important nutrition – what we eat and drink – is for our health. For me, it is a time when I try to:

  • Explore new foods
  • Ramp up my veggie and fruit intake
  • Make healthier beverage choices (try infused water instead of soda)
  • Try new recipes

What can you do this month to make positive nutrition changes? Have you heard the chatter about “cauliflower rice”? If you are on the internet, you may see recipes for this new food idea.  I love vegetable stir-fry and decided to try this instead of my usual brown rice. I found a bag of cauliflower rice pearls that was cheaper than a head of cauliflower. It was also very convenient.  I sautéed it with garlic and olive oil and used it as the base for my vegetable stir-fry. It was tasty and a way for me to add another vegetable to my day.  Toasted slivered almonds made a nice addition.  This bag featured recipes for cauliflower pearls fixed these ways: mashed, as rice and steamed.

bag

Cauliflower Pearls

Are you looking for other ways to fix cauliflower? One of my favorite ways is to roast cauliflower.  I use olive oil, garlic and smoked paprika – its sweet smoky taste makes it a family favorite.

roast

Roasted Cauliflower

 

Need a fun recipe for the kiddos? Check out the hiding rabbit recipe with their snow-white bunny tails peeking out from peanut butter celery.  Another creative, kid-friendly cauliflower recipe is pizza with a cauliflower crust.

Rabbitcrop

Hiding Rabbits

Why should you eat more vegetables? Most of us know that vegetables are low in fat and calories, and rich in fiber and vitamins and minerals. If you wonder how many you need each day, visit ChooseMyPlate for specifics. Click here for tips to help you get more veggies in your diet.  This great website can also help you plan a healthier lifestyle by exploring the SuperTracker feature.  You can log in and create an account to track your nutrition, physical activity and weight.  This free tool can be helpful in you in your quest for a healthier lifestyle.

What will you do to celebrate National Nutrition Month? Share your ideas in the comments.

Sources:

Danielson, L. (2017). 3 Unique Ways to Enjoy Cauliflower. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/3-unique-ways-to-enjoy-cauliflower

eatright: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2017). Put Your Best Fork Forward: National Nutrition Month 2017. http://www.eatright.org/resources/national-nutrition-month.

Powers-Barker, P. (2015). Ohio Local Foods Infused Water Experiment. https://u.osu.edu/powers-barker.1/2015/07/06/ohio-local-foods-infused-water-experiment/

Steed, M. (2017). Cauliflower! Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: Answer Line. https://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/answerline/2017/02/20/cauliflower/

USDA (2016). Tips to help you eat vegetables. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables-tips

USDA (2017). MyPlate. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate

USDA (2017). SuperTracker. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/tools-supertracker

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

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State Univeristy Extension, Franklin county, lobb.3@osu.edu

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Your cough has a purpose – to protect you by clearing your airways from irritants and prevent infection.  Coughing is a reflex and can be brought on by cold air, strong perfume, smoke, mucus, allergens (mold, dust, pollen), and inhaled food or dirt.  The nerve endings in your airway are stimulated sending a message to your brain telling the muscles in your chest and abdomen to push air out of your lungs forcing out the irritant.  Medical conditions and medicines are also reasons for coughing.

Acute coughs, come on suddenly and last only a few weeks, are commonly brought on by colds, viruses, sinus infections, pneumonia, and acute bronchitis.  Coughs lasting three to eight weeks and remain even after the initial cold or respiratory infection are known as subacute coughs.  A dry cough can occur at times as a result of a cold, coughing irritates your lungs leading to more coughing, and can last weeks or months.

If your cough is chronic, lasting more than eight weeks, seek out your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.  Chronic coughing can be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), postnasal drip from sinus infections or allergies, chronic lung conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cigarette smoke, pollutants, and some medications.

There are many remedies and treatments for your cough from medications, lifestyle, nutrition and dietary supplements, to herbs and homeopathy.

Here are a few that are commonly recommended:

  • Over-the-counter cough suppressants and expectorants – read labels and check with your pediatrician to determine what is best for your child’s cough.water
  • Water helps to ease your cough and thin the mucus in your throat – drink more water, watered down juices or tea, or add it to the air with a steamy shower or vaporizer.
  • Remove allergens by using air conditioners to filter air during pollen season.
  • Take a teaspoon of honey or add a spoonful of honey to hot water or tea – this can help loosen a cough. Remember DO NOT give children younger than one year old honey because this can make them sick.
  • Stop smoking and stay away from second hand cigarette smoke.
  • Give it time because sometimes it just takes time to get over a cough that follows a common virus.

The next time you find yourself coughing remember coughing has a purpose.  It protects you – either from irritants or to let you know something more maybe going on.

 

Written By: Candace J. Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Morrow County

Reviewed By: Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Hardin County

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/cough/basics/definition/sym-20050846

https://medlineplus.gov/cough.html

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/cough/

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/overview#1

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/cough

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Lately, I have been feeling guilty when I purchase frozen foods.  With the push to eat fresh, fresh ingredients can be even delivered directly to our door through many different meal planning and grocer delivery services. Do you ever wonder how healthy are frozen foods?

frozen-food-1336013_1920

Since 1984, when President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5157, March 6 is known as “Frozen Food Day.” We know about the importance of eating fresh, so this proclamation may shock us.  According to the Frozen Food Foundation, frozen fruits and vegetable compare in nutritional value to fresh fruits and vegetables.  This is great news for consumers because it allows us to plan ahead, shop the sales, and  have fruits and vegetables more accessible no matter the season of the year. Don’t forget that according to  the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines for nutrition, half of your plate at each meal should contain fruits and vegetables.

It is important when determining the nutritional value in other frozen foods that you know what you are buying.  Reading food labels will help you determine which nutrients are in each food, and whether they are your healthiest choice.  Remember that reading labels will help you manage your intake of sodium, carbohydrates, sugars, and fat (saturated and trans)as encouraged by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Take a few extra minutes the next time you are in the frozen food aisle so that you can make the healthiest choices for you and your family, and not feel so guilty about the convenience of shopping in the frozen food aisle.

Written By: Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Hardin County

Reviewed By: Candace Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Morrow County

Sources:

Fruits and Veggies More Matters (r), http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/frozen-produce-is-nutritionally-comparable-to-fresh

United States Department of Agriculture, https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, https://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm274593.htm 

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, https://health.gov/news/dietary-guidelines-digital-press-kit/2016/01/top-10-things-you-need-to-know/

National Day Calendar, http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/national-frozen-food-day-march-6/ 

Photo Credits: https://pixabay.com/en/frozen-food-supermarket-frozen-cold-1336013/

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